Monthly Archives: October 2013

Depeche Mode 10/4 & 10/11/13, Austin City Limits Festival

Dates: October 4 & 11, 2013

Location: Austin City Limits Festival, Austin TX

1. Depeche Mode ACL Blurt

TEXT/PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PASSMAN

 Depeche Mode was the headlining act for the first nights of this year’s ACL Festival for both weeks (Oct. 4 and 11). Although they’re in a specific genre of techno music, new wave was really anything that wasn’t classic rock or metal in the ‘80s, so new wave music was just about any style except the above. Eventually, musical genres were assigned and bands were categorized, but back then, it was just new wave. If you were into new wave, you were into Depeche Mode.

2. Depeche Mode ACL Blurt

They’re still recording new music, but the larger fan base are those who grew up with them. Because of that, a lot of new material was not recognized by the crowd. With “Walking In My Shoes” from the 1993 album Songs of Faith and Devotion, the crowd going.  Another highlight during the first few songs was 2005’s “Precious”, which got the crowd going.

3. Depeche Mode ACL Blurt

“Black Celebration” was a pleasant surprise, but I remember buying the album when it came out, and it somehow didn’t feel as big as I remembered it. Nevertheless, it was a great choice.  Other songs in the set included “A Question of Time” and a solo acoustic version of “Home”.   The band picked up the tempo and the crowd happily responded with the obligatory “Enjoy The Silence” and “Personal Jesus”, then a surprise solo version of  “Shake The Disease.”

4. Depeche Mode 2013 ACL Blurt

The encore with “Just Can’t Get Enough” turned the park into an elated group dance and sing along, but the finale “Never Let Me Down” had the whole crowd waving their arms along.  They captivated the audience mostly from start to finish.  There were tons of people in the crowd singing along to every word.

5. Depeche Mode 2013 ACL Blurt

Depeche Mode is huge in any context.  For those who grew up in the ‘80s in larger or progressive places, they had a big fan base. For me, I grew up in Albuquerque. It was a metal town where Ozzy and Rush were the only things that mattered. If you didn’t like them, you were an outcast, so as it goes that rock ‘n’ roll was outsider music, Depeche Mode was for outsiders for many of us who grew up somewhere that was mainstream. My friends and I absorbed everything that wasn’t metal or classic rock. Our crowd was so small that the punks and the new wave kids all hung out together, went to the same shows no matter who played, and stuck together. So for many of us and others under similar circumstances, Depeche Mode meant a lot.  Many of us eventually honed and tuned our tastes as we grew up, but this band was a big deal. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see and shoot them.

6. Depeche Mode ACL Blurt

Passman’s Complete ACL Coverage:

Day 1

https://blurtonline.com/review/austin-city-limits-festival-2013-day-one-oct-4/

Day 2

https://blurtonline.com/review/austin-city-limits-festival-2013-day-two-oct-5/

Joy Formidable

https://blurtonline.com/review/joy-formidable-105-101213-austin-city-limits-festival/

Depeche Mode

https://blurtonline.com/review/depeche-mode-104-101113-austin-city-limits-festival/

The Cure

https://blurtonline.com/review/cure-105-101213-austin-city-limits-festival/

THE IT*MEN – Greatest Its

Album: Greatest Its

Artist: The It*Men

Label: Stow House

Release Date: July 02, 2013

It Men CD

http://theitmen.bandcamp.com/

 BY FRED MILLS

 Lord, where did these guys come from—and more important, why the hell haven’t we heard of ‘em before now? Try Googling the band name; you’ll likely hit a dead end for a few pages, although the, er, imaginative liner notes to this part-reissue, part-new release comprising 2004 and 2013 tracks do float the notion that The It*Men (asterisk not optional) might have been pre-punk heroes of the early ‘70s Midwest. (Those liner notes, penned by one “Prof. Orville Pricklepatch,” are almost worth the price of admission alone here, served up in neo-historical style that manages to channel the journalistic spirits of both Lester Bangs and Robert Palmer.)

