Thursday 2001-10-11 12:00:00 AM
  London, United Kingdom
  Brixton Academy
  4,500, Capacity: 4,500
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Thursday 2001-10-11 12:00:00 AM, London, United Kingdom

560 Miles An Hour 
6Your Silent Face 
8Close Range 
9Touched by the Hand of God 
10Bizarre Love Triangle 
11True Faith 
13Love Will Tear Us Apart 
14Ruined In A DayEncore
15Blue MondayEncore

From NewOrderOnline.com (Mr Discography)

One of many bands I grew up with, New Order dominated the synthpop era of the 1980s (a musical movement which, on the whole, is best left forgotten) with their unique style of combining tightly sequenced drum and keyboard patterns with rougher rock guitars and lyrical themes. It's fairly rare for bands that soundtrack your adolescence to still be going when you're in you late twenties and slowly turning grey, but after releasing only one studio album during the nineties, this legendary and influential band from Manchester have returned this year with one of their strongest albums.

'Get Ready' recalls the band's earlier incarnation Joy Division in some respects: guitars are more prominent, songs sound rougher, and synths are kept to a minimum during many songs. Essentially, the trademark New Order sound remains though, with Peter Hook's bass lines (still trying to convince themselves that they're main melody lines) standing tall throughout. As usual, lead singer Bernard Sumner's vocals appear to mean very little - almost like a blank canvass upon which you can superimpose your own personalized meanings.

Now into their third decade as New Order, the band have fallen into what I call "Rolling Stone Syndrome" in a live context: people go to see them expecting to hear all the classic singles from the last twenty years. All well and good, and I'm happy to hear them once again, but with such a strong new album released, it's a shame that they only play three songs from 'Get Ready'. Of these three, an excellent 'Crystal' and new single '60 Miles An Hour' are fabulous and full-on, with 'Close Range' sounding poorly mixed and unrehearsed. All the expected hits are played: 'Temptation', 'Blue Monday', 'Touched By The Hand Of God' and so on. Keyboard player and spouse of drummer Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert is absent on this year's tour, due to looking after for an ill child. Drafted in is former Marion member Phil Cunningham, who busies himself flitting between keyboard and guitar duties admirably.

This should have been my gig of the year, but either the acoustics of the Brixton Academy or some poor mixing on the sound engineer's part meant that almost every song featuring drum machines or synthesizer bass lines sounded muddy and dominated by low frequencies. Take 'True Faith', for example. A New Order classic from 1987, performed tonight in the style of Paul Oakenfold’s 1994 "Perfecto" mix. This version is usually an exciting and modern sounding interpretation of the track. Tonight, however, the drums are loud and bass-heavy in the mix, rendering vocals and keyboard lines virtually inaudible. A shame, but the result is that purely guitar based tunes like 'Ceremony', 'Crystal' , '60 Miles An Hour', and the three Joy Division songs played ('Transmission', 'Atmosphere' and 'Love Will Tear Us Apart') stand out.

Earlier in the evening, a nice touch was to see a guest DJ slot from legendary producer Arthur Baker. Responsible for producing and remixing some early New Order singles as well as hip-hop tracks from Afrika Bambaataa, Will Downing and others, he even slips in the twelve-inch version of New Order's dreamy 'Thieves Like Us' into his set of heavy four-on-the-floor dance tracks. I make a mental note to buy his 'Breakin'' various artists compilation CD when I'm next in a record shop.

This gig was the middle performance of a three-night residency for New Order at the Academy, and unfortunately didn't feature the guest appearance from Bobby Gillespie on new song 'Rock The Shack' that the previous night had. The band look fairly tired this evening (or maybe that’s a bit pissed?), but nevertheless perform competently. The set list was strong, and the fans went away happy, but it's a shame the sound quality was somewhat questionable (maybe due to the carpeted floor in the venue?). 'How does it feel'? Good, but not as much fun as when I saw them back in their youthful days at the Reading Festival in 1993! Ah, those were the days...

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Ticket for the show
2002-04-14 4:26:00 PM
by Ricardo Augusto Fernandes