New Order share one last dance before Blue Monday


New Order ★★★1/2

Myer Music Bowl, March 14

Behind the bar at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, a manager briefed her staff.

“They’re telling us to wear gloves but I’m not going to. If we’re gonna get it, we’re gonna get it.”

This was the mood at New Order’s only Melbourne concert (with the cancellation of Sunday’s Forum gig): a defiant last dance, with hand sanitiser at the gates but few masks in sight. Some elbow bumps. But also kisses.

Bernard Sumner and bassist Tom Chapman.

The surprisingly large crowd, considering, was determined to have a good time, one last good time before Blue Monday heralds the long quiet.

Call it Bizarre Love Triangle in the Time of Cholera.

“Does it make you feel good?” sang first support act Confidence Man, their initially tentative stage presence belying their name. “I only want a good time,” plaintively in Out The Window. They warmed up after a few costume changes, at last, for a sting of infectious pop.

Cut Copy delivered a perfect Xerox of all their shows: finely crafted songs that demand a dance, lift the corners of mouths. Earnest frontman Dan Whitford was here for serious fun.

And then the main act. Starting precisely on time, delivering precisely the sound and the hits you’d expect, but in the light of coronavirus, casting weird shadows.

“I would like a place I can call my own,” they began, with Regret. “Have a conversation on my telephone. Wake up every day, that would be a start.”


The meta-reading of the show was a reminder of mortality. Here is Bernard Sumner, boy genius, who changed the face of popular music. He’s 64 years old, and 64-year-olds can’t prance, or at least they shouldn’t. But here he was (as one friend unkindly but accurately put it), a Tommy Emmanuel with short hair, hand cocked on hip, "singing". He sings worse than most of the people in the crowd sang along, but that’s not new. His pitchy mumble doesn’t spoil this stuff. It’s just how they always sounded.

New Order is about the sound. That crystalline synth and sharp guitar, over locomotive, irresistible beats and driving bass. An initially muddy mix gradually cleared and spread, like a friendly contagion, over the desperate-to-enjoy Bowl.

The bangers unrolled: Price of Love, Subculture, Bizarre Love Triangle, True Faith, a little mechanically but not unfeelingly.

And then Blue Monday, a last-minute transcendence.

For encore: pulled back by the audience like a life vest, they delivered some Joy Division, and then love tore us apart, wandering back to the dark, separating into our quarantined lives.

Source: Read Full Article

You May Also Like