|The Light getting ready to play "Colony"|
After a quick tear through the instrumental "Incubation," drummer Paul Kehoe got the audience's blood pumping with the determined pounce of "Dead Souls." The song built momentum steadily, working the audience into a frenzy for two minutes before Hook came in on vocals. By the time he shouted "they keep calling me" he had most of the room screaming along giddily. Giddy isn't normally a word I would use in any conversation about Joy Division, but the combination of the electricity of the song and the relief that Hook seemed to do Curtis' vocals justice was a marvelous feeling. No, this wasn't Joy Division- but it was damn close.
The first song from Closer performed was its opening track, "Atrocity Exhibition," which again found Kehoe leading the charge. Hook was backed by an additional bassist, his son, Jack Bates, who handled the task without missing a beat. "Isolation" was the first tune to turn the floor into a dance party, and was bolstered by Hook's gravelly vocals. Curtis' voice tended to move between somber and biting, and his friend did an admirable job of staying true to that style while adding a layer of grit all his own."Colony" flexed the most muscle of the set, rolling out of the speakers like a panzer. Hearing that song sound that good took me out of the show for a moment- a reminder that, no disrespect to The Light, this wasn't Joy Division. If a song that never really stood out to me on record sounds this good live, what would it have sounded like with the original lineup in their prime?
|If anyone's allowed to wear his band's shirt, it's Peter Hook|
True-to-the-original versions of "She's Lost Control" and "Shadowplay" had people dancing and air-bassing before totally loosing their shit when Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan appeared onstage. His introduction was drowned out by cheers, which in turn were only eclipsed in volume by the gurgling throb of Hook's bass on the beginning of "Transmission." Corgan's voice is about as far from Curtis' as you can get, but he does have experience making Joy Division tracks his own (his early-90s side project Starchildren recorded a cover of "Isolation" for a Joy Division tribute album). He hit his stride while screaming the song's "dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio" climax and carried it over into "Love Will Tear Us Apart." That song strikes me as the one Corgan wish he wrote, but I could probably say that of most sane individuals. Admittedly, I didn't hear much of his vocals because, like the rest of the crowd, I was too busy singing and dancing.
|Billy Corgan pumps up the crowd for "Transmission"|
Check out more show reviews:
Swans at Bottom Lounge
Freelance Whales at Empty Bottle
Mayor Daley, Bad Drugs at Empty Bottle
Braids at the Empty Bottle
Peter Bjorn & John at Empty Bottle