Review/ New Order @ Lloyd's Amphitheatre

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By Francesca Frankis, Music Editor

For the first of two shows presented by Colston Hall, the legendary New Order made a spectacular, long awaited return to Bristol.

Imposed upon a  backdrop of the harbourside, last Thursday New Order ascended upon a stage surrounded by a revelling Bristol crowd. Grainy footage of a diver was first projected onto the stage, coupled with a rendition of Wagner’s Vorspiel  blasted out overhead. As the film transitioned from black and white to colour it worked as some kind of a symbol; if the black and white was Joy Division, perhaps the colour represented New Order?

The charged intro of ‘Singularity’ signalled the start of their impressive set. The crowd were enchanted by Bernard Sumner as he sung over the ominous track, ‘winter came so soon, summer never happened’. Everyone soon welcomed another one of their recent tracks, ‘Restless’. With both songs taken from their 2015 record Music Complete, they showcased how the bands current releases still carry as much meaning as their classic singles. The instrumental seemed almost orchestral in sound, and the band basked in their glory, rightly so.

Two songs in and the familiar gloomy looped guitar part of ‘She’s Lost Control’ casually drifted out over the swooning crowd. By default, the entirety of Bristol’s harbourside sung out along the bass heavy track. To the crowd’s delight, more Joy Division songs followed, including ‘Shadowplay’ and ‘Transmission’. People screamed out with Summer, ‘Dance dance dance dance to the radio’. Whilst his voice sounds less portentous than Ian Curtis’, it’s more than enough for those watching. ‘Tutti Frutti’ is up next, and a far cry from the dark melodies of Joy Division, nonetheless the band revelled on stage as they watched the glistening electric number prompt a wave of moving bodies. The stream of electric tracks continued with a rendition of ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, arpeggiated synths and dramatic guitar chords layered upon punchy drum machine loops. Followed up by classics like ‘Perfect Kiss’ and ‘True Faith’, both defining singles of the band’s success.

Image: Colston Hall/Dominika Scheibinger

The melody of ‘Blue Monday’ ushered in roar of celebration from the crowd, with lights to match the jumpy bassline; it sounds like the eighties personified in a chord progression. ‘Temptation’ which followed, also had the harbourside in a trance like state, they cried out with Sumner, ‘Up down, turn around, please don’t let me hit the ground’. Truly saving the best until last, the famed first chords of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ blasted out over Bristol. Paying tribute to Curtis, Sumner and the audience chanted along to the melancholic cult track, as their performance drew to a spectacular close.

New Order’s gig on Thursday sorted through the perfect selection of their tracks, old and new. Whilst encapsulating the sheer influence of their sound in shaping the landscape of music to emerge since the eighties. Indeed, New Order will always be the successor to Joy Division, and the legacy that Joy Division paved the way for remains infinitely intact. Yet, New Order have also always been something in their own right, with an unshakable devotion to their craft.

Featured Image: Colston Hall/Dominika Scheibinger

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