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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Location: Pak Kok Village
Peter Hook at Solas. 8-5-08 - by Nick the Bookman

Death. War. Bushreich. Dustbin Laden. Poodle the Bliar. "Incapability" Brown. Sleaze. Corruption. Cronyism. Gutless journalists. Hotair gasbag politicians. Global Warming. Plague. Pestilence. Famine. Tidal waves. Earthquakes. Cyclones, typhoons and tornados. Di and Elvis married by aliens. Overblown Olympic Torch Relay. Drug cheats in sports. Overpaid, underperforming England soccer team. Michael Bay's lack of subtlety. Mysogynistic crap rap. Over-rated divas. Peter Hook can't mix and this is where I came in¡K

With all the Apocalyptic shit going on these days, who cares whether a DJ is on the beat or not. Yet, Peter Hook seems to have taken quite a hammering recently because he can't mix proper. He's back in HK for a show at Solas, two years and two days after his second HK debut. He played at Tribeca on 6/5/06 (sorry, Pete, my mistake. Didn't mean to mess your head up by saying you were last here in 2005). I covered that gig. It was bloody great. I thought I'd addressed the adverse criticism in my review, but evidently not. By second HK debut, I mean that New Order played a STUNNING concert at Canton Disco in mid-1985. I was there for that as well. In fact, I was squashed up against the stage, right in front of Gillian's keyboards. Fellow RTHK journalist Jane Hutcheon was on my shoulders! So, that makes me the ONLY person in HK who's seen all 3 appearances by Hooky.

Peter has gone on the record several times admitting he's not a seamless mixer ¡V more of the standard of a secondary school disco! DJ Nipper, who's a friend of Hooky's, and the promoter/ support act for the Solas gig, say's the criticism is irrelevant. He's got the tunes and that's all that matters. Personally, I'm on Nipper and Hooky's side. I do some Nixmixes up at Nipper's studio every few months. Turn up with my hooligan buddies Overlay and Intermingle. Seamless sods off for a long liquid lunch. I think my CD's flow quite well, but perfect beat matching is an accident at best or an aberration at worst. I think seamless subverts spontaneity. I've heard quite a few technically proficient DJ's over the past few years and they're boring. Laying down one gold-plated turd after another. Carl Cox was all crash, bang, wallop during his last appearance here, behind the little village of Fuk Ah Wei in the remote New Territories. The crowd left in droves, but it was freezing and the final free shuttle bus to Central was about to depart. Then there was Paul Oakenfield at a Heineken Party in 2005(?). Did a 20 minute set. Played a great mixed track. I wrote that down, looked up and he's pumping one fist in the air and waving a record in the other hand. Not much mixing there. Maybe it was a case of here's one I made earlier. DJ Hyper was on the same bill and blew poor old Oakie away.

So, I've arrived at Solas about 2200. There's a very good preview by Alan Warboys in today's SCMP. Should be good for drawing some punters through the door. There's a fairly hefty Lamma representation. Big hi to Roz, Rahat, Helen, Tiffany. Tamara is already inside. Big Ladies Night Out eh? Hooky has just done a brief press conference, postponed from 1600 hours because he was knackered. I was at Solas then, only to be told he wasn't coming. Nipper let me know the p/c was re-arranged for the evening. I got the message at home about the time it was starting. Nice meeting the Solas crew, Pete, Rory and Keiron. All of whom were there later. Solas is pretty much a long room. The curved bar is on the right. The DJ booth is up a few stairs to the left, by the front door. I've hogged the big comfy sofa in front of the booth. Nipper is laying down some big beats and funky tech-house. (It's getting harder to work out what all these subtle variations in DJ style are called). Big bouncy rhythms meshing over r n' b style femvox. Occasional tinkly pianos weave in and out of existence. Generally, quite a muscular rippling set intercut with great washes of what sounds like Creamer-K electronics. Some squelchy noises and hints of acid jazz now and then. Two stunning vocal refrains of "love me on the ground" or "love the underground". (Gosh darn these sneaky little subliminals!) They blend into another track with the chorus about "the mothership". Could be 50's Space Age Bachelor Pad Music (with extra guavatinis) or The Wondermints revisiting Smile by The Beach Boys as interpreted by The Flaming Lips. Stunning stuff.

