Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photos/Review: Peter Hook & The Light @ Gramercy Theatre

Peter Hook & The Light @ Gramercy Theatre - September 13, 2011
Photos: Chris / Review: Tommy Ciganko

The bass player of an iconic rock band forms a new band 30 years later with the sole purpose of performing the music of his past. Sounds destined for a Las Vegas revue. Complicating issues, the new band has to take in to account the specter of the enigmatic singer whose death ended the band in its prime, as well as the animosity of the other surviving members. Now we have the makings of a disaster.

Fortunately, Peter Hook and the Light avoided disaster and were miles from a Vegas revue with their Tuesday night performance at the Gramercy Theatre. Part revival, part cover band, Peter Hook and the Light took on the legend of Hook’s early career with Joy Division, performing the album Closer, with additional pieces as encores. Styled with a faux-hawk and Union Jack T-shirt, Hook appeared the aging punk on stage. The image was somewhat reminiscent of a latter day Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols. The original members of the Sex Pistols have reunited periodically to tour, unabashedly, for the money. Hook’s post Joy Division career, a little band called New Order, likely ensures that this tour is not a money run. Peter Hook and the Light seem to be in it for the music.

To say that the Image of Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s enigmatic singer, looms heavy over the legend of Joy Division is putting it mildly. The audience at the Gramercy Theatre had a fair share of Curtis devotees. Some would consider Joy Division’s material to be sacred ground--to be treated cautiously especially by those closest to it. However, Peter Hook’s contribution to Joy Division’s unique sound is as important as Ian Curtis’s voice and lyrics. With Peter Hook and the Light, Hook could be making a case for his share of the Joy Division mystique, but he avoids that temptation by presenting the music in a straight forward fashion, giving the majority of the bass duties to his band while taking on the vocals himself. With a tight band injecting energy and passion in to the music, Hook appeared, if not loose, relaxed and engaged at the microphone. On the subject of the vocals, Hook’s performance was a balance between respect and homage to Curtis, and personal passion.

The opening of the show was a short video - part documentary, part music video – which seemed an attempt to place the Joy Division legend in to context. At roughly 20 minutes, the video was superfluous given that the audience, most of whom were born after Joy Division dissolved into New Order, knew the words to every song and the tale behind the legend. Conjuring up the spirit of Curtis was unnecessary as he is infused in to Joy Division’s music no matter who performs it. Peter Hook and the Light performed with passion and dignity, faux-hawk notwithstanding.

Below, check out a full set of photos of last night's show, in addition to a video of Peter Hook pausing "Atmosphere" midway to yell at some annoying crowd members...


  1. I had a great time at the show in NYC, Some guy who use to manage NO in America introduced the band before they came on. The set list was amazing and they sounded great live, my favorites were Isolation, Heart & soul and Decades, during Atmosphere some guy in front of me started a fight because he was messing with his girl so Hooky stopped the show till everything cleared out and then started Atmosphere again. After the show I was Lucky enough to go backstage and meet Peter Hook and took some pictures and got some autographs.

    Here is the pic of the Venue

    Here is a pic of the setlist.

    Here is Hook signing some autographs for me.

    This is a little souvineer that I bought for myself at the show for $20, which is not bad at all, usually they are $30

    Sorry that I could not take any pictures during the show, because my camera sucks in the dark.