Peter Hook & The Light – Camden Electric Ballroom [28 Sept 2018] Gig Review

I want to start off by saying it must have been a bloody good night as I was nursing a hangover all the next day!

I’ve seen New Order in the past and we all know their shows are pretty hit and miss (more of the latter actually).  It’s been so hard to recreate the studio sound live for them, but technology has moved on and with a laptop and some funky software all is now possible.  I’m so glad Hooky is flying the flag for classic New Order given that he and Bernard have been at loggerheads for some long now.  It’s kind of like the ultimate tribute band but with street cred.

The current line up consists primarily of his former Monaco band mates inc. his son Jack on bass.

  • Peter Hook – lead vocals, bass20180928_202355
  • Jack Bates – bass
  • Paul Kehoe – drums
  • David Potts – guitars
  • Martin Rebelski – keyboards/Apple Mac

This show was moved from the original venue Koko due to structural problems – aka the builders didn’t turn up/finish on time.  And so, it was for the very first time that I ended up at Camden’s Electric Ballroom for this sold out gig (apparently it was 39 years ago since Joy Division played there and at the end of the first set Hooky said “see you in another 39 years”).  The venue is actually pretty decent, much better than I expected – even the toilets were good!  Now it’s just as well I follow Hooky on Twitter because this is where he posted the gig start times – in this case 18:45.   So it was a bit tight on getting there, having a swift couple in the Worlds End (a proper R’n’R pub) and a bite to eat to get there just in time for the start.  The early start time obviously caught many punters out as the sold out 1500 crowd was only say 70% full when we got there and over the course of the next hour it ramped up to full capacity.  And what a strange mix of people, all diehard fans obviously.  Certainly cross-generational/gender appeal, but also a collection of what I’d describe as anoraks.

Hooky has enough classic materials from the JD/NO back catalogue as to not need the services of a support band.  Each set is interspersed with a short break, not because they need one but because it’s been recorded live and you can buy the triple CD immediately after the gig for £25.  This gives the merchandising team time to copy the master tapes using a huge bank of amassed CD burners and assemble them into the pre-printed packaging.  It’s like a cottage industry back there!  Great idea Hooky, gigging, signed memorabilia and custom live recordings sold at venues is where the money is made these days.

Hooky takes the stage in a great T-shirt with a “World of Emotion” slogan, get the pun? and launches into a short set of Joy Division ditties.  My pick was ‘Warsaw’ – raw and powerful.  The rest of the evening’s entertainment is brought to you courtesy of New Orders ‘Republic’ and ‘Technique’ played in full with no inter song chit chat.  A man of few words on the rare occasion he speaks the first thing he says is “Fuck you Bernard” 😊.  The Light are predominantly a guitar band but the electronica alt-disco of New Order shines through courtesy of the Apple Mac.  Hooky has taken over vocal duties and as such plays less bass, which is dealt with admirably by his son Jack.  It’s a bit like the old New Order days when Bernard couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time.  He’s got all the lyrics to the songs printed off and next to him and frequently looks down for cues which doesn’t detract from viewing pleasure at all – let’s face it many songs are rarely if ever played so you ain’t gonna remember it word for word!  He takes over bass duties for many of the irresistible riffs he wrote, and the high frets he uses have certainly trademarked his bass playing into a lead instrument.

The only drawback in playing LPs in their entirety is the simple fact that bar a few ultimate classic releases there are always going to be a couple of filler tracks on any LP.  In my opinion ‘Love Less’, ‘Guilty Partner’, ‘Liar’ and ‘Avalanche’ fall into this bracket.  My personal highlights were ‘Vanishing Point’ and ‘Temptation’ – stunning.

The crowd were pretty entranced for the majority of the gig, taking it all in appreciatively. Peaks of audience energy popped up every time one of the better-known tracks was played.  They however really spontaneously combusted during the encore which started with ‘World in Motion’ and the classic sing-a-long line “We’re playing for England {In-ger-land}”.  The floor bobbed as one and everyone sang their hearts out. There was no stopping the crowd now, ‘Blue Monday, Temptation and Love Will Tear Us Apart’ were all sung with equal gusto and the from the balcony it looked like a writhing mass of heads bobbing in the ocean. So that’s finally it, the venue bouncing and Hooky triumphantly raises his guitar above his head to mass applause.  He takes off his sweaty t-shirt, unveiling a barrel-chested torso (that gym membership came in handy 😊), and tosses it into a rampant crowd.

Joy Division Set (18:45-19:05) – click on links to view videos on YouTube

  1. No Love Lost
  2. Warsaw
  3. Leaders of Men
  4. Digital
  5. Autosuggestion
  6. Transmission

Technique Set (19:17-20:00)

  1. Fine TimePeter Hook & the Light - Koko 29 Sept 2018.jpg
  2. All the Way
  3. Love Less
  4. Round & Round
  5. Guilty Partner
  6. Run
  7. Mr. Disco
  8. Vanishing Point
  9. Dream Attack

Republic Set (20:10-21:00)

  1. Regret
  2. World
  3. Ruined in a Day
  4. Spooky
  5. Everyone Everywhere
  6. Young Offender
  7. Liar
  8. ChemicalPeter Hook & the Light - Technique-Substance Poster 2018 tour
  9. Times Change
  10. Special
  11. Avalanche

Encore 21:05

  1. World in Motion
  2. Blue Monday
  3. Temptation
  4. Love Will Tear Us Apart

Hooky is certainly doing justice to his legacy, and of course finishing off with the classic ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – what’s not to like!  Overall an excellent trip back to the 1980s, full of desolation and energy in equal measure. Peter Hook & the Light put on a fantastic show, I’d recommend to take the time to check them out as it’s well worth seeing.

Marko [30 September 2018]

Ps – what with the show finishing by 9:30ish there was plenty of time foe a few more beers – perhaps not the wisest of choices.

PPs- the only slight downside was the lighting rig was pretty mundane.