Rising out of the ashes of Joy Division, New Order defied the odds to become one of the most influential bands in the world, splitting the difference between guitar-heavy post punk and club-ready dance music in a way that had never been done before. 40 years after their inception, they return to the city that played a pivotal role in who they are as a band.
For their first hometown show in four years, singer Bernard Sumner and co will perform a career-spanning set at Heaton Park on 10 September, supported by Hot Chip and Working Men’s Club. They’ll take us on a journey through their unparalleled catalogue of hits, from 1983’s ‘Blue Monday’ to 2001’s ‘Crystal’ to 2015’s ‘Tutti Frutti’, in what promises to be “a celebration like no other”.
New Order will always be associated with the ’80s, a decade in which they released a steady stream of amazing albums. Their sophomore record, Power, Corruption and Lies (1983) was the first that saw them fully distance themselves from former glories. Gone was the darkness and coldness of Joy Division; tunes like ‘Age of Consent’ and ‘The Village’ embraced a giddy synth pop aesthetic, one that brimmed with life and possibility.
Heralded by the superb single ‘The Perfect Kiss’, the band resurfaced in 1985 with Low-life, followed by 1986’s Brotherhood, whose ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ made significant inroads among mainstream pop audiences. 1989’s Technique, meanwhile, was a dancefloor-focussed powerhouse inspired by clubs in Ibiza, New York and London; the band’s hedonistic peak.
While the members of New Order largely spent the ’90s pursuing solo and side projects, the noughties saw them release two solid, if unremarkable guitar-based albums: Get Ready and Wating for the Siren’s Call, before bassist Peter Hook acrimoniously left the band. No doubt to Hooky’s vexation, 2015’s Music Complete represented a glorious return to form – a dive back into all-out electronic music, replete with the kinds of synth washes, icy arps and pounding drums that powered their ’80s classics.
At Heaton Park you can expect to hear tunes like ‘Restless’, ‘Plastic’ and ‘Tutti Frutti’ from that last studio album, alongside the consecrated bangers from the band’s early days. Marking the first gig New Order have played since the pandemic, and capped off by a perfectly-curated support line-up of Hot Chip and Working Men’s Club, there’s no doubt this will be a night to remember.