REVIEW: Peter Hook gives fans a “Fine Time” at the Fillmore

Peter Hook and the Light

Peter Hook and the Light perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2019. Photos: Martin Lacey.

SAN FRANCISCO — Since 2010, Peter Hook has been bringing New Order and Joy Division albums back to life by playing them in their entirety on tour with his band Peter Hook & the Light. Friday, he returned to the Bay Area with 1989’s Technique and 1993’s Republic in tow. The band played for a solid two and a half hours but wasted no time, starting with that album’s opener, “Fine Time.”

Once Hook struck the first chords on his bass, keyboardist Martin Rebelski, of Doves, joined in, and the song took off with a synth-pop hook and impossibly catchy dance beat. Hook then harmonized with David Potts, letting the guitarist sing the lead refrain—”You’re much too young”—while Hook himself came in with the album’s signature line: “I love you babe/ You’ve got love technique.”

Following the album’s track list, the band went into the ever-catchy “All the Way.” Hook sang with staccato tone, punctuating every lyric. There was emotion behind every word. The keys drove the song.

Peter Hook and the Light

Peter Hook and the Light perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2019. Photos: Martin Lacey.

Hook’s son Jack Bates plays some bass with The Light, but he’s currently on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins, so Yves Altana of The Chameleons filled in. His playing on “Round and Round” blended with the throbbing drumming and has never sounded better. Fans even joined in and sang along to the line, “The picture you see is no portrait of me/ It’s too real to be shown to someone I don’t know/ And it’s driving me wild/ It makes me act like a child.” As the band went into “Run,” Hook became more animated, fists raised high. This song, too, featured some beautiful harmonizing between him and Potts, while their guitar playing swirled together.

The somber “Vanishing Point” led into catchy album closer “Dream Attack.” Altana’s bass and Hook’s and Potts’ guitar melodies were close to perfection, with Hook’s vocals adding a haunting element to the mix. His signature scream throughout the song was a great addition.

After a short break, Peter Hook & the Light continued the next set with Republic. The album went by in a whirlwind. As Paul Kehoe’s drumming pulsated through “Regret,” Hook’s vocals soared over the room. The clear highlight off this album was “World,” with fans screaming out the lyrics in a call and response fashion. “Times Change” had a hypnotizing drum intro that melded beautifully into the chorus.

Hook and the band covered some Joy Division territory, too. Once the opening chords of “No Love Lost” began, it felt like something burst inside the Fillmore. The band played tighter, and as Hook yelled, “I need it!” the post-punk song exploded.

During “Leaders of Men,” the two bassists created blasts of energy. “Warsaw” was a pure punk song with fast, tight guitar riffs. As Hook’s vocals grew softer, the room fell silent.

Peter Hook and the Light

Peter Hook and the Light perform at The Fillmore in San Francisco on Nov. 8, 2019. Photos: Martin Lacey.

“Failures,” meanwhile, was full of angst with the fast, frenetic playing of bassists Altana and Hook. The two stood at the lip of the stage together. Fan energy continued to surge for the rest of the night.

“Ceremony” created a dance party as the guitars swelled and filled the room. As Rebelski kicked into the opening keys of “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the crowd quickly joined in on the fun. The band followed that up with New Order’s “True Faith” and “Temptation.” Hook, now fully loose, worked the stage, crouching down to meet the audience eye-to-eye.

Hook ended the show with Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” always a crowd favorite. The song was executed fast and gloomy. As Hook took off his shirt, sweat rolled down his torso; nothing left to give.

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