New Order – review

Jodrell Bank Centre, Cheshire

In the 1980s, when New Order signposted pop's electronic future with Blue Monday, the idea of a gig at a centre for astrophysics would have seemed impossibly futuristic. Even in 2013, there's something very Doctor Who about a stage that is dwarfed by a gigantic radio telescope. Attendees to the Jodrell Bank observatory's annual Transmissions festival receive another treat during Johnny Marr's set, when New Order's Bernard Sumner joins him for Getting Away With It from the duo's days as Electronic.

New Order make their entrance – as they have done countless times – with the hymn-like Elegia, but shortened and minus Peter Hook's mournful basslines. Since his 2007 departure, Hook tours their moody early material with his own band, the Light, while his former bandmates mostly celebrate the poppier end of their back catalogue. Still, the setlist finds room for the rarely aired World, five Joy Division songs and a glorious Age of Consent.

"This is a new old song," deadpans Sumner, introducing I'll Stay With You from last year's Lost Sirens collection of Hook-era leftovers. Tension has given way to deadpan wit: the headrushing Ceremony is "a song we wrote as Joy Division, before our singer inconveniently died". A sideline in standup doesn't beckon, but he seems to have found new liberation in the simple joy of singing.

Hook's raw heart and soul are irreplaceable, although Tom Chapman's facsimiles of the famous basslines only go seriously awry during Your Silent Face. Elsewhere, modern technology has given new oomph to early classics of electronic pop such as Temptation, Blue Monday and a thrillingly reworked 586. As dazzling images are projected on to the 76-metre dish of Jodrell Bank's Lovell telescope, it feels like the headiest combination of future and past, sci-fi and quaint. "Thank you to Jodrell Bank," yells Sumner. "It's a stately institution – just like us."

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
New Order: 10 of the best
From the tragedy of Ian Curtis’s suicide emerged one of the defining groups of the 80s, combining pop smarts with experimental leanings. Here are 10 crackers

Dave Simpson

06, Aug, 2014 @10:50 AM

Article image
New Order reunite without Peter Hook
Band will play two benefit gigs for film-maker Michael Shamberg

Sean Michaels

06, Sep, 2011 @10:18 AM

Article image
New Order to headline Bestival 2012
Manchester band's first festival date in seven years sees them join a lineup that includes the xx, Justice and Azealia Banks

Sean Michaels

14, Feb, 2012 @10:44 AM

Article image
New Order review – pure serotonin for an existential ache
Dedicating Love Will Tear Us Apart to the victims of the Paris attacks, Sumner and co shimmer through an untouchable back catalogue of electro alchemy

Ian Gittins

17, Nov, 2015 @12:33 PM

Article image
Peter Hook sues New Order, claiming they 'pillaged' the group's name
Former bassist claims he has lost more than £2m after the remaining three members licensed the group’s name to a new company

Staff and agencies

30, Nov, 2015 @5:48 PM

Article image
New Order – review
In a week of Manchester reformations, a rejuvenated New Order delight their fans with a rare greatest hits set, writes Luke Bainbridge

Luke Bainbridge

22, Oct, 2011 @11:04 PM

Article image
New Order: a marvellously unexpected rebirth
Bernard Sumner and Gillian Gilbert reflect on Joy Division, Peter Hook and 30 years of chaos

Dorian Lynskey

06, Sep, 2012 @4:10 PM

Article image
New Order + Liam Gillick: So It Goes review – a suitably theatrical Manchester return
There are intensely emotional scenes as New Order revisit their back catalogue on a grand scale with synth orchestra, airing songs not heard for 30 years plus rapturously received tributes to the band’s fated predecessor, Joy Division

Dave Simpson

02, Jul, 2017 @11:38 AM

Article image
New Order are miming, claims Peter Hook
Hook accuses his former band's new bass player of miming his guitar parts by using a backing tape onstage

Sean Michaels

07, Mar, 2012 @11:08 AM

Article image
New Order: ‘There’s no point in just staying together for the kids’
Manchester’s synth-pop veterans are back with a new album, a new lineup and a newfound joy in the electronic sound they made their own with 1989’s era-defining Technique

Miranda Sawyer

27, Sep, 2015 @8:30 AM