Review: Joy Division and New Order classics get crowd buzzing in Leamington

Peter Hook. Picture: Mark McNulty
Peter Hook. Picture: Mark McNulty
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Jon Rollinson reviews Peter Hook and The Light at The Assembly, Leamington

No disrespect intended, but when Ed Sheeran can release an album and see its tracks occupy nine out of the top ten places in the singles chart, there is something fundamentally broken about choice in modern pop music.

Which might go some way to explaining how a 61-year-old Mancunian can sell out The Assembly on a Friday night and leave it two and a half hours later in a bouncy, sweaty mess full of thoroughly satisfied punters.

Sometime Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook brought his current band The Light to town for a run through of two seminal '80s albums, both called Substance and featuring the singles from his time with those two hugely influential Manchester bands.

Kicking off with the New Order Substance, highlights included Perfect Kiss, the last five minutes of which are some of the most sublime layered indie-rock you'll come across and True Faith, at which point The Assembly was in danger of turning into an early '90s rave, such was the crowd response.

A few technical difficulties slowed the tempo down slightly mid-set, but Hook took them in good grace and even took the opportunity to offer a few choice barbs at his former band mates in New Order. Clearly, the split still rankles.

In the second half of the set guitarist David Potts admirably reproduced the barking buzz-saw guitar effect which Joy Division were noted for and managed a very good approximation for New Order singer Barney Sumner on the higher register songs which Hook can't manage.

One hundred and fifty minutes and thirty songs of pure quality ended, naturally, with Joy Division's biggest hit Love Will Tear Us Apart. Best gig at The Assembly so far this year. Go and see them.

* The show took place on Friday March 10. Visit peterhook.get-ctrl.com for more tour dates.