Peter Hook's The Light Play The Factory
Despite the controversy caused by their performance of Unknown Pleasures 12 months ago, Peter Hook's The Light returned to FAC 251 to play Joy Division's second album Closer - and oh my god it was worth it! Performing Closer on the anniversary of Ian Curtis' death, who for many fans was the heart and soul of Joy Division, proved to be a magnificent memorial to the late singer.
Anyone with doubts that this was the right thing to do soon forgot their cynicism as the band sounded amazing. It is nothing new to say Joy Division's sound was ahead of its time, I mean, how many bands today try to mimic them? But in 2011 it still sounds ahead of its time.
As well as the emotion of both the music and the occasion we also got to experience what was to become the signature of all those great bands coming out of Salford and Manchester in the 80's; music that meant something and was also uplifting. At times the sound had so much energy you would have thought it was a club night. And despite the overpriced bar and the dodgy lighting (someone's clearly trying to save money on the leccy), the intimacy of FAC 251 and the fact that it was Factory meant that this was the ideal venue.
Thirty years in the waiting, this gig was always going to have a mixed crowd. Whether it be the old faces of the Manchester music scene at the back of the club, with the likes of music journalist John Robb nodding his head franticly to Isolation or the younger crowd right up against the stage going absolutely potty dancing to that bassline in Decades, everyone got caught up in the atmosphere.
The Light on the back of their debut single Pictures in my Mind, a previously unreleased Joy Division track, had the sound to carry this off. The drums on Atrocity Exhibition, the bass on 24 Hours and Heart and Soul, or the guitar on Means To An End, it was all on the money. Most of the songs were sung by Hooky, and as the only member of the original line up he gave the performance credibility. At times he would hand the mike over to former Happy Mondays singer Rowetta, not an obvious choice to sing Joy Division songs but her version of Atmosphere in the encore was brilliant.
Closer has been so influential because of how it sounds, due in no small part to producer Martin Hannett, and is a record that means so much to so many because what Ian Curtis had to say resonates so clearly. It's because of this that playing the album live has been controversial but Hooky and The Light managed to not only live with its history but to actually celebrate it.
The Light's debut single is available to download here and includes the cover of Atmosphere with Rowetta on vocals http://www.fac51thehacienda.com/
Words and photo Steven Speed
From Safety To Where…?
Means To An End
Heart & Soul
Twenty Four Hours
Picture In My Mind
Love Will Tear Us Apart