Shiiine On Weekender 2018

Shiiine On is the festival of a generation – such is the narcissism of youth that we all believe our movement to be ‘the best’, but given the popularity of 90s based music festivals such as Gigantic and Indie Daze, the reformation of so many much loved indie stalwart bands and the resurgence of the era’s fashions (not that I ever moved on much in that respect); those of us who came of age in the late 80s and early 90s could well be right in assuming that our time, really was the best time.

Shiiine on, a name which of course references the House of Love (who played this festival in 2016), taps successfully into that sense of passionate nostalgia we all feel; it unites us for a weekend every year (and more, if you include recent additions of the Hull-Amsterdam cruise and this year’s one day event in Birmingham). It gives us a chance to escape the daily grind, to feel at home among our people and to indulge in a bit of fairly (depending on the strength of your liver) harmless hedonism and indulgent reminiscence. The venues are a great size, offering a perfect selection of spaces to watch and dance to your favourite bands and now in its fourth year, Shiiine is still going strong.


It is 5:45 PM with people still arriving and the beer not yet fully flowing, when orchestral pop group My Life Story take to the stage – a slimmed-down version of the band, with five members rather than Jake Shillingford’s grand thirteen piece collective of old. This is a great choice for the Skyline Stage, although I do feel they could easily warrant a later slot further into the weekend. As ever, Jake is energetically flamboyant, snappy in checked suit and white boots, with high leg kicks and ostentatious mic stand acrobatics; rattling through the hits from 1993’s debut single “Girl A, Girl B, Boy C” through “King of Kissingdom”, “Sparkle” and the wonderfully acerbic “If You Can’t Live Without Me Then Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” and culminating in live show favourite “12 Reasons Why I Love Her”, playing cards flung high into the crowd, our enthusiasm ignited for the weekend to come.

Next up, Sleeper (I shy away from the Britpop tag) – back on tour and in the studio after a nineteen year hiatus and with promise of a new album. Prolific in the mid-90s with eight top 40 singles, this witty band’s return feels apposite in a time of industry dominated generic female singers, for despite the famous t-shirt’s quip, this is not simply ‘another female fronted band’. Louise Wener, once so loved by teenage and 20-something men clearly (given some of the comments around me in the predominantly male audience) still lights a spark. Unencumbered by industry pressure, Wener appears less stylized these days, relaxed and feisty, full of smiles and moves, the band tight and enthusiastic. The spark lit by My Life Story has exploded and the Skyline arena is alive as we sing back at Wener our generation’s theme tunes: “Vegas’” “Inbetweener”, “What do I do now?” and “Sale of the Century’”

Tonight’s headline are Shiiine returners Shed Seven, amazingly twenty four years down the line but – with a new album out in 2017 – still very much on the scene. They always attract a large crowd here, with Rick Wittter’s sinewy snake-hipped dancing and a back catalogue of anthemic crowd pleasers. They may not be this reviewer’s first choice but they’re a great live band and perfect for tonight’s crowd.

This weekend however, is all about pacing and plenty of music takes place after the Skyline’s 10 PM curfew if you venture out to the other venues: Centre Stage, Jaks, Reds and Inn on the Green. Tonight Reds see Shiiine’s first outing for 1990s festival favourites anarcho-punk Back to the Planet, more Ska than I remember and great fun for those of us who like a bit of grunge with our dance. A quick peek at Mozza’s favourites, Bradford and it is off to bed, in preparation for day two.


It’s easy to forget that the Shiiine experience isn’t solely about live music and that daylight hours bring plenty of things to do other than sleeping off hangovers: there are the exhibitions (this year a fascinating selection of black and white prints by engaging NME photographer Pete Walsh) and a retrospective featuring grainy gig shots of iconic Baggy dance band Flowered Up, along with press cuttings and original posters. Then there are pub quizzes and an interview with Steve Harrison, manager of The Charlatans and founder of Dead Dead Good Records; not to mention the Pool Parties and Crazy Golf.

Whilst previous years have relegated Cud to the 1 AM slot upstairs at Centre Stage, this year they are promoted to the Skyline, playing the much more reasonable – and less inebriated – afternoon slot. As ever, their performance is one of perfect pop, “Purple Love Balloon” an explosion of fun to start off Saturday afternoon; Carl Puttnam’s jerky hip thrusts and wildly eccentric stage presence charming his crowd. Cud are a fantastic live band and their current tour of set lists chosen by their fans – Just The Good Ones – is testament to the value they place on their audience; here inviting one of their stalwart fans to join them on stage, with only the logistical issue of getting up there, precluding a full fan invasion.

