“The hangman looks round as he waits, the cord stretches tight, then it breaks…” Peter Hook & The Light opened their sold out concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Saturday night with the dark and prescient “In A Lonely Place”. Kind of an appropriate song to begin with for a few reasons… of course, it is from New Order’s Substance, which they played in it’s entirety, in it’s original track order (with three bonus songs on the front and one at the end). But it was also a song that the original members of New Order wrote as Joy Division with front man Ian Curtis from that original band. So it really doesn’t sound anything like a New Order song at all; it is distinctly Joy Division (dark, analog, and sans any pop sensibility). Having covered Peter Hook & The Light’s previous “album” tours in the past few years, I expected them to come out and do the Joy Division set first and the New Order set second, but they flipped the script. But that first song, is at once a Joy Division song and a New Order song… at the time a bridge from the past to the future. They led out with New Order’s Substance and closed the night performing the Joy Division compilation album of the same name. So how was it? Well, I saw the full original band perform in live in concert almost a quarter of a century ago. In recent years, I’ve seen Peter Hook as Peter Hook & The Light several times. I’ve also seen the rest of New Order (sans Peter Hook) touring separately several times as well. I have to say that, hands down, this show was the best “New Order” performance I’ve ever experienced. In my opinion, New Order’s Substance – their most seminal work – this is the best it’s ever been done live on stage. It truly exceeded my own hopeful and lofty expectations. At the center of it all is the fact that Peter Hook somehow continues to keep the “flame” of both Joy Division and New Order ignited and authentic to what it was and always will be to those who find power and meaning in the works of both bands. Brilliant show. [Read more…]
Peter Hook & The Light bring a second leg of “Substance – The Albums Of Joy Division & New Order” back to the U.S., kicking things off in Detroit tomorrow tonight, with shows running through the end of November. Hooky and the band will be performing both the Joy Division and New Order albums Substance live, in their original track sequence and in their entirety. [Read more…]
Alternative singer-songwriter Meg Myers has some live dates coming up, taking her around the United States from now through October, including appearances at some of the best festivals including Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas and Austin City Limits. Her last big release was the fantastic Make A Shadow EP, which has gained significant critical acclaim as she continues to build a fan base for unique style of music. Her latest single, “Sorry”, was released just a few months ago. I’ve been a huge fan of her work since seeing her supporting some Pixies live shows in Los Angeles a few years ago, as well as her show with Broods last year. [Read more…]
“San Francisco. It’s been a while.” Ronny Moorings, to what appeared to be a sold out crowd at DNA Lounge on Thursday night, with Clan of Xymox’s first show in Northern California in over a decade. Ronny founded Xymox/Clan of Xymox in the Netherlands in 1981, and remains the sole original member, singing all of the vocals as well as playing guitar. A pioneer of Darkwave music, the mix of Synth Wave, Post-Punk, and Gothic Rock had it’s golden age in the 80s among contemporaries like Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, and Depeche Mode. A rare visit not only the San Francisco, but the U.S. in general, this was one of just a few shows in California this week. With a playlist featuring classic and new Xymox songs, it was an incredible showcase of a unique style of music that Ronny has kept alive and relevant for over three decades now.
“If I was rich, I’d live here…” The modest Georgia Nott, chatting in-between songs about the beautiful houses she’d seen in San Francisco earlier in the day, at their sold out show at The Regency Ballroom Saturday night. It was a big step up in size from the shows I’d attended last year. Accompanied as always with her brother Caleb and touring drummer Joel Farland, it was indeed a much bigger stage this time around, which they filled with ease with their authentic set of fantastic pop music fueled by incredible melodies and heartfelt, thoughtful lyrics (and of course those soaring vocals!). Dubbed “The Evergreen Tour”, they are supporting their solid debut album released last year (which I ranked in my own Top Ten Albums of 2014). The kiwi duo are so young that I’m really excited to continue to follow them to see where their gifts take them next. I expect checking in on them in 2016, we will see them take on even larger stages and venues. One of the best new artists of this era, and they put on a fantastic live show – my highest recommendation.
Dutch electronic “darkwave” band Clan of Xymox will be coming to the United States to play just three concerts this month, one at DNA Lounge in San Francisco and two back-to-back shows at The Complex in Los Angeles (Ronny Moorings will also be doing a DJ set in San Francisco at The Cat Club. In 2014, they released a new studio album, Matters Of Mind, Body And Soul. [Read more…]
Australian brother-sister duo Broods will be returning to North America for a new set of tour dates starting next week. Supporting their amazing debut album, Evergreen, Georgia and Caleb Nott will include support from Mikky Ekko for half of the tour and Erik Hassle (who has an interview featured here on the Rock Subculture Journal) for the other half. I ranked Broods’ Evergreen as one of my Top 10 albums of the year, their self-titled EP as my favorite EP of the year, one of last year’s shows one of my Top 10 concerts of the year, and their single, “Bridges”, as my #1 Song of 2015. [Read more…]
Australian alternative band The Church kicked off their Further/Deeper tour in Vancouver over the weekend, with a North American tour taking them to 19 dates ending up in Austin for SXSW toward the end of March. Further/Deeper is their 21st album released in the past 35 years. [Read more…]
Alternative rock and folk singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega will be touring the United States over the next three months, and then play a number of shows in the United Kingdom and Norway over the Summer; it is expected additional dates will be added. Her latest album, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles, was released last year. [Read more…]
“Tonight, we are here for you… and you for us. Are you ready? Let’s go.” Graham Russell, taking a pause on the front end of the sold out show at Thunder Valley Resort Casino on Friday night, looking back on 2014 and then at the very moment and forward. He and his songwriting partner Russell Hitchcock, strike me as very thoughtful and contemplative. I’d just caught one of their shows in South Lake Tahoe in September, and couldn’t pass up the chance to see them do their thing (and a special thing it is) again, since they were playing even closer to home for me. The duo that comprise Air Supply this year are celebrating 40 years together of making amazing music together and taking it out on the road to play before crowds of all ages (Graham also exclaimed, “there will be a 50, too!”). Which is no surprise, as their music is ageless. And, like that last show I saw, close out their encore with the extremely contemporary “Desert Sea Sky”, which seems to catch many by surprise (in a good way). But I’ve found from going on these live journeys with them twice now, that they are full of surprises, and know how to put on a live show that can go from fast to slow, rocking to ballad, in the blink of an eye. And they seem to love it as much as their fans.