This particular day of the Release Athens festival, although not an underground event, had its special significance for us, which was the participation of New Order. The open air festival took place at Plateia Nerou, a wide space next to the sea. First band up was the greek indie pop band Ta Toy Boy who took to the stage at the exact programmed time at 17:30 when the sun was still shinning bright and the temperature was 36 degrees Celsius. The three piece played a really enjoyable set with songs from their terrific debut album "This Town", released last year by the indie label Make Me Happy, and some new ones. Next up at 18:15 were Fontaines D.C. a five piece indie rock/post-punk band from Dublin Ireland. This was their second visit to Athens after their sold out gig at club Death Disco a few months back They played songs from their d├ębut "Dorgel" that was released this year, like the opener "Big", "Sha Sha Sha" and "Boys In The Better Land" that I was more familiar with. Their frontman Grian Chatten stood out with his peculiar stage appearance and performance. At 19:30 it was time for Morcheeba, the English trip-hop/downtempo band that was known from the 90’s. Their singer Skye Edwards, dressed very elegant in black and wearing a top hat was magnificent, delivering great vocals and a very impressive stage performance. They gave the festival a feelgood summer vibe with tracks like "The Sea", "Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day" and the newer "Blaze".They also played a really good cover of David Bowie's ''Let's Dance''.

At 21:00 sharp, with the crowd having by now reached thousands, Johnny Marr with his band took to the stage and presented a marvelous set. Apart from songs from his latest album "Call The Cornet", like opener "The Tracers", "Walk Into The Sea" and "Hi Hello" to name a few, he performed The Smiths classics "Bigmouth Strikes Again", "Stop Me If You Think You Have Heard This One Before", "How Soon Is Now" and "There Is A light That Never Goes Out" with which he ended his set making the crowd go wild. And as if that wasn’t enough he also played the Electronic songs "Getting Away With It" and "Get The Message" on which he brought on stage Bernard Sumner of New Order to sing it with him. In general, his appearance was better than expected and reminded us why he is a guitar indie legend. His guitar playing is something else. He also did a great cover of Depeche Mode’s "I Feel You".

At 23:00 New Order, consisting of, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris (who delivered brilliant drumming), Gillian Gilbert, Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman, stepped onto the stage and began their set with "Singularity" from their latest album "Music Complete" with the video wall showing scenes from the documentary "B-Movie: Lust & Sound In West-Berlin 1979-1989". The first treat they gave us was when the played the Joy Division songs "She Lost Control", "Shadowplay" and "Transmission" honoring the 40 years of the release of "Unknown Pleasures". Their set in general had something from all their career "Regret", "Your Silent Face" (on which Bernard’s harmonica broke at the beginning of the song making him throw it down angrily and at the end he threw another one with which it had been replaced to the crowd), "Bizarre Love Triangle", a more techno version of "Tue Faith", "Blue Monday" "Subculture" and ending with "Temptation" in dynamic way. My only flaw was that on "The Perfect Kiss" the characteristic bass solo at the end wasn’t louder. Their whole performance was supported by great visuals. For the encore they left us with a really emotional way paying homage to Joy Division by playing the songs "Atmosphere" (on which the video wall was showing scenes from the iconic Anton Corbijn video) and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (where the video wall pictured at one point a photo of Ian Curtis and then the text “Forever Joy Division”) leaving the crowd in tears.

Review and photos by Nick Drivas