 At any rate, as fronted by one leather-lunged Ken Jannsen, apparently a fixture on the Cleveland indie/garage scene for some time, The It*Men coulda been contenders back in the day, had they actually been “back in the day,” and luckily we’ve got ‘em here in this day to champion. And given the sound here on this double album, a shotgun marriage of Stooges/MC5 Motor City fuh and Pere Ubu/Electric Eels Clevo art-skronk, that fanciful backstory mentioned above will do. Right from the get-go, with the jetpack blasts and primal yelps ‘n’ grunts of “Tell You the Truth” and the “Search And Destroy”-isms of “Come And Get Some,” all the way through the blue collar swagger of “Screw the Pooch” and the X-rated yoga lesson that is “Modified Cobra Position,” these guys deliver the thrashing, synapse-scorching, Budweiser-guzzling anthemic goods. Glom onto some of the other songtitles: “Doing Drugs for You,” “(You Gotta) Pay the Man,” “Screw the Pooch,” “(Lily the) Deepthroat Killer.” Any more questions?

 Whoah, all that, and a 21-minute kosmiche boogie jam called “Death Machine” that takes up the entirety of this two-LP set’s Side 4. Somebody call CREEM magazine, pronto, and tell ‘em we have located their next cover stars.

 DOWNLOAD: “Tell You the Truth,” “That’s Not the Way I Heard It,” “Death Machine”

A version of this review appears in issue #14 of BLURT. Vocalist Jannsen was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and, according to Cleveland media reports “has been undergoing treatments to slow the progression of the disease.” His former bandmates got back together in June to host a multi-band benefit for him called The Last Waltz of The It*Men. They also mounted an online crowd-funding campaign to raise money for Jannsen

JIM BIANCO – Cookie Cutter

Album: Cookie Cutter

Artist: Jim Bianco

Label: self-released

Release Date: October 01, 2013

Jim Bianco

http://www.jim.bianco.com/

 BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

 Jim Bianco found an unusual source of inspiration for his new album, a tack that found him asking 17 different people the same 69 questions about their lives, memories, desires and circumstance. Their answers inspired the 18 songs that populate this effort, each unique, insightful, happy and heartbreaking.

 Perhaps because these songs are so personal and gleaned from actual individuals, there’s a poignancy that resides within each which becomes all the more affecting. The narratives that precede each song are, by turns, humorous, revealing, captivating and creepy, but the sincerity inherent in each introduction inspires some especially moving moments – the confessional ballad “California,” the tale of a separated military couple documented in “I’ll Be There For You,” the sweet promise of making memories with a first kiss in “Billy Baker,” the woman born with a brain tumor who celebrates survival in “Miracle.” Bianco treats the melodies with thrift and simplicity, crafting his arrangements with piano, acoustic guitar, a tender vocal and little else, ensuring the sentiments are laid bare and made vulnerable, with results that are both engaging and endearing.

 Bianco deserves kudos for expanding beyond his parameters and finding a way to make a new connection, not only with his listeners, but with a basic humanity as well. Cookie Cutter is hardly what its title describes, but instead, an original effort indeed.

 DOWNLOAD: “I’ll Be There For You,” “Billy Baker,” “California”

POLLY SCATTERGOOD – Arrows

Album: Arrows

Artist: Polly Scattergood

Label: Mute

Release Date: October 22, 2013

Polly Scattergood 10-22

(Mute)

www.mute.com

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

As her name might suggest, Polly Scattergood does well in defying description. A search for comparisons could conjure up the image of Bjork fronting Florence and the Machine (leaving Florence to fend for herself presumably). Still, like all eccentric artists – a category for which Scattergood certainly qualifies – she seems to follow her own whims, while disregarding expectations and any particular set of standards.

