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New Order, Johnny Marr Reviewed: Jodrell Bank

Jonathan Smith loves his music in a big dish

Published on July 9th 2013.

New Order, Johnny Marr Reviewed: Jodrell Bank

UNDER the vast, looming 250ft Lovell Telescope veteran dance rock pioneers New Order gave a pulsating two hour set of their greatest hits.

At times the visual accompaniments were so overwhelming it was like being in Star Wars with the Lovell Telescope a glittery Death Star.

The one day concert was the fifth in the so called Transmissions series at Jodrell Bank Observatory, combining science with live music, such high profile acts as Paul Weller, the Flaming Lips and Manchester’s Elbow having previously curated the event.

This year saw the turn of local heroes New Order, ideally cast with the gigantic Lovell telescope as both are ‘Manchester institutions’ according to lead man Bernard Sumner.

Another Mancunian icon, half man half Mod, Johnny Marr lent his mythical guitar playing as the support act. Whistling through a flawless set of new solo work and, of course, Smith’s classics the impeccably groomed Marr rocked the crowd into life with How Soon is Now, as well as denouncing baseball caps as a fashion trend much to the crowd’s delight. With Marr and Sumner conveniently in one place, a surprise Electronic reunion took place for their whimsical sing-along special Getting Away With It.

As the sun descended behind the surrounding rural setting, not dissimilar to the pleasant pastures seen by William Blake, New Order took centre stage to a plethora of lights and lasers.

With a crowd pleasing set list comprised of classic singles, such as Blue Monday and Bizzare Love Triangle, as well as a healthy dose of renowned 1983 album Power, Corruption and Lies.

New Order's tasty dish

New Order's tasty dish

An impressive electronic screen provided an animated, ever changing backdrop to the songs. Alternating between the band’s extremely surreal music videos and more abstract concepts the screen did a wonderful job of complementing the performances, rather than being an obligatory irrelevant aesthetic.

Alone the show was a spectacular feast for the senses but the introduction of the Lovell Telescope to proceedings was an unexpected treat, beaming ‘New Order’ across its whole diameter before turning into the world’s largest disco ball. At times the visual accompaniments were so overwhelming it was like being in Star Wars with the Lovell Telescope a glittery Death Star.

After a pogo inspiring rendition of the terminally catchy Temptation Sumner and co left briefly before a teasing video hinted at the coming Joy Division encore. The extended four song encore included the topical Transmission and ominous Ian Curtis tribute Atmosphere.

After slating former bass player Peter Hook for touring Joy Division’s music recently it seemed a surprise to see New Order guilty of recycling the past too. While it could be hypocrisy on their part, it felt like a special treat for those in attendance- a one off celebration of Joy Division’s legacy rather than a sell-out rehash.

The recent reformations of the Happy Mondays and Stone Roses may have taken the spotlight of late, but its Manchester mainstays New Order who are still providing exhilarating performances 30 years on. 

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Karen SmithJuly 9th 2013.

Sounds like a sensory extravaganza !

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