Concert Review: New Order @ The Hordern Pavilion
A myriad of post-punk heads and new wave veterans piled into Hordern Pavilion this past Wednesday to see the illustrious New Order. There was an undeniable air of gratitude among the crowd, with gigs being cancelled all over the country due to the spread of COVID-19. Everyone was happy to be there, and keen to momentarily forget about the pervasive hysteria.
The iconic Unknown Pleasures album art was sprawled across roughly one in three t-shirts, instantly visualising a demographic divide between the Joy Division and New Order eras of the band. The disparity between the poignantly post-punk sound of Joy Division and New Order’s eminent take on new wave had manifested itself in the fusion of the mosh pit. The distinctive crowds lit up in response to different fragments of the setlist, forging a noteworthy testament to the creative dynamism of this band – as well as the sentimental homage being paid to the late Ian Curtis.
As the lights dimmed, the visuals rolled. A cinematic sequence of divers ensued, pulling from the aesthetic of New Order’s 2017 live album, Nomc15. The diving sequence proved to be a form of artistry within itself, with the slow motion montage building exponentially upon the crowd’s anticipation, as the leather jackets surrounding me ached for the set to begin.
New Order kicked off their set with ‘Regret’, the opening chords launching the crowd into 1993. For a song released later in the band’s discography (and, more humorously, a song used to promote a Baywatch episode), its appreciation was indisputable, with the crowd uniting in song over the moody synth. The retrospective lyrics proved to be the source of emotional whiplash for many.
The iconic bass-line of ‘Disorder’ sparked an eruption of cheers from punk-heads scattered abundantly throughout the mosh, as the band plunged into their first Joy Division rendition of the night. As the opening track on, arguably, one of my favourite albums of all time, I was enthralled. It was unshakeably bittersweet. The crowd reciprocated the energy of the infamously raw lyrics being delivered to us.
‘Disorder’ marked an immediate shift in the visuals projected behind the band. In a clear tribute to the creative vision of Ian Curtis, the projections morphed into black and white monochrome whenever a Joy Division song was played. The ripe synaesthesia of associating sounds and monotonal aesthetics perfectly represented the stylistic shift from Joy Division to New Order, as colours were welcomed back when returning to New Order’s discography.
Everyone in my periphery lost their shit at the inception of ‘Blue Monday’. The hallowed build-up of this track is like no other. Cheers escalated as each layer of the track was stacked over the synth-pop beat. Bouncing from the ‘True Faith’ to this ’80s anthem had obliterated any lingering mellowness into a burst of new wave. Pertinently, the visuals shone blue, coating the entire venue with an aquatic glow.
New Order ended their set with ‘Temptation’. Nostalgia is hinged to this track for me, which made it an undeniable crescendo to end their set with. The bridge accumulated a screaming response from the crowd (despite its lyrical neglection of hazel eyes, but I digress…) The conclusion of this track gave way to an avalanche of cheers, spilt drinks, and hoarse voices demanding an encore.
And New Order provided.
In immortalising the music of Ian Curtis, New Order finished on Love will Tear Us Apart. There was a lifted sense in the room.