Testament and triumph for Hooky

Peter Hook. Picture: Eric Swalens
Peter Hook. Picture: Eric Swalens
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Peter Hook and the Light

Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

It’s a testament to songs that, not only do they sound as starkly emotional 30-odd years on, but they can stand the loss of one of the greatest singers of all time.

Hooky was never going to match the tortured brilliance of tragic Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis (let’s face it, no-one could) – but those thundering basslines, choppy guitars and clattering drums still make your spine tingle.

Billed as a run-through of the JD debut, Unknown Pleasures, they actually kicked off with earlier songs like Digital and Leaders Of Men before moving on to the album. Then the classics started tumbling over each other – Disorder, Day Of The Lords, She’s Lost Control, Shadowplay – and Hooky’s confidence visibly lifted.

His deadpan (some would say flat) vocals became more energised as it became more and more obvious this wasn’t a tragic tribute to his own band.

As Unknown Pleasures drew to a close, later songs like Isolation and Heart & Soul followed and the show built to a climax with Transmission and Love Will Tear Us Apart when it was singalong time (a bit incongruous with such heart-rending material but no-one cared).

He may not wear his bass quite as low-slung these days, but this was a definite triumph for Hooky.