New Order at the Warehouse Project, Manchester
I’m going to go ahead and talk about the venue choice first, as that’s the thing on everyone’s minds. When New Order tickets went live for their two shows on home-turf it sold out in minutes and I think they still would have done even if they were playing in some smelly underground car park... Oh, right.
Except this isn’t just any smelly underground car park it’s Manchester’s finest sub-cultural club venue and original home of infamous Warehouse Project. Why would New Order not be attracted to Store Street? They could have played pretty much any venue in Manchester but the humble offering of dripping walls and seedy plastic hanging curtains made for a real throwback vibe of the grunge and post-punk age they come from.
One thing that struck me most about the gig as a regular attendee of Warehouse Project was the ageing crowd. There was certainly a visible divide between fans from the very beginning and people who had gone expecting a standard WHP night of lasers and twitchy movements that might be dancing. This new clientele meant there actually was dancing though, proper dancing, and it was contagious. These fans might seem older but they moved a hell of a lot better than your standard attendee, and they picked each other up when they fell down, and tried not to spill their drink on you.
Unfortunately though as much as I am a die-hard fan of the venue it did fill up and up and up to capacity and as New Order began their set in emergency car-alarm style every single person who is normally spread out between the different areas crammed into room one, and it became a little unbearable, ashamedly left me thinking that perhaps the more spacious Mayfield Depot venue should have been a more permanent endeavour.
Luckily New Order know how to put on a real show. They didn’t give too much to start with, trickling a couple of belters in between recent material from the new release Music Complete alongside video footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall and other cultural iconography. They went up a gear when they invited fellow electronic figure La Roux to the stage to accompany them on a couple of tracks, not the first time she’s made an appearance with the band and a good move from them to show they are certainly not stuck on the past. They geared up again in quick succession when Denise Johnson of Primal Scream’s Screamadelica fame made her appearance, having worked with Sumner before on his Electronic project with Johnny Marr. This made the evening so authentic with raw nods to Madchester as they really spoilt us with showmanship and a love for their city.
Of course though this was New Order’s night and having thoroughly turned the heat up they romped into a torrent of favourite anthems to close. We had True Faith, Temptation, The Perfect Kiss and for encore they topped it all off as only they can with Joy Division’s Atmosphere and Love Will Tear Us Apart finishing as we all feverishly anticipated with Blue Monday. It’s kind of more like blue Sunday today though, as I can’t help but wish I had tickets to see them tonight as well.