For show-going Indie Rock fans and show-playing Indie Rock bands alike, 2004-2015 (and counting) has been a goldmine. In the past decade or so, Pixies, Pavement, Pulp, The Stone Roses, Archers of Loaf and The Replacements have been some of the many outfits that have returned for shows and, less often, recordings.
But what of beloved bands who can’t get back together in their original form or are missing a vital piece? Reviving those projects takes moxie and ingenuity alike, which is where Peter Hook & the Light step in.
Joy Division was indisputably one of the finest names to emerge as a hugely influential entity in Post Punk and, retroactively, Indie Rock, but the group’s stellar run only lasted only four years, ending with vocalist Ian Curtis’ suicide in 1980. In that first project’s wake, Joy Division’s remaining personnel formed New Order, but hearing a full-on Joy Division set from an authentic source wasn’t particularly viable.
That is until Joy Division bassist (and former New Order member) Peter Hook started plotting Joy Division tribute shows circa 2010, without any of his living ex-comrades. Backed by a group called the Light, Hook has covered the entirety of 1979’s Unknown Pleasures and now 1980’s Closer. Based on one 2010 performance of Unknown I saw in Washington D.C., the results are pretty remarkable. Hook authentically revives the material decades past its creation while keeping his performance austere and reserved enough to not challenge Curtis’ memory — or, more importantly, his die-hard fans.
That didn’t stop some over-the-top reactions from occurring in the beginning. Before playing his tribute sets, Hook received what he has called “unbelievable” and “vitriolic” hate mail. It wasn’t enough to derail him, however.
“In a funny way, this is the nearest fans are going to get to Joy Division,” he told Interview magazine in 2011. “According to the rest of the band, that’s a bad thing to do. But the people are going, ‘We love it. We wish the others were coming.’ In a funny way, so do I, but they aren’t.”
PETER HOOK AND THE LIGHT play Bogart's
Monday. Tickets/more info here.