Unlike some current performers who rely strictly on shock, outrage or extravagance, Scattergood opts instead for emotion, pouring out her feelings with unfiltered honesty. “I’ve got a soul/And it’s as sad as they come/Because it used to feel everything/And now it’s just numb, numb, numb,” she wails on the album’s final coda, “I’ve Got a Heart.”  Then there’s this, from “Falling”: “Oh my God, my heart is breaking/Is this what my mind’s creating…”

It’s might easy to applaud Scattergood’s willingness to share her sentiments, no matter how brutal and brittle they sometimes seem. Indeed, if she’s using her songs as a substitute for a psychiatrist couch, who can complain? Despite those candid confessions, #Arrows# never bows to Scattergood’s self-indulgence, given the swooning synths and other cosmic confections. Songs like “Falling” and “Subsequently Lost” build off kinetic rhythms and billowing arrangements, driving the drama to maximum effect. Likewise, when she sings in her fragile, childlike whimper – as expressed in “Cocoon” and the aforementioned “I’ve Got a Heart”– her vulnerability is especially evident.

It will be interesting to see how Scattergood progresses from this point on, and whether she’ll choose to go the route of further embellishment, even while pouring out her emotions with honesty and eloquence. As long as Polly keeps it pure, she should be able to sustain that full measure of fascination.

DOWNLOAD: “I’ve Got a Heart,” “Cocoon”

 

 

BRETT DENNEN — Smoke and Mirrors

Album: Smoke and Mirrors

Artist: Brett Dennen

Label: F-Stop Music/Atlantic

Release Date: October 22, 2013

Brett Dennen 10-22

BY ALLI MARSHALL

 “I’ve got a hard reputation,” singer-songwriter Brett Dennen sings on the jogging, Paul Simon-esque album opener “Sweet Persuasion.” It sets a mood on just-released Smoke and Mirrors and (re)establishes Dennen as a master of the hooky alt-pop tune. It also offers the first of many confessions that are at once emotionally accessible and kind of hard to buy into. Dennen as a heartbreaker? Dennen as anything akin to a bad boy? (I played the achingly-sweet slow dance, “Only Want You,” for my husband who surmised that Dennen had penned the track for his pet Guinnea pig.)

 It’s on “Wild Child” that Dennen draws the shortest line of connection. The rollicking, feel-good folk-rocker is the instant anthem of all rebels and hippies (especially those who are rebellious free spirits in more so in their own minds than outwardly). That was the first song that Dennen wrote for Smoke and as the album’s flagship it’s already inundated the airwaves. There’s also a video for the single — a sun-dappled nature trek in which Dennen encounters a horse, slices an apple with a pocket knife and looks like he got dressed in John Denver’s closet.

 The singer-songwriter says that “Wild Child” reconnected him to his roots. Fed up with outside pressure and influence on who he needed to be as a musician, and tired from touring, he retreated to his mountain house in the Sonora Pass region of the Sierra Nevada. It’s an area where, as a kid, Dennen hiked and worked as a camp counselor.

 But if Smoke represents a return to the great outdoors for Dennen, the Charlie Peacock-produced project showcases less wilderness, more polished simplicity. Each track is self-contained, from the fingerpicking-into-lush strings of “Only Want You” to the fuzzed-out garage(ish) rock of “When We Were Young.”

 That song, with its the uber-relatable line, “High school was a catastrophe, it was a failure factory,” hints at the Dennen of “Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog).” But here, the singer’s unusual voice is matched-to-the-point-of-blending with the percussive guitars and electronic warbles.

 Perhaps it’s because it follows the insouciant energy of “When We Were Young,” by the smooth and somber title track is mostly forgettable. It’s well-written and poignant, but Smoke has more engaging tracks of the thoughtful ilk. “Don’t Mess With Karma,” likely a condemnation of those who stand in the way of gay marriage, is rhythmically intriguing, with layered guitar parts and pretty harmonies. (The female singer takes the low harmony to Dennen’s rangy tenor.)

 The CSN-flavored “Who Am I” also examines personal politics. The atmospherics feel modern, but the steel guitar is straight out of the ‘70s. Just try to listen to that song with out suddenly needing to dust off your copy of Deja Vu.

