I attended Fac 51, an anniversary of Hacienda. They opened late as they were running late and two acts of the night had already cancelled their appearance – Danny Rampling and K-Klass. Not a promising start to the evening.The queue consisted of various ages and many familiar faces from previous New Order gigs I had been to. I am well known as ‘the girl who takes the photos’. There was no merchandise on sale. I thought this missed a trick. South London is rough and the venue, The Coronet depicted just that. After going through a security screen similar to at an airport, they then searched my tiny tiny handbag and it was pulled apart looking for chewing gum. Now I know they don’t know me and know my feelings on chewing gum but I hardly think it’s a threat to the venue! Drinks were extortionate. Two drinks (singles) for £12 but that didn’t seem to stop many of the audience from getting completely wasted.
I have to be honest and declare that acid house was never my cup of tea. I don’t mind a bit of Chicago house and can even manage a bit of trance on occasion but Acid is a step too far.The crowd seemed friendly enough but I think I have a bit of an issue with the Manchester mentality. They seem to think it is acceptable to swear, shout and push other people. I know it’s not the drugs they were on as it was still fairly early on in the evening. Or maybe I am just getting old! An example of what annoyed me is the young pretty girl who pushed into the front to see Hooky. I didn’t have an issue with that, but her very short bob kept ending up in my face every time she danced and shook her head. I questioned myself, was I jealous of her energy, looks or youth? No I was just rather pissed off that her hair kept getting in my face! Her boyfriend disappeared during the set and this seemed to be an invitation for older men (I would suggest 30 years older than her at least) to hit on her. One had his arm around her shoulders and another kept asking to drink her beer of which she allowed. If this is normal behaviour for Hacienda, I AM getting old! (She even kept smiling sweetly at me as if I should be happy her hair is in my face!). Let it be known, I do not want anyone’s hair in my face. Ever!
Anyway, Hooky was the main event and what we had come to see. I was very excited about this. I had seen Hooky play with New Order about six years ago and had met him in a lift (but that is another story). Today he started his set with two brilliant Joy Division numbers, Isolation and Heart & Soul. But hold on; was there something wrong with his mike? I couldn’t hear him properly. (And I was front row).The set list was excellent and included a great set of New Order tracks including True Faith (One of my favourites), Everything’s gone green (another of my all-time favs), Blue Monday (Of course!), Fine Time (Hubby was delighted to hear this – it is rarely played live), Temptation (Hooky sang ‘I’ve never met anyone quite like you before’ right at me and pointed to me.), Bizarre Love Triangle and Your silent face.
Great set list indeed. But I couldn’t hear Hooky . It sounded all fuzzy. Was the mike too low? I would forgive him this oversight but there were other issues with this performance which made the whole event disappointing. Hooky kept turning his back to the audience to bash a bit of an electronic drum (when most of it was already programmed in) and most bizarrely of all – he hardly played bass!Now before you all blast me for this review, let it be known I have a lot of respect for Hooky. I think he is one of the best bass players we have ever had. I love his work with both JD and NO. I paid full price for this ticket to see him (it was not a sold out event and many tickets got discounted) so I do feel I have the right to comment fairly on the performance. I have always promised readers of my blog an honest opinion and this is what they get. And my honest opinion is this: I have felt Hooky was desperate to be a front man for many years while in New Order. Now he has his chance. But he doesn’t engage with the audience. He didn’t talk to us once. He didn’t even thank us. I at least wanted him to play his bass and impress us. (Mark King from Level 42 impressed me big time with singing AND playing his bass AT THE SAME TIME!). Why can’t Hooky deliver?
I would love to ask him where he sees himself in five years’ time. Will he still be doing old stuff? Will he be writing new stuff? Can he possibly see himself back with New Order? I can tell you I do not think his future is rosy if he continues performing like this. My husband and I are die-hard fans of New Order and would pay gladly to see a good performance. But we would not do this again.Where does that leave you Mr Hook?
All in all, a very disappointing evening.PS. Anyone who says it was a great evening was either drunk, on drugs or has never seen hooky play with New Order /Joy Division before!