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Peter Hook DJ Set Reviewed

| March 29, 2006 | 0 Comments

Peter Hook
Smart Bar, Chicago
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

For all the time he logged with Joy Division and New Order, Peter Hook is certainly connected to the club scene. Not only have both of the bassist’s bands been spun to death over the decades from the DJ booth, but they’ve also become unforgettable examples of how dance music can go beyond merely pulsating sounds and repetitious thumps into pure infectious brilliance. In fact, those stylistic flourishes have trickled down to this very day on record, as traced throughout last year’s New Order studio album, *Waiting For the Sirens’ Call*, and its double-disc Singles retrospective.

But unlike a tour in support of that former album (which saw the group visit the Aragon Ballroom on a very exclusive run through America) Hook wasn’t in town for a bona-fide concert, but rather a DJ set at Smart Bar. The trip through the Metro’s newly remodeled neighboring brother wasn’t his first time by any means and as a result he has built quite a following behind the turntables. Yet even if he hadn’t been through before, the ’80s icon would’ve probably generated a large crowd considering the celebrity factor, a trend also picked up in recent years by Andy Rourke from The Smiths, Andy Bell from Erasure, and Boy George (that is when he isn’t hanging out with the police).

Although he might not have a slew of DJ CDs to his credit like the ever-so-flamboyant Boy George, Hook had an obvious vision for the playlist from the moment he popped out right around midnight. The bulk of that two-hour appearance bounced between ’80s obscurities, electro pop, and robot rock, with the occasional request thrown in for more readily recognizable material. Hook ran the gamut of a sliced-and-diced dance remake of Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” to a ground-up version of Blur’s “Song 2” in all its Brit pop glory, along with several bubbly snippets from his spacious CD binder and a nearby laptop. Between flipping feverishly for just the right find, he took some breaks for cigarette puffs, plus the granting of autograph requests from seekers thrusting records and Sharpies over the booth. Of course no evening in this format could’ve been complete without a shout out to New Order, which was fulfilled thanks to the obligatory “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Granted, it came across a bit hokey watching Hook spin the song when he played on the original track, but this industrialized version with an underlying house flair earned the most rapturous response by far.

As enjoyable as the experience was for Hook’s followers, it’s not likely that he’ll be returning in this vein in the immediate future. Rumor has it New Order recorded so many selections for Sirens’ Call it will be hitting the studio once again and possibly have something on the shelves before the end of 2006.

— Andy Argyrakis

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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