Summer 2024 sees New Order return to Manchester for a special homecoming show, marking their first full headline performance in the city since 2021. The all-day outdoor concert will take place at Wythenshawe Park and feature a huge supporting bill including Manchester legend Johnny Marr and adopted Manc Róisin Murphy.
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. Their second 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; synth-heavy tunes like ‘Age of Consent’ and ‘The Village’ 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, cemented by the adored (and recently re-released) compilation album Substance. 1989’s Technique, meanwhile, was a dancefloor-focused 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 (more on that in a second), the noughties saw them release two solid, if slightly unremarkable guitar-based albums: Get Ready and Waiting for the Siren’s Call, before bassist Peter Hook acrimoniously left the band. No doubt to Hooky’s annoyance, 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 Wythenshawe 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.
Support at the event will come from former The Smiths guitarist and good friend of the band, Johnny Marr. In the late 1980s, Marr and New Order’s Bernard Sumner formed Electronic, a synth-dance act that remained their primary side project throughout the 1990s. Together, the pair released three albums and collaborated with fellow synthpop pioneers Pet Shop Boys. At Aviva Studios in December 2023, Marr put on one of our favourite shows of the year with the Johnny Marr Orchestra, and reminded us what a Mancunian and national treasure he is.
Known in the 1990s as one half of the pop duo Moloko, Irish singer and songwriter Róisín Murphy will be another huge draw, following the recent release of her universally acclaimed sixth studio album, Hit Parade. Fresh off a breath-taking sold-out gig at Manchester’s Albert Hall in May 2023, Róisin Murphy will bring her incredible charisma and talent back to Manchester, as part of what promises to be one of the standout events in the city’s cultural calendar for 2024.