Peter Hook and The Light
Return to Southern California
Playing a unique set of concerts
L. Paul Mann
Last year, Innovative bass player, Peter Hook, played a marathon concert at the historic Fonda theater, in the heart of Hollywood. The grand old movie theater built in the 1920’s, offered the perfect Gothic backdrop to “Hooky” and his band The Light, as they performed some of the most innovative music to come out of the 1980’s. It was a triumphant return for the band, who had played the venue two years before. In that monumental concert, the band played both of Joy Division’s original albums in their entirety. Hooky, who as the bass player for Joy Division, created a whole new rhythm from the bands punk roots, helped create an entirely new dance club sound in the 1980’s. After the legendary lead singer of Joy Division, Ian Curtis, committed suicide on the eve of the band’s first American tour, the surviving members of the band regrouped to form the hugely successful New Order. During the show back in 2011, Moby and Janes Addiction singer Perry Farrell, appeared as surprise guests to sing in tribute to the late Ian Curtis.
During last years’ show, the band returned to play two more albums in their entirety, the first two albums recorded by New Order, Movement(1981), and Power Corruption And Lies(1983). There were no surprise guests scheduled for that show but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any surprises. The mysterious opening act, Slaves of Venus, turned out to be none other than Peter Hook And The Light, but the surprise was that the band only played Joy Division songs in the opening set. While it remained a mystery to many in the crowd, those fans who knew the music were visibly ecstatic. Hooky, looking every bit the working class hero, sported his trademark overgrown mohawk haircut, blue jeans, sneakers, and a homemade t-shirt that said in stick letters “I Hate You”. The irony was that the feisty bass player beamed smiles throughout the night at the adoring audience. Hooky stood stoically throughout the night belting out lyrics in his trademark gruff voice, giving the material a much darker overtone than in previous incantations. Occasionally he would break into a dance trance jam feeding off of one of the other four crack musicians in the band. The group includes his son Jack Bates on bass. Having double bass players in the group allowed Hooky to concentrate on vocals at key moments and at other times create an overpowering double rhythm that members of the audience close to the stage could viscerally feel, emanating from the massive speaker system. The other members of the group, Andy Poole on keyboards, Paul Kehoe on drums, and David Potts, on guitar, all performed magnificently with little fanfare throughout the night. The opening set of seven Joy Division gems, lasted just under an hour.
After a short intermission, the band reemerged in the exact same persona, but this time to tackle the original music of New Order. True to their word, the band played the first album in it’s entirety, to the sheer delight of many hard core fans in the packed house, dancing in a trance like euphoria. Much of the material had probably never been played live, either while Hooky was still with New Order, or by the band in their incantations without him since 2007. After the presentation of the first album, the band left the stage, while a remix of “Blue Monday” played over the PA system. “Blue Monday”, on New Order’s second album (U.S. release) was by some accounts, the biggest selling (12 inch) single of all time, and continues to be a nightclub dance staple to this day. The brilliant remix, most likely, was engineered by Hooky, who himself has been an active dance club DJ for decades. The band reemerged to play the second album in its entirety, ending with the classic, “Blue Monday”, which launched the audience into a dance frenzy. By this time. Well over three hours, since the concert had begun, the crowd in the ornate old theater had swollen to capacity. The main floor was packed shoulder to shoulder with a diverse crowd of emphatic fans. On the second level an outdoor balcony, overlooked a bustling Hollywood Boulevard below. A near full moon hung in a crisp, clear, end of summer evening. The live set was playing over the sound system and a giant video screen captured the onstage action in real time. On the third balcony level every seat was taken, with a crowd dancing about in the back. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the marathon music lesson that the band was offering up on the roots of what has become modern EDM music.
Fast forward to November 2014 and Peter Hook and The Light are preparing to make a stop on their latest tour, again at the Fonda theater. The show this time around will include the singles and B-sides from New Order’s most prolific period. From August 1983 up to 1987, taking the audience from “Confusion” to “True Faith”, with both “Low Life” and “Brotherhood” performed in full alongside all the other tracks from that fans consider New Order’s greatest period including “Thieves Like Us” “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “The Perfect Kiss” and many more. But the band is also playing an unprecedented set of unique one off concerts across Southern California the same week. In addition to the Saturday 22nd November, playing both “Low Life” and “Brotherhood” at The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, the band will perform “Movement” and “Power, Corruption And Lies” at The Glasshouse, in Pomona, Monday 24th November and then “Low Life” and “Brotherhood” again at The House Of Blues, San Diego on Wednesday, 26th November. The Fonda, and House of Blues shows will feature an opening set of Joy Division songs by the band, while the Glasshouse show will feature and opening set by El Ten Eleven, a great Southern Californian rock duo. If that were not enough diversity for the region, the band is throwing in a one off show at the legendary Roxy theater on Sunset Strip. For this November 25th show, which sold our almost immediately, the band will be returning to Joy Division material, playing “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” albums, again in their entirety. El Ten Eleven will be opening this show, as well. All in all it will be an epic set of concerts. For more information on these or any other dates on their tour visit: www.peterhook.co.uk/events