Peter Hook & the Light: Substance On Tour

The city we live in, and the wider world of music lovers who know and remember the 70s and 80s, has finally turned a corner.

Peter Hook & The Light at The Phoenix, 2011.

After a committed, years-long effort to widely tour first, his Joy Division masterpieces and then, the early works of New Order, Peter Hook, an undeniable bass god, innovator, musical (and Manchester) ambassador has achieved something brand new in the cities that need routine shaking up these days: He’s made us remember, in our bones, what it felt like, back then. He’s made a clamour, just like he and his band mates did all those years ago, he’s ripped apart the complacency and staleness that befalls even the biggest music cities in between very special visits from those very special living legends across all genres that matter, and he’s done this by doing the impossible: by reinvigorating and reinterpreting music so iconic and so deep it is tattooed upon two generations’ very marrow. Songs that feel as innate as a pulse, that beat the same way. Grooves that he alone invented, using an underappreciated instrument in all new ways, that took the masses from the Joy Division depths of the darkest places of the soul, to the transcendent crystalline New Order anthems that would define and dictate what it meant to dance in the 1980s. And not just in Manchester or England or Europe, but across the world.Peter Hook should not have to prove anything to any one of us. He’s changed the world a couple of times already. But the world of music needs him now. New Order tours in the 80s and 90s in North America were spotty, intermittent things, but well-remembered, and attendance at those in the big and lucky Canadian and American cities is one of those badges of honour still carrying currency when you feel out a new friend or business associate to this very day.  The importance of Joy Division, and of New Order, can simply not be overstated. No matter how many pints are attacked and left for dead in an evening of discussing one of our bands as deeply as our own family members, and with more invested sometimes.

With or without the cred or the opportunity to have seen New Order when New Order was intact (& included founding member Peter Hook) the music he worked to create in those formative years holds an uncommon place in millions of hearts that loves it still, like a first, best crush that never let you down. Like if Molly Ringwald’s Samantha of Sixteen Candles and her Porsche driving Adonis of substance, everyone’s boyfriend Jake Ryan, stayed young and in that first bloom-freeze frame forever, candles burning brightly, never got old or fat or yelled at one another, and definitely never ended in bitter divorce, the rusted Porsche now being bitterly fought over, their bratty and ungrateful kids never even knowing how beautiful their parents were, once, that impossible red hair now gone ashen.

New Order music still shimmers and raises the roof of any room the discs are spun in, and it always will. Joy Division still hits us in those sad places, comforting and empathetic when we are at a low. The specialness, the untouchableness of these records is well known. But what’s newer, and what really adds profound meaning to all this casual beauty of all of our younger days is that as the original players and fans all age, we are confronted with the truths of mortality everyday. In music, whether because we’re pining for that heroic singer we never got to see who will be forever mourned who died long ago, or the legends who died in 2016. Our 80s dance, post-punk, and new wave (aw, hell, the best of it has no genre at all, internet cataloging be damned) has a different lifeforce than the holier than though, mono, diner sountracked 60s. It came of age, we came of age, in the cold war. In various kinds of cold wars. The end of the century. Fear and loathing. Recessions and repressions and disconnectedness as normal. And music was then our only church, our only teacher, our only dad. This truth cuts across a bunch of genres but has a feeling. It was made by, and speaks to, creative people who aren’t about databases, lists and soundbites but know the plain truth that there is a genre called, only, Clash Music. There is a genre called, only, Joy Division Music. There is a genre called, only, Cure Music. And there is a genre called, only, New Order Music. And for many of us that last genre ended,  in its original form, in 2007.

