DESPITE PETER HOOK’S 2012 BOOK UNKNOWN PLEASURES: INSIDE JOY DIVISION NOT SO MUCH TAKING APART LEGENDS SURROUNDING THE BAND AS PUTTING A HAMMER THROUGH THEM, HIS INTIMATE WARM-UP GIG IN HULL THIS WEEKEND DID MUCH TO REINFORCE THE MYTHICAL, TRANSCENDANT, QUALITIES OF THE MUSIC ITSELF.
Beginning with the steady electronica of YOUR SILENT FACE, a short New Order anti-hits set warms both Hook’s band The Light and a sell-out crowd gathered at Hull’s Fruit – with, perhaps, neither quite able to believe how close the other is – before Joy Division’s UNKNOWN PLEASURES and CLOSER are unveiled in their entirety.
Martin Hannett’s unorthodox production techniques lent the band’s brace of albums a strange and comfortless sheen – claustrophobically intense and occasionally impenetrable; alienated and restless.
Here, throbbing deep inside the chests of those who knew then and those who have since come to know, the same songs scale loudly to a communal celebration; ISOLATION’s bleak motorik pulse; the all-consuming drone of NEW DAWN FADES; SHE’S LOST CONTROL’s smashed glass guitar scarring doleful bass; the whiplash of angry MEANS TO AN END; and mesmerising ATROCITY EXHIBITION’s cascading drum loops akin to being trapped inside the monochrome kaleidoscope of the late 1970s.
A boisterous crowd teeters on the verge of losing control throughout the later stages, and venue curfews are scraped by an encore which closes with – what else? – the sad euphoria of LOVE WILL TEAR US APART. Reminding that there was life outside the music, and people and love to balance isolation and hurt, Hook dedicates the preceding ATMOSPHERE to Doreen Curtis – Ian’s mother, who died a fortnight ago – and seems moved in doing so, briefly reflective and aware of the passing of time.
Playing Joy Division songs thirty-five years after the fact, his gig has been deeply respectful to what have come to be regarded as classics but, by dint of the audience’s familiarity and Hook’s surprisingly open stage presence, confrontational edges have been shed and some new pitch at which the material can resonate seems to have been found.
Images courtesy of T Arran Photo (visit here)