Calm before the storm - Peter Hook and the Light to perform Joy Division's Still double album in Manchester double-header

Posted: 28th February 2012
Peter Hook and the Light

Unless you've been living under the ocean bed for the past few years, you'll be aware of ex-Joy Division and New Order's Peter Hook performing the former's chilling, emotional and dark studio albums on various tours and at numerous festivals. Reactions were mixed at first - 'should he be doing this at all?', some asked, most flocked to the shows and Hook's desire to spread the Curtis gospel continued unabated (and relatively unchallenged). After the success of the 'Unknown Pleasures' and, soon-come, 'Closer' shows, it seems inevitable that the co-founder and bassist would eventually seal things off with shows dedicated to perhaps the most misunderstood body of work, the posthumously-compiled double-set, issued in 1981.

Dressed in an austere grey sleeve with snow-white lettering and a hessian-bound cover, 'Still' had the tricky job of contending with the not-long-released (in Factory terms) 'Closer', loved and revered by most who had heard it. Rather than the relatively sleek, yet unsettling, electronic-cum-rock contents of its predecessor, 'Still' was designed to be a document of past sessions, rarities and live recordings, previously unreleased (except for crappy bootlegs, valued way over most fans' financial constraints). Personally, I think it's their most important set, purely because of the material on it - this is more like the rock 'n' roll that Joy Division delivered 'live', rather than the more restrained and funereal songs on the preceding best-sellers. 'Exercise One', 'Dead Souls' and 'Glass' rank as some of the very best Joy Division recordings - the bass is cranked right up, eerie noises abound and Martin Hannett (almost) had a grip on the various sessions.

On 18th and 19th May, FAC 251 (or Factory Manchester) will host two nights whereby Peter Hook and the Light will perform the 'Still' album in its entirety, including other tracks culled from the era. I imagine these nights will seriously rock your socks off. Both shows will benefit two charities, MIND (mental health) and local community charity, Forever Manchester, and will feature support in the form of one-time Factory singer-songwriter, Kevin Hewick. Tickets for both shows will be on sale from Friday morning at 9am, priced at £20.12.

Meanwhile, May also sees Hook finishing off his 'Unknown Pleasures' and 'Closer' UK shows - many shows are still available, plus support acts have recently been announced. Factory electro-rock legends Section 25 will appear at the Sheffield and Islington gigs, Super White Assassin appear in Birmingham and Oxford, while Humanizer appear at the rest. Tickets cost around £20.

Paul Pledger