Substance: Peter Hook & The Light Live Review & Photos | The Plaza Live, Orlando, FL | November 17, 2017

by • November 30, 2016

Joy Division and New Order, while not mega-bands, have a very nostalgic and dedicated following. With 2010’s emergence of Peter Hook and the Light those fans can have their “Shadowplay” and “Blue Monday” dreams fulfilled. The former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook is the front man for this modern combination and the only original member of both aforementioned bands. Those that are not familiar with either band will find a great sampling of honest covers as Peter Hook continues the eurhythmic sounds and lyrics that made them front-runners in the post-punk and new wave movements. Peter Hook and the Light took the stage at The Plaza Live with a healthy playlist from New Order & Joy Division‘s collection of singles, both titled Substance.

peter-hook-the-light-14Relatively smaller venues make for a more immersive show, and this was a pretty good example of such. The fans were able to get a good view of the stage and the sound was close. The stage was sparsely set and comfortably accommodated all five band members. Peter Hook likes to explore the stage, often playing from far left to far right and even off stage. In last year’s show at The Plaza Live he even took to the floor.

The opening act is from New Order, covering their mix from Substance. Originally released in 1987, Substance is a compiling all of the New Order singles to that point. This is a great opportunity to really hear the guts of New Order. The interaction between fans and performer is an integral part of the experience for both, and with the iconic synthesizer loop intro of “Blue Monday” this became very apparent. The audience provoked and encouraged a thorough performance with their cheers and liveliness. The other standout songs they covered in Substance were “Confusion”, “Shell Shock”, and “1963” – all of which the diehards sang along with. Although the synth could’ve been heavier, it was a good overall set and gave us a proper New Order dose.

After a minor break, Peter and The Light took the stage again with a different face – metaphorically of course. The second half of the set was a solid block of Joy Division. Opening with “No Love Lost” punched hard getting into the early work of Joy Division (and dare say Warsaw). They covered all the favored songs such as “New Dawn Fades”, “Leaders of Men”, “She’s Lost Control”, and the walk-off stage encore finale with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. The energy was definitely more prominent in the audience for this set. Frontman Peter and the other bassist Jack Bates drove the sounds of the early post-punk through our ears with their visceral and emotional rifts. Great consistency from the other members (Andy Poole, David Potts, and drummer Paul Kehoe) kept the show flowing and energy high. Peter Hook really knows what the audience wants and delivers it well, not straying from the path or trying to reinvent the sounds. I believe this adds to the success of The Light. Joy Division fans want to hear honest Joy Division and they delivered giving us a great performance.  

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I must touch on the topic of the audience too. This very eclectic group consisted of fans from teenage years to folks old enough to be my grandparents. A bad thing? Not at all, this just tells me that Peter Hook and The Light caters to the fandom of a large base; captivating the nostalgia of the seasoned fans and enticing the ears of the younger ones. The impact of Joy Division seems to be the focus of The Light, but I believe this to be intentional. The post-punk and new wave movements are among my favorite music genres and I believe that Peter Hook and the Light faithfully brings that back to us in 2016.

Through a series of serendipitous events I was fortunate to meet the group after the performance; minus Peter who had left early. Standing there among them I was quite humbled and excited. A good group of guys with a sense of humor (British humor anyone?). I briefly talked to them about my discovery of Joy Division long after I was a fan of New Order, and my subsequent discovery of Peter Hook and The Light. Thank you for bringing us this performing homage to the foundation of a great chapter in music.

Peter Hook & The Light Live Review by Ernest Aquilio. Edited by Austin Young.

Peter Hook & The Light Live Photos by Jenn Ross

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