Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Review: Bad Lieutenant

By on Thursday, 15th July 2010 at 12:00 pm

Bernard Sumner. The mere mention of his name conjures up the dusty pages of rock’s past. But if the history books were for me to write, I’d be sure there was a large mention of Sumner’s latest project, Bad Lieutenant starring Sumner himself, fellow ex-New Order member Phil Cunningham and ex-Marion guitarist Jake Evans, who shares lead vocal duties in the band with Sumner. For someone who’s been in the music media on and off for more years than I have been alive on this planet, Sumner cuts an imposing figure. But I learned through an engaging set by him and his ‘new’ band that really, he’s just as nostalgic as the rest of us, and he’s a consummate performer eager to entertain.

On Saturday night, it was a hard sell trying to explain to the Danes I ran into who Bad Lieutenant was and what kind of show it was going to be. To be honest, even I didn’t know, because Bad Lieutenant has yet to do a proper tour of the States so I’d never seen them play. I had a feeling there would be at least one or two of the ‘favourites’ from Sumner’s old bands, but I was happily surprised by the tunes he wheeled out for their Roskilde set. The ‘new’ songs from Bad Lieutenant off the album they released last year, ‘Never Cry Another Tear’, are good examples of pop should be done, and they worked swimmingly alongside Joy Division and New Order classics.

At times, Sumner showed his age through his impatience and swearing, mostly when electronics of his band failed to get queued up for an appropriate fanfare to begin New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’. Never for his athleticism: for this song, he was doing the Englishman’s answer to the Running Man (which was adorable in itself; can you imagine, watching a vanguard of rock music busting a move his way?) and then doing the appropriate kneeling poses during the lyrics that called for it. I surely wasn’t expecting it, he definitely went above and beyond the call of duty.

But other than these moments of flourish, what really counted was how tight the band sounded as a unit – no matter what era of song they were playing – and how great Sumner’s voice still is today. I wasn’t close enough to see but I have it in my mind that tears must have been welling up for him as he watched the reception for what wonderful music he was responsible for in the past right beside new songs destined to be just as timeless. What a great set.

After the cut: set list.

Bad Lieutenant Set List:
This is Home
Regret (New Order)
Ceremony (New Order)
Sink or Swim
Twist of Fate
Shine Like the Sun
Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order)
Running Out of Luck
Crystal (New Order)
Tighten Up (Electronic)
Out of Control (Chemical Brothers cover)
Temptation (New Order)
Transmission (Joy Division)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)

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[…] New Order proffered by Bernard Sumner and Bad Lieutenant (read my in-depth review of Bad Lieutenant here).I knew by the general wackiness of the people who gathered early for Pendulum that this was going […]

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