Photos and Recap by Max Stewart
Manchester’s Joy Division were one of the most important bands to pave the way for the alternative scene in the Eighties and beyond. With an energy and tone that has influenced everyone from U2 to Soundgarden to Black Flag, even forty years later the band’s short career has touched so many fans and musicians alike. Founding bassist Peter Hook and his band Peter Hook & the Light have truly embraced and honored the far-reaching legacy of Joy Division’s music. In fact, when they rolled into Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse, the band actually performed Joy Division’s only two album Unknown Pleasures (1970) and Closer (1980) in their entirety (as well as some additional tunes from the Joy Division discography during the encore). Peter Hook’s bass lines were always the most memorable in the Joy Division records, and he brings a raw power to those songs in a live setting. His vocals are a perfect homage to late signer Ian Curtis with some unique, ‘Hooky-style’ flavoring.
Hook and his band also paid tribute to New Order, the band that formed in the wake of founding singer Curtis’ passing in 1980. The night began with a full New Order set (“True Faith” was a monumental live moment, with fans dancing in the aisles). They even played the New Order tune “Ceremony” in the encore. For fans of both of these bands, it was the ultimate way to experience and celebrate this music.
Based on the smiles and jaws on the floor throughout the venue, it was clearly a powerful night for the Gen X fans that remember the albums from their youth as well as the many younger attendees with Unknown Pleasures t-shirts. As the band performed “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in the encore with the chorus of audience members singing in unison, we could not help but be touched that Hook has embraced his musical history and the joy of Joy Division. We are glad he and his band have chosen to share some of these live musical memories with their legions of fans across the world.