 While the album ends with the solid “Not Too Late,” it’s “Out Of My Head,” a snappy, hand-clappy dance track that feels like the punctuation point. That song, left off preview copies of Smoke, bursts out of the gate at full tilt and builds from there. Less folk, more pop. And, while it does manage to tuck in a reference to Dennen’s nature escape (“I went up into the mountains and climbed / I got away from the all the sadness and the static / I won’t be caught up in that anymore”), the track gets a lot of milage from the ricocheting line, “Get out of my head, get into my heart.”

 If “Sweet Persuasion” raises questions about super-nice-guy Brett Dennen’s so-called hard reputation, then “Out Of My Head” is the balance with its quirky romance and feel-good bounce. It’s Dennen without any smoke and mirrors; the songwriter his fans love and want, despite what any business-minded “outside influences” might think.

DOWNLOAD: “Sweet Persuasion,” “Only Want You,” “When We Were Young”

 

September Report: Austin, Texas

Dates: September 2013

Location: Various Venues, Austin TX

20. Peelander Z Blurt

Text & Photos by Michael Passman

 Why is Austin The Live Music Capital of The World? The place is musically known for SXSW, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and Fun Fun Fun Fest. That’s umpteen to the degree of bands playing in just two weeks total out of the year.  Legendary clubs like Antone’s and Emo’s are now large undertakings that are so far removed from their beginnings and uniqueness that they exist as they were only in name. Gone is the cheap or even free admission to see national acts, gone is the cheap beer. Every show gets bigger and it seems the ratio of VIP’s, guests, security, and bartenders to concertgoers increases.  The volume seems to get lower and gets drowned out by everybody yelling and having bro moments.  It seems Austin has grown up and decided it’s going to be like most larger cities: Exponential rents, housing shortages, cool, funky old places getting replaced by high rise condos, shi shi nouveau cuisine eateries, more day spas, traffic congestion, and a public transportation system that grows to meet the city’s needs a few years too late.  We tend to call it The Cool Place That Gets Worse Every Year Capital Of The World.

 On the other hand, everyone’s in a band, or a journalist, photographer, independent business owner, and often both or many.  We have health insurance and mental health care for musicians, nationally renown record stores like Waterloo, End Of An Ear, and Antone’s Record Store. Once musically famous Sixth Street is now drinkathon and cheesy dance club paradise for frat kids and anyone who wants to venture into crowd stumbling mayhem, but Red River just got proclaimed a musical district, so the condos and flats continuously popping up along that street and tenants will have to accept the constancy and volume emitted from the outdoor venues lining three blocks. Good sized music venues are spreading North, South, and East. The number of live clubs is increasing.

 As proof of holding The Live Music Capital Of The World title, here are highlights from just a month, minus Peter Hook and The Light, who have a separate story written about them, and minus legends Mudhoney, of whom were not seen after so many nights out that they would have interfered with recovery and my day job.

 Labretta Suede at Legendary White Swan

 1. Labretta Suede Blurt 1

 Garage raunch from New York, originated in New Zealand. Half the band couldn’t make it, so they played as a two piece.  There are high standards for a two piece:  There’s Dex Romweber Duo. Everything has to be judged by that, but the DIY primitivism was nothing less than club wielding caveman goodness. Lux and Ivy would have been proud.

 2. Labretta Suede Blurt 2

 Golden Boys and Cosmic Psychos at Beerland

 3. Golden Boys Blurt 1

4. Golden Boys Blurt 2

Nationally known and incredible live performers The Golden Boys, also known by many though Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations episode on Austin, played an always incredible set to enthusiastic and growing rowdy folks at Beerland, a legendary concrete room on Red River where the tall boys flow from hands up to the stage. Beerland is about as rock ‘n’ roll as it gets. No pretention, a dark room, overpowering red and blue lights on the stage, and nowhere to hide. It’s the closest thing to The Cavern Club, only louder. 

