18th July | Harbourside
Formed from the ashes of Joy Division after the death of singer Ian Curtis in 1980, New Order have gone from miserabilist brilliance to dance and pop, always maintaining their signature sound. This amphitheatre appearance will be interesting, as in recent years they’ve parted ways – sadly with much hostility – with bassist Peter Hook. Hooky’s unmistakeable bass had been a part of New Order’s music for ever, and Joy Division’s before that obviously, but credit due to Tom Chapman who has filled in his rather daunting boots well.
The other addition to the band is guitarist Phil Cunningham, adding to the ever-present Joy Division old-boys Bernard Sumner and drummer Stephen Morris and Stephen’s wife Gillian Gilbert on keyboards. New Order were there at the dawn of house music, their sound adapting to a more upbeat sensibility after visiting New York in 1981. 1983’s subsequent album, Power Corruption & Lies showed this change of direction vividly: a more synthesised style, still undeniably their sound but with that techno edge mixed in with their guitar and bass, and showing the influences of acts like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder.
They continued this through their later albums, and of course their biggest, almost anthemic, single, ‘Blue Monday’ – which came out of an instrumental piece they’d written to mark the opening of The Haçienda, Factory Records’ Manchester superclub, which New Order largely funded. A host of albums since, mirroring acid house and more within their blissful New Order emotions, grabbing a nation with their 1990 official England World Cup track, ‘World In Motion’, splitting up and reforming twice, and New Order are still with us. Their albums still hold our attention – 2015’s Music Complete was their tenth and last one, with a new live one due out this month – and in the raw they’re always worth catching, for their legacy, history, and that unique sound,
Party like it’s 1983 with the video for ‘Blue Monday’: