The Music Box
Better Than... attending the X-Factor premier.
When a musician reaches back into his catalog and hits the road playing a classic album, it's likely to be really cool or really awful. Fortunately, the stars aligned for former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook on Wednesday night at The Music Box. Hooky and his new band, The Light, took on Closer, Joy Division's classic and final record, and it sounded great.
What would have happened to Joy Division if Ian Curtis didn't hang himself the night before the band's first American tour? Hook demonstrated the greatness of that record by playing a better-than-expected set last night, featuring guest vocalists Perry Ferrell on "Isolation" and Moby on tracks including "Colony" and "Means To An End." The bald one did an incredible job of channeling his inner Curtis and sounded eerily like the iconic frontman.
Though the venue wasn't completely filled, the crowd responded well to Hook and his backing band. The mohawked, post-punk bassist played with the same tenacity that defined his two widely-respected bands. Songs like "Atrocity Exhibition," the Moby-led "Transmission," and Joy Division's signature song, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" were true to the originals. We'd even go so far as to say they sounded better live than on the records.
Watching Hook perform Closer without his bandmates was a bit strange, but it worked well. The bass lines remain just as thunderous as when the album was released over 30 years ago, and The Light deserves credit for staying true to the original music. The droning synthesizers complemented the 55-year-old bassist well and kept the audience on their feet all night.
The set was only an hour, but Hook managed to pack in 19 songs, leaving the audience clamoring for more from the five-piece outfit. They'll only have to wait until Friday when the group will perform Unknown Pleasures in its entirety at the El Rey. If last night was any indication of what's to come, it will be a must-see. (And might not happen again anytime soon.)
Personal Bias: Not sure if a 55-year-old should be rocking a mohawk
Random Notebook Dump: Hook was rockin' a Joy Division t-shirt and white Stan Smith sneakers. Pretty awesome.
Set list and photos of Hook with Ferrell and Moby below.