Stopping over on their way to Gonerfest, Aussie punks Cosmic Psychos took the stage next.  This was a rare treat to see such legends in a small club. It happens all the time in Austin, but still generates excitement. Call us lucky.

 5. Cosmic Psychos Blurt

6. Cosmic Psychos Blurt

A mix of old and new.  Utterly fun. There was a huge buzz the next day among the local crowd since so many love them but few knew they were playing.

X and Blondie at Stubb’s

 7. x for blurt

 Great combination. LA legendary rawness together with artsier NY punk/new wave innovators.  X was better. X is amazing live, even after multiple times.  Los Angeles is among the most important rock albums ever made and as a live act, X delivers. On the other hand, one should never miss an opportunity to see Clem Burke.  The photo pit was at the back of the house by the soundboard. Oh wait, the sound guys said no, off to the side instead.  Me plus one other photographer shooting through 70-200mm lenses with a DX crop. X didn’t make that decision. Pics shown just to prove it happened. One really can’t write about the concert experience unless they were actually a part of it. Being exiled to the back of the house with about a four by four foot square to shoot in doesn’t exactly lend itself to getting that feeling, does it Debbie?

8. Blondie for Blurt

A walk caddy corner afterwards to Club Deville (now closed) finds a calmer and hidden respite with John Doe, Aimee Mann, and El Vez.  El Vez plays a one time only soul revue at The Scottish Rite Theater with Hunt Sales of Iggy Pop’s band the next night. Aimee Mann plays down the street at Paramount Theater and got heckled during her performance.

Tuxedo El Vez

 9. Black Tux El Vez Blurt

El Vez is quite an experience, but the songs he picked as a one time performance alone was worthwhile.  He crooned to People Get Ready, Power To The People, some Beatles, Motown standards, and a highlight was “En Le Barrio”.  All songs were inflected with Spanish and stories of The Mexican American Experience that described so many negatives but made them stories, not to mention The Masonic backdrop on stage given recognition – “Am I Hebrew?”

 Red El Vez

 10. Red El Vez Blurt

One could do a series of El Vez based on his suits alone.

 White El Vez

 11. White El Vez Blurt

Blue El Vez

 12. Blue El Vez

Sharksin El Vez

 13. Sharkskin El Vez Blurt

Crooning El Vez

 14. Crooning El Vez Blurt

The opener was a great burlesque show, the band was tremendous with Hunt Sales, Dave Wolf, and Sharko from The Modern Don Juans on guitar.  The show ended early, and most went on their way to the newest honky tonk in town, The White Horse, for Big Sandy and The Flyrite Boys.

 15. Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys Blurt

16. Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys Blurt

Big Sandy lives up to his name. Songs about tequila and heartbreak livened up a growing dance floor with a hip thirty-something crowd that kicked up their boots and danced like they didn’t have a care in the world.  Those who didn’t dance stood close by and wished they could.  The band was great, the crowd was delightful, and happiness filled the room.  The best part was not only a great band, but a crowd that danced their way through the show instead of standing around and talking. Old time rockabilly at its finest. On a side note, former Flyrite Boy Bobby Trimble was busy on the traps with The Ugly Beats playing The Continental Club at the same time.

The following evening was comic book punks Peelander Z.  Mr. Lewis and The Funeral Five opened up.  It was so loud and blistering that one needed to wear earplugs not just near the stage, but everywhere in the 1000 standing venue. I have to thank Transmission Entertainment for their insight since it prevented anyone from talking over the band like they’re the show themselves, which has become all too common in Austin. See Aimee Mann for details.

 Mr. Lewis and The Funeral Five from a safe distance

 17. Mr. Lewis and The Funeral Five Blurt

Following them was Residual Kid.  I’m not sure if they started high school yet, but they’ve come a long way in two years from neighborhood parties and street festivals.  Impressive but not for their age, the set was blistering with mostly original songs and a surprise end with Nirvana’s Territorial Pissing.

