The first gig of the 2018 Skyline Series saw the gates to post-punk heaven open, and the faithful flood in. Peter Hook & the Light, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and Echo & the Bunnymen all introduced the summer series, and welcomed a crowd adorning their musical integrity on their sleeves – elements of which were brazenly on show, as passers-by wore their Joy Division, The The, and New Order t-shirts with pride.
Peter Hook and the Light were first to take to the stage, and played a treasurable set. Whilst some may say riding off the back of Joy Division and New Order’s success is a bit of a cop-out, the fact those songs were still being played and still had the essence of both bands meant a lot. Peter Hook’s set was well-split between Joy Division and New Order; including sharp renditions of ‘No Love Lost’, ‘Shadowplay’ and ‘Disorder’. Disappointingly though, Peter Hook himself wasn’t playing the basslines to the majority, though the spirit of both bands lived through and it did make the show more than just a ‘cover band’ effort at some old hits – particularly with final track ‘Ceremony’.
After the introduction to the evening, The Jesus and Mary Chain arrived on stage – and were noticeably better received than Peter Hook, dare I say it … The Scottish noise-rock legends were off to a thrilling start with ‘Amputation’ and ‘April Skies’ building the wall of fuzzy sound, and singalong hits, the band are renowned for. Jim Reid’s vocals have aged, that’s for sure, but like a fine wine, they delivered. One of their earlier tracks, ‘Some Candy Talking’, sounded in tune with its recorded version, and ‘Far Gone And Out’ emphasised how the band most definitely are one of the best to have come out of the post-punk world. ‘All Things Pass’ was also a brilliant offering from their latest album Damage and Joy, which was released in 2017. Their Skyline Series set instilled a sense of triumph, and left the fans reeling for more as they cheered for an encore to no avail.
For me, headliners Echo and the Bunnymen were not at the top of my ‘must-see’ list, though after seeing such brilliant offerings from the two bands prior, it was to be expected that the Bunnymen would be just as good … and they were. Dimly lit by the warm blue sky behind them, and with an eager crowd in front of them, Echo and the Bunnymen opened their headline slot with a classic track, ‘Rescue’. As the set progressed, my doubts of their headlining capabilities were counter-acted, as the crowd and the band swung all their attention into the performance. In a set that included singalongs such as ‘Lips Like Sugar’ and ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’. The Bunnymen knew how to please the crowd, especially in their encore which included the legendary track, ‘The Killing Moon’.
The Skyline Series is hosted at Lloyd’s Amphitheatre in Bristol and Digbeth Arena in Birmingham throughout the summer, and features an array of iconic acts from around the world. More information, including where to get tickets, is available here.
Words by Jasmin Robinson