Peter Hook, the legendary bassist of Joy Division and New Order who now fronts Peter Hook & the Light, delivered an iconic three-hour set for two consecutive nights at the historic Theatre inside Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Performing both Joy Division albums, “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer,” along with New Order singles, Hook had fans jumping at the chance to catch this legend performing live.
Joy Division – formed by Peter Hook, Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, and Terry Mason – helped pioneer the post punk, new wave music scene and remains an influence of artists today. Based in Manchester, they – along with several other artists of the era – were created after a legendary 1976 Sex Pistols show. The day after the performance, Hook purchased a bass and, not having much experience at first, didn’t know he would become one of the world’s greatest bass players.
With Sumner on guitar, Mason on drums, and Curtis as their mesmerizing singer, Joy Division only released two albums, yet left behind an incredible legacy. “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” have been called groundbreaking and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” remains a staple on ‘80s stations and playlists.
Sadly, as Joy Division prepared to tour North America in 1980, Curtis struggled with personal and health issues and was lost the night before they were to depart.
Hook, Sumner, and Mason retired the Joy Division name and formed New Order, which would also become an influential band of the era. In fact, “Blue Monday” would become the best-selling 12-inch single of all time. But after more big singles, side projects, break ups, reunions, and more break ups, Peter Hook now leads Peter Hook and the Light.
Formed in May of 2010, Peter Hook & the Light has Hook rising to the challenge of becoming the front-man. For this special event, Hook performs a powerful and electrifying tribute to the late Curtis as he has built confidence singing songs that resonate to the history Joy Division. The 30-song set list covers New Order and Joy Division music that helped shape an era.
The atmosphere of the delicately restored venue was beautiful and perfect for such an emotional performance. Home to a three-story grand lobby, the 1,600-seat movie palace from the 1920s has a magnificent quality that leaves you awestruck. Those in attendance wouldn’t be seated long though as the crowd rose up dancing with collective joy throughout the night.
Starting their set with New Order covers, Hook did “Your Silent Face,” “Age of Consent,” “Crystal,” “Vanishing Point,” “Temptation,” and “The Perfect Kiss.” Then, they performed the albums “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” in their entirety.
“Unknown Pleasures” broke Joy Division into the scene with songs like “She’s Lost Control,” a song about a girl who suffered thru epilepsy, as viewed though Curtis’ eyes since he suffered from the same disease. The album is real and raw with deep emotion. Additional highlights for me were “Disorder,” “Insight,” “New Dawn Fades,” and “Shadowplay.”
“Closer” was also a very special set. The album wasn’t released until after Curtis passed and was never fully played live until recently by Hook. Melancholy and gloomy with songs like “Isolation” and “A Means to an End,” the lyrics seem to portray a lot of the pain Curtis was going through at the time.
“We love you Ian Curtis,” was yelled out by a fan in the audience after the “Closer” set which validated the collective consciousness that Curtis’ spirit was being celebrated through his music and had touched the emotions of those in attendance.
For an encore, Hook and the band performed Joy Division songs “Digital” and “Transmission,” and New Order’s “Ceremony.” Then, they closed with the song many longed to hear, “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” The lyrics were echoed as the crowd sang to the tune of Hook’s voice which has impacted and given strength to so many.