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- New Order »
A muddy, rainswept Sunday afternoon in Finsbury Park hardly bodes well for a gig of legend. Finsbury Park is like the Somme. Mud gets everywhere, and everyone is covered in it. It’s a war out there.
Thanks to the draconian licensing laws - a 10pm curfew, just like when you were young - New Order come on at 8.15pm, and it’s all over by 9.55pm. Which, for those of us who don’t like standing all day in a monsoon reliving a World War, means we miss an apparently mundane set by Echo & the Bunnymen, a stellar performance by the misplaced Super Furry Animals, and a well-received set by French ambient/experimentalists Air. All of which have been bumped forward thanks to an arcane law that hasn’t been updated in the past 85 years. Either that, or the complaints of residents who don’t mind seeing people shortchanged and need sleep more than we need music.
And onto New Order, who seem to be ploughing the comeback trail with far more credibility than most, even if only by virtue of the fact that their most recent album - the unexpected pleasure that is “Get Ready” - sounds like a band who are not yet past their prime. However, not that we get much of that here - these days, the currency of New Order is largely nostalgia. It’s hardly something the band try and dispel - only a third of their set is less than 15 years old. And you’re never more than 7 minutes in any direction from a Joy Division song.
Which, despite the inescapable fact that Joy Division were one of the most original bands the world has ever heard, is oddly like seeing say, the Dead Kennedys’ with a new singer. It’s good, but it’s just not quite right. Especially as New Order have recently broken with a 18 year tradition and play a plethora of Joy Division songs at every opportunity: “Transmission“, “Atmosphere“, “She’s Lost Control“, “Love Will Tear Us Apart“, and an appalling version of “Digital” (complete with John Simm from the celluloid version of ’Joy Division’ as seen in 24 Hour Party People_) are tossed off without much care or attention.
Parts of it still sound fantastic, that is, when New Order aren’t busy being a sloppy tribute band to their former incarnation. When they bother to play their own songs such as the levitational “Crystal”, the glorious sunkissed melancholy of “Regret”, the chaotic celebration that is “World In Motion”, or the sleek, slick, and still futuristic “True Faith”, they sound - even though these songs are many years old - exciting, innovative, and irresistable. Apart from the tired “Blue Monday”.
** New Order** were one of the first bands to try and integrate the potential of the machine with a the warmth of man. And whilst it sounds oddly Kraftwerkian, New Order prove that technology is just a tool, and emotion is the engine that drives us all. How cool is coldness? Very.
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