Meanwhile, Peter has just arrived in Solas with a small bag of goodies. We have a brief chat. He says he still likes and plays a couple of Nixmixes I gave him last time. "Here's 4 more mate". He grabs them like a thirsty man being given water in the desert. After HK, he's doing shows in Djkarta and Singapore. There's more Lamma people present and an overlapping party on a business bender. (hi, Claire and Emily, hope you enjoyed the show). About 200 people should be enough to cover the costs of the show. Manek has popped in to represent hkclubbing. Nick W. is enjoying a cup of hot cocoa (probably) at home. Old friends, Karina, Derek, her sister Christianne and her boyfriend Dee (the local Renaissance point man and a fine DJ in his own right) have arrived. Friendly debates and bets are being taken on how well Hooky will mix tonight

It's just gone midnight and PH is behind the decks. He's promised some new stuff. The set kicks off with a crowd chant of "Manchester, lalalalalala" which fades nicely into a piano-enhanced version of "Love Will Keep Us Together". It's the same tune that opened his previous gig at Tribeca. The Lamma Ladies are up on the floor . I'd say more than half the audience is dancing. And although individuals may drop out now and then, the floor remains packed for the duration of his set. The tunes are all over the place in a way. Grimy electronica meets minimal techno. Thunder drums and rubbery basslines punch into old remixed Joy Division classics. I've got a swollen knee, so I'm not moving from the couch. I'm also happily over-medicated so it takes a bit of time to sink in that he's playing Joy Division. (who is that lugubrious singer that sounds like a cheerful Morrissey I think. Only to be told it's the late Ian Curtis.) I suspect some of the tunes are from the master board of The Hacienda. I'm assuming that they were smart enough to record all their live shows for posterity. Alam Warboys has mentioned that a Hacienda World Tour is imminent.

Peter is looking a bit tired, but he's having fun up there. Pumping his arms in the air. Exhorting the crowd who respond. People have been popping in and out of the DJ booth throughout his set. He's happily posing for photos. Not sure if he signs any autographs though. I've made friends with a nice English couple, Natalie and Gary (hope the names are correct. I wasn't concentrating . At first they're a bit disappointed in his mixing skills, but Natalie barely leaves the floor for the duration of his set. Gary thinks "seamless is so last year". He's certainly enjoying the tunes. Natalie thinks that PH "doesn't even need to bother to learn how to mix" She says he's doing great.. The lovely Shimi wants to make her mark in this story and writes "Shimi hearts you" in my book. Definitely worth mentioning you 3 times, Shimi.

The tunes change about every 20 minutes or so. There's a great Babyshambles remix and what could almost be a thrash-folk number with a chorus of "I've had the same jeans on for 4 days now". Flashback time to classic HK Folk Festivals. There's a burst of 80's indie-electro including "Enjoy The Silence" by Depeche Mode which soon leads into "lager, lager, lager etc" by Underworld. That one really packs the floor. My only quibble comes when he plays "Sometimes, I fantasise, when the streets are cold and lonely¡K" It's Made Of Stone(?) by the Stone Roses and forgets to turn down the clatter drums over the top. Sorry, mate. Minus one point there! I think the Stone Roses can stand alone with their melodies.

Pete is meant to play about 2 and a half hours and it's about that time. When are the New Order classics coming? He roars into "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers, follows up with "Anarchy" by the Sex Pistols and then drops "24 Hour Party People" by Happy Mondays. EXACTLY the same running order as his Tribeca gig. He also throws in "London Calling" by The Clash. Personally I think "Clampdown" would have been a better choice. Now things are going mental. The New Order remixes come thick and fast. An almost EMI orchestral intro to "Love Will Tear Us Apart" followed by a remastered version of the original. It's great. The most haunting version of "Love" that I have is by Swans ¡V a band who used to start their shows at 130 decibels and rising. The Swans version of Love is a ballad. You wouldn't think it's the same noisecore band with Jarboe on lead vox instead of Michael Gira. Even with the hindsight offered by Ian's suicide, it's still my favourite version, but it wouldn't have fit into this section of the set. There's a massive version of "Blue Monday' with at least 4 false ending/crescendos followed by a boomtastic remix of "Crystal" which is nearly as long. Everyone who's still there is demanding more. The final track is "We Are One" and then, it's all over. Pete"s played until 0315. He's packed his bag, mutters "Bye, Nick" and scoots out the door so quickly that no one quite realizes he's gone. Would like to have thanked him for another splendid show, but I can see he's totally knackered. Nipper has time for 4 more tunes, including another blast of "Blue Monday" before something goes wrong with the sound. Nevermind, its 0400 and time to pack up. Nipper seems happy. He thinks they've broken even on the night. The next DJ Sessions will be in a couple of months. I'm pretty sure I know who's coming, but I'll leave it for Nipper to break that news. This Series is set to run. Get off your lazy arses Hong Kong clubbers and be there.

Nick the Bookman.

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