 18. Residual Kid Blurt

 19. Residual Kid Blurt

The crowd was really middle aged, as in kids and their parents/roadies/managers.  Even 10 years ago, this kind of support would be rare. The parents of the band and the kids who came out to see them were very supportive, although one has to wonder if it’s still rock ‘n’ roll if the parents like it.

  What can one say about Peelander Z (pictured below, and at the top of this page)? There’s a yellow one, a pink one, a purple one, and a green one. Long ago, there was a blue one. More recently, there was a red one. How Peelander Green grew a few feet, gained twice his weight, and grew a long, red beard in just six months is baffling.  Hey!  Where’s Peelander Green?  He might have suddenly been called back to teach Ninja High School with Red.  Never mind. Songs about Steak, Tacos, So Many Mike, pots and pans passed around, and a limbo rope in the middle of the audience never gets old.  Aside from that, it’s now Metalander Z, just go along with it. It’s more fun than you should be allowed to have in a few hours, anyway.

21. Peelander Z Blurt

 

Mudhoney was the following night. I had to sleep and go to work the next day so I could earn more time off. As one can see, there’s a lot of rock ‘n’ roll year round in Austin, but you can’t do everything unless you’re among the population of trustafarian, fixie riding hipsters who can afford to miss their day jobs, you’re a habitual couch surfer with a trust fund, or you fit the joke “What do you call a musician/artist/blogger without a girlfriend?  Homeless.”  I’m sorry, Mark and Steve. I promise I’ll see you again soon.

 

FUZZ – Fuzz

Album: Fuzz

Artist: FUZZ

Label: In The Red

Release Date: October 01, 2013

Fuzz

www.intheredrecords.com

BY TIM HINELY

I think in San Franciscan Ty Segall we have a musician here of Pollardian proportions, in other words, the dude’s prolific!  Here, Segall is joined by pals Charlie Moothart and Rolan Cosio (Segall plays drums) and the word power trio comes to mind. Yes, the 8 songs on this FUZZ debut are heavy, real heavy. Initially I was reminded of Black Sabbath, who are an obvious influence, but you’ll also hear some love for Hendrix and, of course, the heaviest band ever (aside from Poison Idea) Blue Cheer.

From the opening cut of “Earthen Gate” the songs nudge, heave, shove and then finally bulldoze their way to your hearts. Both “Loose Sutures” and “Raise’ offer up Iommi-ish guitar sludge while “Hazemaze’ speeds things up, if just a bit, but still, compared to the other tunes,  makes it seem like a souped-up GTO racing against a poor Pinto.

Put that lit-up cell phone down and get a lighter dammit. This deserves it.

DOWNLOAD:  “Earthen Gate,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Loose Sutures”

JOE GRUSHECKY – Somewhere East of Eden

Album: Somewhere East of Eden

Artist: Joe Grushecky

Label: Schoolhouse

Release Date: October 08, 2013

Joe Grushecky 10-8

www.warnermusicnashville.com

 BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

 Pittsburgh’s Joe Grushecky has been working a relentless rock ‘n’ roll shift for well over three decades now, both on his own and with his homegrown working man buddies, the Iron City Houserockers. A true journeyman fuelled by spit and sass, his blue collar anthems have drawn him favorable comparison to other dogged troubadours like Bruce Springsteen, Graham Parker, Southside Johnny, Willy DeVille and John Mellencamp. Indeed, it’s a mark of his resolve that the Boss himself has often guested with Grushecky both on album and in performance.

 Even so, aside from a fiercely devoted hometown following, he’s never earned the wider acclaim his contemporaries have attained while essentially mining the same sound. Hopefully then, Somewhere East of Eden will provide the path to that much deserved recognition, given that its beer-bred melodies and sturdy backbeats still boast Grushecky’s basic barroom appeal. The fast and furious “I Can Hear the Devil Knocking,” a tumultuous “Prices Going Up” and the doo-wop strum of “Still Look Good (For Sixty)” ought to be considered mandatory listening for any baby boomer who fears they’ve lost their groove. Likewise, the rugged and weathered “Who Cares About Those Kids,” “Somewhere East of Eden,” “Magnolia” and the especially telling “The First Day of School”show a fierce resilience that only comes through age and perseverance. All of which makes the inclusion of a well etched classic like “Save The Last Dance For Me” or a gratuitous offering like “I Was Born To Rock” seem somewhat redundant in the way they merely restate the obvious.

