A historic and placid setting like the Hollywood Bowl isn’t what springs to mind when one thinks of New Order; the band’s ultramodern techno sound is redolent of dank, dusty venues like the Palladium.
But the mood contrast between the scenic Bowl and seminal techno band was just one of many noticeable contradictions evident at this show.
The 13-year-old Brit group’s synth-powered dance music invokes tales of hopeless love, hapless desire and teen angst. But the band, throughout its seven-album history, has managed to inject enough warmth and emotion into its sound that fans always had as much substance to grasp on to as they did techno-style.
But that winning flair goes out the window when the band hits the concert stage. The music manages to maintain its dreamy appeal, the songs cascading up the Bowl incline like a giant musical blanket. But the faceless, staid posture of the quartet, particularly unanimated singer Bernard Sumner, prevented the audience from truly connecting with the band.
On “World,” from the new Qwest/Warner Bros. collection, “Republic,” Sumner’s delivery, moving and deep on the album, was lacking in emotion.
This is not to say that the 80-minute program was completely without highlights. “Perfect Kiss,””Round and Round” and encore number “Blue Monday” (their first hit single) all managed to stand out from a crowd of tunes that, even in such a short show, tended to sound quite repetitious.