I hadn’t been aware of The Rifles before the announcement of their Shiiine performance and had been slightly surprised at their inclusion on a bill advertised on the basis of being a predominantly 1990s based music festival. A large crowd had gathered and I am assured by the bunch of lads I get talking to at the front, that I wouldn’t be disappointed. They are right and I’m not. The Rifles are a good twenty five years younger as a band than the majority of performers here, having formed in 2006, but their fast-paced Indie rock style fits well with their cohorts and they’re one of those bands you suddenly realize that you do know after all.. “Local Boy”… ahh yes, that song, that’s a great track!

Next up are Black Grape: Shaun Ryder has played at every Shiiine in one form or another and this year he and Kermit are back, although sadly no Bez this time. Black Grape’s 2016 performance was slightly shambolic but tonight’s set is tight and perfect for the Saturday evening crowd. Ryder prowls the stage, Kermit ever-smiling and exuberant and the crowd sing ecstatically along to “In The Name of the Father” as well as tracks from 2017’s Pop Voodoo. Ryder and co are loved by the Shiiine audience: we grew up on Happy Mondays and the Hacienda; on the excesses and the colour; there is something incredibly heartening and joyful about seeing Ryder now, free from the demons of the 90s and his unique stage presence and remarkable back catalogue unite us once more.  We are the generation who only need to hear the opening notes to “Wrote for Luck” and “Step On” and we are doing crazy dancing, transported back to student discos and smoky clubs.

There are always plenty of bands to choose from at Shiiine and whilst this reviewer didn’t catch Skyline headliners Ocean Colour Scene, reports are of course, excellent.  Reds sees dancing into the small hours with the a Post-Punk line-up of Brix and the Extricated, The Godfathers and Chameleons Vox, culminating of course with Steve Lamacq’s annual indie disco. The beer is flowing, the floors are sticky.


Rise and shine campers! Finding the 11 AM pub quiz has been put back half an hour and all tables are full with eager competitors, we head over to Inn on the Green to see Uke2 play their usual late morning slot. They have become a bit of a Shiiine institution and after all, what’s not to love about three men playing versions of indie hits on ukuleles. The crowd sing along to Stone Roses and Oasis classics; yet again we are united by a love of great music and happy memories.

Lunchtime brings an early slot for Mark Morriss at Centre Stage, a solo slot this year after 2016’s Bluetones performance. Morriss is tired and hungover, asking the audience for Vitamin C tablets, dressed like a geography teacher and utterly charming. His deadpan, self-deprecating quips delight his crowd – a large gathering for the time of day, a fact which clearly astounds and pleases him – and the mixture of Bluetones classics and Morriss’ solo material provides the perfect antidote to a late night, easing us gently in to Sunday afternoon. Morriss’ set is one of the highlights of my weekend, his words and music both tender and invigorating and it would take a hard heart indeed not to laugh with a man who mocks his own moustache and references Absolute 90s whilst sending up his own band’s hits.

Heading over to Skyline, Deja Vega are playing their first set of the day. This band (another I had missed on previous years and was keen to discover) are a revelation, raw and loud, psychedelic and fiery, this three-piece make an incredible sound. I spot Miles Hunt watching from the back and he later name checks them during his set, noting that he needs to finish so that he can catch their second performance of the day – this is an exciting new act and I too am keen to hear more.

Next stop brings us a trip down rap-rock memory lane with Senser, a band redolent of festivals and squat parties, fueled by politically charged lyrics and heavy dance beats; “Age of Panic” and “Eject” going straight for the jugular with their still powerful lyrics: ‘propaganda written out on the pages daily, I see the system as it crumbles before me, I see the system as it dies’.

A quick return to the chalet (this weekend is brought to you fuelled by a lot of strong tea) and it’s out to catch Stereo MCs, a band highly anticipated by this reviewer after I re-fell in love with their high energy electro dance pop during their 2015 Shiiine appearance. Rob Birch is as lithe as ever in trademark baggy jeans and baseball cap and marvellous singer/dancers Cath Coffey and Aina Roxx bring the band bang up-to-date with their incredible style and irrepressible energy. This is a band you can’t help but dance to, the pace doesn’t let up and the hits flow – it could be easy to underestimate the impact this band has had, with their blend of hip-hop dance and electronica and my only regret is that they aren’t given a longer set.

