Released on July 11th 1988 on Factory Records, Substance by Joy Division celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2023. It compiles a stunning range of non-album singles, EP deep-cuts, and B-side rarities. The compilation acted as a companion to New Order’s Substance LP (an iconic compilation that still sets the standard for any worthwhile ‘Best Of’ record) and offered a brand new gateway into the ever-mythologised post-punk four-piece for a new generation of fans.
The group’s bassist Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook – Manchester legend, songwriter, DJ, nightclub owner, and best-selling author – has decided to celebrate 35 years of Substance with a brand new string of UK/EU shows with his band The Light. Audiences across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Poland are in for an intimate evening of chiming bass melodies, post-punk grit, and disco-diva electronica.
Peter Hook & The Light’s upcoming tour will see Hooky and co playing both of the Joy Division and New Order Substance albums in full, a bonafide treat for any fans of the groups.
Joy Division’s Substance includes classic singles such as ‘Transmission’, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, and ‘Atmosphere’, alongside the band’s feistier, Sex Pistols-inspired early material such as ‘Warsaw’ or ‘No Love Lost’. It’s an eclectic, resounding, and in-depth celebration of a truly pioneering band’s tragically-short legacy – one that The Light continues to share with the world through their accessible, energetic, and life-affirming live shows.
The late vocalist Ian Curtis, who took his own life aged 23 on the eve of Joy Division’s first US tour, made his mark on contemporary music through his uniquely baritone, austere vocal style, transcendent stage theatrics and lyrical explorations of urban – and psychological – decay. Hooky’s growly vocals – a lot more suited to the shadowy landscapes of Joy Division than New Order vocalist/guitarist Bernard Sumner – do justice to the memory of post-punk’s poster child. If anyone ought to sing Curtis’ songs, it’s Hooky.
The setlist will also feature New Order’s 1987 Substance compilation, a best-selling record that charted the band’s journey from gloomy, industrial anguish to sparkly, drug-fuelled dance rock. From ‘Ceremony’ to ‘Everything’s Gone Green’, from ‘Blue Monday’ to ‘The Perfect Kiss’, it’s a surging celebration of change and a testament to a band who overcame personal loss to define a generation. Alongside long-term collaborator and Monaco bandmate David ‘Pottsy’ Potts, Hooky’s performance combines brash guitars with silky-smooth synthesisers to fill venues with the genre-blending sound that New Order became synonymous with.
Peter Hook said in The New Order Story, 1993, “I still have a very strange image of being the swashbuckling, rip-roaring drunk or womanising moron and it’s not true – or is it?”. Now a teetotal, marathon-running, epilepsy charity-supporting, men’s mental health-advocating, happily-married man, this image perhaps isn’t quite true of Hooky these days. However, he still brings to the stage a raucous, domineering energy to his bass-playing – a style of playing that, ever since the late 70s, has refused to be caged by previously-defined musical norms.
Playing the bass like a lead instrument, and doused in a heavy dose of chorus effect, Hooky continues to make the instrument sing. His bittersweet bass sound has never been at the forefront as much as with his shows in The Light.
The nearest show to Manchester will be at Liverpool’s Olympia venue on Friday 13th October. Tickets are available here.
Featuring renditions of ‘Temptation’, ‘True Faith’ and ‘Shadowplay’, catch Peter Hook & The Light’s recent Isle of Wight Festival set in full here to get an idea of what The Light’s UK/EU Substance tour will offer. As someone whose first gig was seeing Peter Hook & The Light play the Substance LPs in full back in 2017, I personally cannot wait to sing along to era-defining bass riffs with a room full of strangers all over again.