Peter Hook & The Light: Shankly Hotel, Liverpool

Connor Patrick Ryan catches the New Order and Joy Division legend in the interesting surroundings of the Shankly Hotel.

By Planet Slop
Wed 23 October, 2019

What a time to be alive!

One of the most iconic bass players of British music, if not all music, is playing Atmosphere with his musically well-endowed henchmen alongside. Its absolute bliss.

A dark and mysterious paradise granted, with obvious connotations to tragic events via the life and times of Ian Curtis, but nonetheless a gorgeous ode to those in dire ceremony.

Accompanied tonight by my best friend, the equally mystical Mr. Dan Saleh of Yemeni origin, we settle into the evening with a set of Joy Division bangers. “Bangers” may be a term associated with American hip hop, with UK drill music coming a close second, but for this writer, songs such as Shadow Play and Transmission are dance floor fillers of the highest order.

The latter in particular has my voice croaked, my mind choked by memories of bonding with my Eric Dier lookalike friend in film studies, a time I now cherish; back then though I was probably thinking of skiving off to smoke players and lie about my FIFA ultimate team.

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Heady days in a sense, and Hook‘s performance was the perfect soundtrack to the homemade family photo album playing in my head. The both of us are screaming, hugging and ascending to plains of gig enjoyment we have thankfully achieved on the regular. Tonight though feels different.

Unknown Pleasures, as you already know, has itself ascended into society’s consciousness as an all-time great. An image burned onto our brains both musically and aesthetically. At first glance, the music from that time can be seen as depressing or, as the “normies” would say, “for goths who slit their wrists“. Alas, the renditions here prove otherwise. The whole place is bouncing, these brooding tracks of black vernacular are bouncy, fresh and full of delicious groove.

After a short interval, the legend that is Hooky returns with a set of New Order classics, a band admittedly I have ignored. Not because I don’t like their music, I just found so much more depth and warmth in music that by comparison to synth and football pomp is grey and dreary. That’s not to say New Order songs can be enjoyed in that vein of decaying optimism either; Ceremony in particular once again has me and the Salehmander thrashing, almost slipping on the shiny, kopite floor under foot.

What has to be song of the night though, is the epitome of all things 80s in my opinion, even if it did miss that decade by a few months. A song about football. World In Motion is probably the biggest point when arguing the difference in sound from the shadowy days of Unknown Pleasures and Closer to equally classic New Order records.

Unfortunately there was no John Barnes, which would have been apt since I’m standing in one of the many chapels of the church of Bill Shankly; a man I should loathe but otherwise know was a major influence of positivity on our city. There was however, a brilliant guitarist who emulated the great man fantastically. It was probably the only time in my life where I found it acceptable for the dads of England, with names like Gary and Steve, to “rap” and point the finger.

As you can tell from my hyperbolic language and verse I really REALLY enjoyed the night. The musicianship was stellar, the atmosphere joyous and the company, even better. Peter Hook and the Light is a must see, I’m glad it’s ticked off my bucket list.

Image from artist’s Facebook page.