Peter Hook and the Light make me feel 15 again at First Avenue


My gateway drug into New Wave was an Austrian band none of our readers will ever have heard about: Chuzpe. Somehow their cover of “Love will tear us apart” made it in the Austrian Charts in 1981. Somehow in a sea of cheese – Telly Savalas was at #2 with “Broken Hearts Never Mend” – there was this strange music. Little 15 year old me, armed with a cassette recorder, swiped the song from the radio and life would never be the same.

Fast forward a few decades and the song still sends shivers down my spine. So when I found out about Peter Hook and the Light performing both Substance albums on their current tour I got pretty excited. The only person that could possibly be more excited than me? DJ Jake Rudh whose Transmission Dance Nights have become an integral part of the Twin Cities music scene. His DJ set dug deep into the sound of the period. Did he nail it? Two of the Lights band members came out of the dressing room to look at the screen and take a few pictures – You be the judge……

First Avenue was pretty full and the audience was leaning to people my age with a good showing by the youngsters. There were a couple of ladies in blue wigs (or hair died blue – I did not test my theory) and a ton of band t-shirts from the cool side of the 80s. After an intro the may or may not have included and Alphorn (you know from the Ricola commercials), Peter Hook took the stage with a simple “Evening Minneapolis” and launched in the first set. “Blue Monday” got a strong response from the crowd as the signature intro rang out. “The Perfect Kiss” had fans sinning along and “Bizarre Love Triangle” got them dancing.
After a short break the band returned for set 2. No costume changes, no major light changes, pretty much nothing changed…… and then everything changed. The sound, the music, the vibe it took us off the dance floor into our teenage bedrooms, put headphones on our heads, made us turn off the lights and listen to these strange dangerous songs at a volume our mom said would make us go deaf. New Orders synthy beats were no more. The drums, the driving bass were straight post-punk. The Performance was about the music, there was little chatter from the stage.
Dedicating the closing song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” to his band mate Ian Curtis, Peter Hook closed the circle, and for one song I forgot about taking notes, looking for shots or any other journalistic nonsense that clutters my brain. I was just a fan, singing along with a few hundred buddies I just met.

Set 1 (New Order)
Lonesome Tonight / Procession / Cries and Whispers / Ceremony / Everything’s Gone Green / Temptation / Blue Monday / Confusion / Thieves Like Us / The Perfect Kiss / Subculture / Shellshock / State of the Nation / Bizarre Love Triangle / True Faith / 1963
Set 2 (Joy Division)
No Love Lost / Novelty / From Safety to Where…? / Komakino / These Days / Warsaw / Leaders of Men / Digital / Autosuggestion / Transmission / She’s Lost Control / Incubation / Dead Souls / Atmosphere / Love Will Tear Us Apart