However, the energy created by Birch is about to be harvested by Shiiine stalwarts Peter Hook and the Light, back for their third appearance and for whom an impressive crowd has gathered. Hooky seems to be on a constant tour and arrives in Butlins after a European jaunt culminating in Poland; but his band’s energy never seems to wane. We are treated to a crowd-pleasing selection of both Joy Division and New Order tracks with the former’s “Transmission”, “She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay” sounding as visceral and raw today as on those original recordings, now unbelievably almost forty years old. For this tour, Hooky’s son Jack Bates has been replaced by Yves Altana from Oscar’s Drum (Altana’s recent collaboration with Kitchens of Distinction’s Patrick Fitzgerald – a band who had originally been due to play at Shiiine – hopefully next time please). New Order fans of course get “True Faith” and “Blue Monday” as well as “Temptation” and “Ceremony’” Hooky in trademarked loose-limbed crouching pose, stalking from stage right to stage left, singing directly to his front row, the crowd bouncing high on the adrenaline created by the electrical charge of live music.

As final headliners, Orbital may have appeared to be an unusual choice for a weekend of guitar-based Indie dance and whilst the light show is undoubtedly top class, standing at the back, the vibe appears to be lacking. However, this is the kind of musical experience you need to throw yourself into and doing just that and heading down to the front, the atmosphere is electric, heavy bass beats, each track looping and morphing into the next; urging you to close your eyes, feel the music, lose yourself on this Sunday night.

And so to the weekend’s closing party, with Miles Hunt an inspired choice, this time bringing a solo acoustic set to those of us happy to stay up and sing along to a well-loved selection of Wonder Stuff classics. Hunt knows his crowd – acknowledging that this gang want to hear ‘the old ones’ and his Centre Stage crowd adoringly sing back every word, as we are taken back to the start with first Wonder Stuff singles “It’s not True” and “Unbearable” and so through thirty years of music by one of the most loved and iconic bands of the Indie scene. ‘Give give give, me more more more’ we yell back at our front man, smiles dimpling his face as he  gives us exactly what we are here for, giving us hope when he urges us to ‘have a word’ with the organizers for next year.

This festival is one which, maybe more than any other, truly unites bands and their music with their fans and is one where you just need to look around you, at the smiling faces and the happy crowds, to feel that connection. There are the lads I chat to before The Rifles, one laughing as he tells me ‘we’d never get on!’ when discovering that all the bands he loves, are ones I don’t, and so introduces me to his mate who shares my love of New Order and who has never seen Hooky play before. I am pleased when I later spot the same guy, catch Hooky’s t-shirt when hurled into the crowd and give it to his beaming, New Order loving mate. Then there is the guy who comes up to express jovial envy at my The The t-shirt on Friday night and the girls who tell me they are tired just watching me dance, at some point on Sunday evening, offering me their Fit Bit for a laugh. And there are all the smiling faces I notice when I glance around during a set, to see a crowd of like-minded individuals all singing the same line, to the same song, with the same joy.

This is the wondrous feeling of unity you get, the goose bumps emerging, when hundreds of people sing along with their musical hero as he utters those unforgettable words, the  anthem of a generation: ‘you know that I’ve been drunk a thousand times, but these should be the best days of my life’.

‘Life, it’s not what I thought it was’, but every year, for a weekend in November, it feels pretty much perfect.

Words by Sally Hamilton.  Videos by our friend and Shiiine family member, The Cobbie


Peter Hook and the Light Live at the Danforth Music Hall. Love and Will.

There is no other song in the world quite like “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. It is unquantifiable, except to say, you had to be there (on a night in a small room, decades ago, in another realm) or there (spinning records three thousand miles from something called Manchester, just a little too late) or even there, at a Peter Hook and the Light show, last week.

If you are over 40 and a certain kind of music obsessive, for whom music is intertwined with your rapid eye movements and synced to your heartbeat, you’ve listened to this song, and many others by JD & NO untold times in every possible scenario of your life. It’s special in a way that defies attempts at reduction, TV show faux-nostalgia mimicry, or commodification. It is a monument, indestructible,  the remaining, shining, towering anthem of the end of our beautiful century;  of rock and roll;  of underground; of punk, and the end of youth of the last generation that still held any semblance of innocence into adulthood; before the square, interrogation-room bright leash of mobile devices. When we watched and heard everything in the moment, lived without a record or a public statement, of a time so beautiful not one picture of evidentiary value exists, except in our hearts.