 Still, Grushecky does vary the template somewhat, particularly with the historical, latin-tinged narrative “When Castro Came Down From The Hills” and the syncopated “Join the Revelator.” Yet there’s never any doubt that Grushecky remains the ceaseless rock ‘n’ roll cheerleader he’s always been. And like a revered master who’s long since honed his craft, it’s also clear he’s never been more dedicated or determined.

 DOWNLOAD: “The First Day of School,” “Somewhere East of Eden,” “Magnolia”

 

 

 

 

Peter Hook and The Light 9/17/13, Austin TX

Dates: September 17, 2013

Location: The Belmont, Austin TX

Peter Hook poster

TEXT/PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PASSMAN

 Summer is the time for ‘80s acts to get out there and play mid-sized shows for people wanting to hear the old hits, but not necessarily the deeper cuts. Over the past Summer, Big Country, Adam Ant, The Psychedelic Furs, New Order, Peter Murphy reprising Bauhaus, which he vowed to never do, and Bow Wow Wow all toured, minus original members, but playing to large crowds and raking in some cash on their popularity with Generation X and those WHO “remember” the ‘80s even if they weren’t old enough to. 

 In walks Peter Hook, founding bassist for Joy Division and New Order, playing songs with his band The Light that only covered the first two New Order albums?  On paper, it sounds much better than the “Let’s play the hits” mentality.  After all, the older New Order stuff was great, and not too many people knew anything of their music before “Blue Monday.”  God, I hope he doesn’t play “Blue Monday.”

 The opening act was Slaves of Venus. Never heard of ‘em, so there was no need to get there early, but I did anyway.  It was actually the same band with Peter Hook, but they did obscure Joy Division covers!  They opened up with “Atrocity Exhibition.” It was a bit of a shock. Joy Division never toured The States and everyone knows the story, but this was pretty damn cool. No “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” no Isolation, but “Digital,” “Shadowplay,” and lesser known stuff. We’re off to a good start here!

 Peter Hook Blurt 1_edited-2

 The first New Order album I bought was Everything’s Gone Green. It was an EP, but technically considered they’re first album.  He played “Mesh,” “Everything’s Gone Green,” and “Temptation.” Power, Corruption, and Lies had some great gems such as “Leave Me Alone” and “Age Of Consent.” He played those, but New Order really triumphed song wise when the songs were more guitar driven, and it was great to see a band that had dimensions instead of songs that people are nostalgic about. “Your Silent Face” was mostly synth, and they played it, but the bass was deeper and lends to great melodic moments that one remembers, aside from getting to sing along to “You’ve caught me at a bad time, so why don’t you piss off!” He played it.

 Included in the set was the first New Order single “Ceremony.”  A prime example of how melodic and forward Peter Hook’s bass playing is.  It wasn’t New Order, but could have been a better portrayal since Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner switched off on lead vocals in the earlier days.  Most people don’t know that Bernard was lead vocal on a lot of songs.

 Peter Hook Blurt 2_edited-2

  Peter Hook is what made Joy Division and New Order stand out by making the bass a melodic instrument that carried the melody instead of being part of the rhythm section.  Funk bands did it before him, but he was the first to do it with popular music. Not only that, but the bass as melody became the central trait of Goth music, whether it’s The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie (sparingly here; Siouxsie created her own music that really didn’t sound like anyone else) in songs like “Happy House” and Christine, and others. He was very happy to hear me say that.

 But they played “Blue Monday,” dammit.  Sometimes, ya gotta play the hits, I guess. It’s forgiven.