Peter Hook & The Light in Minehead, 2015

What came out of New Order’s dissolution was there for anyone fit, willing and able, to pick up the pieces and move on. Never mind the books, the press banging out the same old note, loving a feud as they do, loving to see, to fan the flames of, and to feast over any bones they can get of any ugly public breakdown, as if this majesty could be reduced to a red top headline. You need only be in one of the rooms (or watercraft) when Peter Hook has been playing with his new outfit, ably accompanied now by his son, Jack Bates, trading off highs and lows, changing the narrative and evolving, unafraid, committed, the frontman he always really was, in tour after tour now developing into an appealing singer far closer to Ian Curtis than Sumner ever was, to forget all you knew or read or wondered or grieved or griped about that band or this band or the band before; to know that this is a rare artist whose heart is bigger than his talent even; underneath that utter cool, that he breathes and lives to this music as we do, more, you know, you must know, and that the claim upon all this art and these beats is asserted because it’s right and good and erasure of the past is sometimes all you can fucking do to live again. It’s the news of the day. It has happened without much fanfare at first, with the easy sneers the now irrelevant press taught us drowned out, and been built, again, from the ground up inside a room in Manchester, and brick by brick in a new foundation of sound and feeling. You’ll know if you were there, if you’ll be there. That is, if you can get a ticket.

Peter Hook & the Light play Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall Tuesday November 29th (Sold Out).

We’ll be writing on and photographing the show when not cheering and crying as we’ve done on two continents since 2012 so check back with us for more on this story.

Words by Jacqueline Howell, all photographs by Dave MacIntyre

We wrote about Shiiine On Weekender’s first year and the historic, still talked about Peter Hook & the Light show that brought the house (tent) down, here.

Here’s a snippet of that review, just about a year ago now:  “Hooky’s God-like status intact, we are the lucky ones at a very special gig. Here we get no less than an assault of Joy Division and New Order’s finest, and their finest can touch you in places in the heart you thought for sure had died along with your innocence…it’s genius: unencumbered by the grind of breaking in new music and at last answerable only to himself, the fans get an intense and pitch perfect wave of nothing but gold. This alone would have been worth the trip (overseas from Canada to UK), and the ridiculously reasonable ticket price.”

Wayhome Music & Arts Festival Preview

Photo: Dave MacIntyre

With less than 30 days to go before Canadian music festival goers descend on an idyllic camping area in Oro, north of Barrie, Ontario, we thought it a good time to take a look at all the information that we have so far, and think about how best to plan our (hopefully) sunny days and nights under the stars. The Wayhome countdown is on!

It’s been 20 long years since we’ve attempted anything like this close to Toronto. Some of you will remember Eden Music Fest (1996) at Mosport Park, which we attended and wrote about here in the dark days of winter, a daring festival experiment in the 90’s (when Lollapalooza was brand new) that failed by some measures but is remembered very fondly and happily by fans who were there for its stellar line up of Canadian, US and UK acts, its easy going vibe, great weather and old-fashioned fun in a time long before smart phones, selfies and angry tweeting were the order of the day. Since the new “Bonnaroo-style” festival was rumoured and announced in early 2015, and before it had a name or venue confirmed, we’ve waited with anticipation and excitement to finally see it happen again in our midst. There’s since been a barn raised restored to stunning beauty. Some of our best Toronto, regional and food truck offerings are in the plans. Everything is almost in place ( including day-by-day line up schedule but not set times as yet) and creative strategies are being worked out from as far as B.C. and the U.S. for serious festival chasers. History has finally arrived.

With all the competition from the granddaddy European and UK festivals, as well as a now thriving, competitive scene in Canada and the US, there has been some criticism launched at some of the big festival promoters in North America that the line ups are underwhelming. There was also a major criticism made about the lack of gender diversity in many, if not most, of the big line ups (and it would seem, in the music landscape at the current time, itself). Festival promoters, though, relying on all-important word of mouth and the need to operate with magician-like flexibility to pull these massive productions off, tend to have their ear more to the ground for customer feedback than a lot of areas of entertainment, are able to make on the ground changes, and have gone some distance to correct these complaints locally.

But music, while the point of the gathering, is just a part of the big picture. Festivals today, especially the multi-day, camping variety with some out in the country flexibility, know that the discerning festival goer wants to be entertained, dazzled, surprised, and has moved beyond just midway food, (and needs something, or many things, to Instagram) and so in impressive Bonnaroo-style (who’s AC Entertainment has co-produced Wayhome with Republic Live) we can look forward to a precedent-setting array of true blue, heightened festival offerings. Here’s a cheat sheet:

The location: Burl’s Creek Event Grounds: Located just north of Barrie, (about 1.5 hours from Toronto, but prepare for traffic) is an expansive, grassy space surrounded by mature forests.


