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neworder53Piece Hall, Halifax, UK
9th September 2021
New Order & Support: LoneLady

NEW ORDER decided to return to UK live performances in style, after an 18-month enforced break due to Covid. This gig could be viewed as a warm-up gig to the one in their home town of Manchester, a couple of days later. However, this venue was handpicked for a reason. It’s a grade 1 listed 18th century hall, that was designed to impress visitors to Halifax and their textile industry - predating the regions grubbier industrial era. Piece Hall is the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world, it’s an amazing building that provides an atmospheric and very impressive backdrop to this special gig. The stage has been placed to showcase and take advantage of the halls impressive tall church like spire.


Julie Campbell was and is LONELADY. However there has been a steady and constant chameleon-like advancement of the band - and more often than not in the last few years she has not been a lady on stage alone. The band has been a four-piece and three-piece. The band’s sound has progressed to a more synth-pop style, and has a definite 80s feel to it.


Music & Performance
I’ve watched the career of LONELADY from a distance - with interest it has to be said, but not obsession. Julie turned up tonight as LONELADY a three-piece band. The sound is predominately sequencers, synthesisers and drum machines - with the guitar of old still present. It should appeal to NEW ORDER / JOY DIVISION fans, but it has to be said the venue isn’t very busy and those attending seemed pretty cold to LONELADY to begin with. The keyboard player is outstanding, and she also plays drum machines. The drummer is energetic and has finesse and style about his playing. Julie’s voice echoed around this fine venue and into the evening air.


It was a solid performance that I enjoyed very much - and by mid-way the crowd were defrosting and beginning to hear how good these guys really are. They have just finished their UK tour and I had planned to see them at their solo show - they impressed me as a live band this evening. Unfortunately, I could not make their gig local to me, but I would enthusiastically recommend you see them play.

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Light: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 8.8 / 10

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New Order

Successfully emerging from the days of JOY DIVISION, NEW ORDER have firmly cemented themselves as dance-rock pioneers. With an illustrious career and 10 studio albums under their belts, including, debut masterpiece ‘Movement’ - produced by Factory Record’s Martin Hannett, seminal second album and widespread acclaimed ‘Power, Corruption and Lies’, and their last album ‘Music Complete’ released in 2015, which was critically acclaimed as a career highlight. Armed with a heavy-weight back catalogue of hits including ‘Blue Monday, ‘True Faith’, ‘Age of Consent’ and ‘Restless’ to name a few.


Music & Performance
The big talk regarding NEW ORDER before Covid was the shared headliner US tour with the PET SHOP BOYS, and this is still being talked about for the UK, so I believe. As much as I like PET SHOP BOYS, I’d much rather see NEW ORDER play like this and do what they do well. As they came to the stage the outside air was cooling a little, and the light of day was starting to fade. All this was to change very quickly. The light show was bright and truly outstanding - and the crowd quickly warmed the evening night air into a tropical heat. I cannot stress how special the light show was, truly mind-blowing. This type of show, as much as it’s fun to be in the crowd at the front of stage, you really want to experience from further away. A huge number of lights, lasers and smoke effects, combined with the architecture of the hall and spire left me simply and utterly blown away.


It’s very rare a gig and its visuals make me feel this way - the last time was at a JEAN MICHEL JARRE gig. Once I left the photography pit and made my way to take distant pictures of the stage, I could see how spectacular the lights and effects were. Now at a good viewing point that I could take pictures I stayed in this place, there was no way I was going to miss such a spectacular light show. Of course, a gig is for music pleasure that goes without saying. As usual Bernard isn’t the best vocalist, but I still love his vocal abilities. Musically the band are, as always, spectacular. The whole show becomes a finely tuned machine of light, sound and special effects. A great mix of old NEW ORDER, older JOY DIVISION and up to date tracks. When a band gets a gig completely right it’s very special indeed.


I would rate the gig at Piece Hall in my top ten of memorable gigs - and that’s within a gig career spanning more than forty years. That’s a high accolade. Eighteen months of inactivity has brought NEW ORDER into the arena a hungry beast indeed.

01. Regret
02. Age of Consent
03. Restless
04. Ultraviolence
05. Ceremony
06. Your Silent Face
07. Tutti Frutti
08. Be a Rebel
09. Guilt Is a Useless Emotion
10. Subculture
11. Bizarre Love Triangle (Richard X Remix, New Order Edit)
12. Vanishing Point
13. Plastic
14. True Faith (uses parts from Perfecto Mix)
15. Blue Monday
16. Temptation
17. Atmosphere
18. Transmission
19. Love Will Tear Us Apart

Music: 9.5
Performance: 9.5
Light: 9.5
Sound: 9.5
Total: 9.5 / 10

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All pictures by Kevin Stevens
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