PETER HOOK & The Light (30/03/2014 @ Mao Livehouse, Shanghai)

Event: Peter Hook & The Light
Date: 30/03/2014
Location: Mao Livehouse, Shanghai, China
 

It has been a really long winter here in Shanghai, since there hasn't been much going on after the exciting Changjiang Midi Festival in early October. Fortunately, apart from being the season of love, spring in Shanghai also means having a few notable international and local bands coming around to perform live.


After Dark Tranquillity in mid-March (while I was in Italy), the next big name on the list was the former Joy Division and New Order bass player (and much else) Peter Hook, touring with his "new" band The Light. Their 2014 world tour is basically a celebration of the 38th anniversary of Joy Division's foundation, after striking Beijing on March 29, it was the financial capital's turn on the following day.

Mao Livehouse is probably the most famous venue in Shanghai for rock and metal acts, and it was packed with both Chinese and foreign fans. This is not surprising, since Joy Division is actually one of the most popular "obscure" rock bands in China, and it is relatively common to see people wearing their T-shirts at live shows.

As it is often the case around here, there was no guest band to warm up the evening, and the main event had the crowd wait for them for quite a while. A jump back to the late '70s-early '80s when Hook and his band set foot on stage and ignited the livehouse with "Atmosphere". Bass lines dictating the rhythm (two bass guitars in the line-up) and the good ol' Peter firmly at the center of everything, with a theatrical style quite reminiscent of his former bandmate Ian Curtis.

The audience got totally crazy and several local fans started some sort of mosh pit during the faster paced tunes (such as "Isolation" or "She Lost Control"), involving part of the foreign audience in the second half of the show. The set-list included basically everything a Joy Division fan could ask for, and I honestly wasn't expecting all this energy coming out of a 58 year old musician like Peter Hook (apologies due); during the last bit (obviously concluded with the hit "Love Will Tear Us Apart") the whole place turned into a dancehall with people jumping, dancing and singing along.


After about two hours of excellent music, we left the place knowing that Shanghai's music life finally came back for real. If the next few months turn out to be as intense as this time last year, you will probably read about more events from around here on these pages.

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