The festival: Wayhome Arts & Music Fest, July 24th-26th: There are flexible ticket, travel and accommodation options, including full three day event pass/camping ($249.99) VIP event pass/camping ($599.99) or single day VIP tickets ($299.99). Tickets are still available as of this writing.

Site offerings: A daily Farmer’s Market; four stages -Wayhome (Main/Ampitheatre)  Waybright: (Intimate second stage) Waybold (Dance tent) and Wayaway (Secluded Forest Stage feature late night performances); A Silent Disco; Wayart: Visual art installations throughout the grounds; numerous premium food vendors including Canadian institution Beavertails, Chevy’s Big Bite, fan pics Food Dudes and Busters and Fresh; and diverse beverage options beyond beer and water including smoothies, cold pressed juices and cold brewed coffee for the a.m. pick me up, and exciting VIP area Food offerings from The Drake Hotel (including a fish camp!). There’s also an Etsy craft market planned. There will be some 24 hour food and beverages available, a must for the night owls who bypass the grocery stop in Barrie, and prefer to live in the moment. For campers, there’s very reasonable camping rules and regulations to allow for economizing and cooking on site, as well as priming with some pre-game beers. Be sure to read the Wayhome site’s FAQ for all the info needed for campers and general rules).

General admission tickets include camping, and there’s a full program of live music from across genres, naturally, with 60 artists over 3 days including: Neil Young + Promise of the Real, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Alt-J, Modest Mouse, Hozier, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) Bassnectar, St. Vincent, The Decemberists, Girl Talk, Future Islands, Run the Jewels,Passion Pit, Odesza, Alvvays, Yukon Blonde, Viet Cong, The Growlers (and many more).

The music will likely go all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so anyone who’s hoping to capitalize will probably want to plan to go up Thursday afternoon when the gates open (5:00 pm) or that evening.

See the Wayhome website, and their very detailed FAQ, as well as their Facebook page for information. Line up and other information is per the Wayhome official site and information emailed to ticket holders and is subject to change.  Blog TO has a great gallery of site photos as it looks today with the newly restored barn. There’s a very active Reddit thread that is a good place to exchange information and connect with other fans pre:festival.

Read our WayHome Miss Nothing! Music Guide here and here. Check back for our on-site festival coverage (photo galleries, festival reports, and reviews) over the Wayhome weekend. By Step On Magazine Editors

Full line up is below:

Line Up

Read more of our 2015 Festival Season Coverage:

Bestival Toronto Part 1

Bestival Toronto Part 2

Bestival Toronto Playlist

The Bonnaroo Diaries

Bestival Preview

Riot Fest Starts with You: A Fan’s Diary




Basquiat Gallery

More original Basquiat coverage from the AGO show and more original photography:


“It is most definitely, always, a tragedy when someone dies young, and by young, we mean 27 or 40.  It is always a tragedy to lose an artist of any age who has much to say and has barely been heard yet, even as the outward markers of success suggest a phenomenon. It is a terrible loss, forever in the bones and nerves and heart and the brain we understand so little about, to lose someone we love. Someone we barely knew. Someone who changed the shape of the world, the space-time continuum, whether our mother, our friend, or Jean-Michel Basquiat.” READ HERE


“Basquiat calls her out: copyright, cartoon, junk food, while elsewhere, 2015, super-human, clean-living Madonna goes on and on in the world collecting titles of the ultra –rich and less culturally relevant ex-artists and never was-es: “philanthropist” “record producer” the always entertaining “Business Woman” and the truly frightening “Mogul”. READ HERE


“You may be amazed, “fascinated”, even, that these works with their decidedly large swatches of blacked over areas and startling darkness will make you laugh with understanding, with recognition, and the joy this feeling creates, something only possible here and now before him.  It’s not about death any more than any honest art is about death. It’s not gloomy. It could even be the most alive thing you’ve ever seen. Absolutely death-defying.” READ HERE


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