At the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, seeing Peter Hook and the Light play live for the fifth time since he mounted his ambitious solo departure from New Order, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” shines, swells, and rockets around the theatre like a firecracker. It spills over friends and strangers alike like an upturned cup of overpriced lager. It shakes, rattles and rolls inside the devout like we were told to expect from religion but the calling totally missed us – it never felt like this. It threatens to bruise like the grip of a girl on her devoted man’s upper arm, the bicep, the hard won grip of a thousand youthful tears, close shaves and real tragedies, as we 80s kids understand and feel more than ever what Ian Curtis was singing about in that heavy heart of his, so long ago. A songwriter, so young to be in so much pain, maybe never dreaming it would change the entire world, or fearing it would. Peter Hook, single-handedly, and despite what anyone else thought about his decision, has erected this monument personally as a labour of love, one he’s been fine-tuning for over five years. The show is a stunning two-for one, no opener, no time. We get, these days, a full New Order Substance, cut for cut, followed by an entire Joy Division show. This time, the crowd are first timers, more cohesive, the girls not just here to “up-down-turn-around” anymore. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is always the closer. A final stunner. It cracks open the despair of love. It is an artifact of the brilliant, shining, matter-of-fact Mancunian truth-telling knack. It lets us into the bedroom of a heartbreak that would never heal, that would instead, yawn into a chasm and just stay there forever. It’s an appeal, and a self-defensive motion at once; the passive-aggressive roller coaster of young lovers embroiled in pains they haven’t lived enough, yet, to master. Some never do. Things harder than romantic love. Illness. These tragedies abound us. These young people haunt us all. Maybe if I say it, I will break the curse. Maybe I’m wrong to be cynical. Maybe if I sing it. Maybe. Without doubt, the force of this song, and others, would have conquered America in 1980.

It is all this and more, and yet it’s entirely transformative. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” transforms itself, played live by its only creator who is now able to do so, so well, into the opposite of its bald fears and hopeless despair. It rallies, it asserts, by its towering originality, its impossible, unpredictable and unusual nature, its powerful truth, and the contradictory truth that emerged out of its creation and longevity: (This) Love / music will keep us together. Forever is real. We know all too well that the bedroom gets very cold. We know too much about love’s destruction. And yet here we are, enveloped in an unlikely anthem that was the only anthem possible out of our brilliant, misunderstood time (which is still our time, our music still ahead of its “industry”.)

What “Love Will Tear Us Apart” says and what it does is a beautiful contradiction that sums up all of us spilling out of that time we now call post-punk. We are standing here experiencing it all, – for not the first time – and not even the first time of this version of Peter Hook’s / New Order’s / Joy Division’s music, but there is still discovery. How could something so full of relatable despair from faraway and long ago written by a lost poet create something so transcendently powerful? Here, in 2018? Worldwide? Uplifting and healing and something that keeps our very hearts afloat? Our feet on the right side of ledges? It’s a beautiful mystery. It takes a lot to surprise me, to raise my brow. But I wait for it. I’ve been watching & listening forever.

It’s a mystery Peter Hook understands and carries with him as casually as a low-slung bass. He wears it gracefully, he sloughs off the shallow social media comments that once followed the New Order split, and as ever, rises above the nays, and the fray, he always has. He’s written essential books about his time, and now lets his work speak for itself, for he is one of the most interesting cats to ever walk on a stage, yet elusive, so that when he appeared right beside me once, on the fan side of the barrier at the best new festival in the U.K., Shiiine On Weekender, to watch a bit of someone else’s gig, looking right at me, I failed to process it and must have looked a right arse, forgetting my good manners to even nod in recognition before he went backstage again. To me, he had always been eight feet tall, on a video screen, in my shock, my imagination was stuck in a video loop of long ago.

As reporters of the burgeoning renaissance of OUR music (the best of the best of the best artists who still remain) this magazine has happily attended a number of life-changing events that cross-cut time and make decades disappear like sinking ships* in the last three years. But this one is different. We directionless teenagers learned something from Peter Hook, faraway, long ago, impossibly grand on our floor model TV sets in suburbia. Then, it was a detached cool, a uniqueness, a devil-may-care anti-fashion that was better than any bespoke suit. We have so much to learn even now. People who don’t know the difference might miss that what occurs on stage with actual legends is quieter, with no pyro, with no razzle dazzle needed but the sound. Peter Hook, looking twenty years fitter than most of the room, leads by example not just musicianship & hard graft but about shaking shit off, overcoming, adjusting, mourning, celebrating, preserving, and the most careful budgeting of (other people’s) nostalgia that is also transformed by the artist so that it isn’t nostalgia at all, but relevant and real and alive.  Seeing “Factory Records” on a page at a current day box office creates strange, powerful feelings in me that only the most romantic souls would understand. Many of them stand in the room with me. One of them towers just a little above us, way too close to believe, fully reining in what could easily fill the Pyramid Stage right now, and aren’t we lucky? We who stood at the back of some concrete piles on top of plastic folding chairs at the bizarre setting of a roller coaster park in what used to be a nowhere north of this city to see shapes that were said to be New Order, once? Where bands used to play, where cameras had to be dashed into shrubbery to be forgotten later, where beer was elusive and so we poured whatever money we had on Republic t-shirts.

The weird, scary, wooden roller coaster, rising out of nothing, taunted us and landmarked road trips north, once. It’s now all expensive suburbia of a Toronto that is endless, that has mostly turned away from music, from self, from the fire in our young bellies. That roller coaster, that park, when it came, finally made us feel a little more American, which we thought meant cool, fun and daring. But it became something better: a place for 80s kids to see British bands we loved with all our hearts, planning our summers around their visits, like our parents would for relatives, all of us saving up middling minimum wage money. We never understood why they came down from our TV screens, which hardly ever played the best music except for late at night, once a week, and came to our Wonderland and didn’t just pass us by. Toronto had the biggest inferiority complex, then, and so did all of us born into it. Between artists and us was a sea, literal and figurative. We got music late then, by boat. We had to seek it out, on whiteboards written by someone who closely read the bible, NME, in one specific store downtown. I had one particular friend that would call the store, who would go and haunt that board, who kept us all organized, and so made sure we caught one of the only five copies of Select Magazine, which, although they never gave us the free tapes promised on the cover, we would happily shred to death; reading, sharing, discussing, in suburban basements.

The trajectory, worthiness, or current status of the music of Peter Hook-Joy Division-New Order is not something I debate with anyone. It’s like Jesus, or Shakespeare, or chocolate. Either you know, or share in this love, or you don’t. It’s beyond moot to me. In the bad divorces of beloved bands, the heartbreak and unlikelihood of long careers and the many short lives that pile up around all of us still here, in the fractured current non-culture that is screaming in pain everyday calmed only by gifs of doggies and kittens as our inner toddlers come to the fore, the fact of Peter Hook and the Light building this new show, this band, and working tirelessly around the world since 2012 could only be good prima facie, you know, if it was even okay. But it’s not okay. It’s epic. We’ve watched it grow here, and even in the U.K., traveling far and wide ourselves for music love at last, in little ‘ol Toronto and the unreal digital space that we never knew was important to the world of music at all, frail & precious things and places we must fight to defend with only our fists. What Peter Hook and the Light’s efforts have been are something monumental like the nostalgists would have you believe can only happen at a time you must have surely missed. In black and white, in another place. Wrong. Forget ’em. Listen to me.

We journalist / fans have been lucky and also smart to be there for the new and brightest era of Peter Hook, the man who now bends and folds time, who once reinvented the bass and made it a lead instrument / almost vocal like no one else has ever done and only ever plagiarizes. Hooky’s deep notes and basslines carried forth into New Order a mystical thread of Ians’s own singular voice, a subtle dirge for the lost young artist and man. New Order, after Ian’s death, went 180 degrees from Joy Division, of course they did, they had to, pivoting into synth and dance music, pioneering that also, by digging deep into scenes on two continents to keep moving, stay alive, and save their worthy dream. Ian Curtis is still a touchy subject, and now, so is New Order. But none of that is up for debate, anymore, in my circle. This music needs to be played and be heard; it is important and special and much needed today. Because, among the other reasons we all know, something in the new millennium is about willful forgetting. A tendency toward consumption, hoarding; an ultimately unromantic world of “storage” and “content” and compression and minimization. People who miss it need to see this music played live by Hooky, where it can be appreciated, and where, now, their own music-oriented kids can learn from the experience. In Toronto, A bass player friend who’s in five different local bands appears in the crowd from somewhere, he knows our usual spot; front, left. He’s here to see us, to “Woo!” Canadian-style, (we’ve slowly grown bolder over time) and he’s here for a closer look at the bass playing; the ratio matters not to us. We make room, our laughter childlike, unrecognizable, unrestrained. We’re all part of this transmission. From darkness to light.

Jacqueline Howell

Photos: Dave MacIntyre

*The Killers, Dustland Fairytale.

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.”

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