Having released 20 albums in 39 years, Gary Numan is, if nothing else, prolific.
Perhaps more inspiring than his level of output, however, what Numan has proved is that through dedication, talent and perseverance, a slightly uncomfortable, slightly nerdish young adult from an unprivileged background can redefine themselves as an electronic pop cyber-god. True to his punk/new wave roots, Numan’s career is proof that a person’s future really can be unwritten.
Almost a fortnight on from his 60th, and touring in support of concept album ‘Savage’, Numan shows no sign of ageing or slowing down.
Intense, energetic and thought-provoking, Numan and his four-piece band charge into each track with total commitment.
Cleverly pushing the live musicians to the front of the mix, the overall sound is less electronic pop, more NIN/Manson styled thrash guitar/alternative sound, giving the feel of the show a more aggressive edge than expected.
‘Savage’s’ lead single ‘My name is Ruin’ benefits from this mix the most, providing a forceful backing to damaging lyrics (“my name is ruin, my name is broken, my name is shameless, I’ll tear you wide open”); if the lyrics aren’t doing the tearing then the song’s volume and the singers’ vengeful-style certainly are.
The Tubeway Army’s ‘Down In The Park’ is one of the highlights of the evening, using clever synth tracking to drive a strong sing-along melody. Set behind a dark background and impactful strobe lighting, both tracks are presented to the audience in a way which increases the intensity of both their thrash sound and hard-hitting sensibilities.
Set closer ‘Cars’ and encore ‘Are “Friends” Electric’ are given, as expected, the loudest cheers of the night.
Although he’s redefined himself as divinity, Numan is clearly never far from the desires of his audience.
Credit for artistry must also be given to support trio, Nightmare Air, which includes Dave Dupuis, Numan’s tour Manager and Front Of House sound engineer. Known already as hard-hitting shoegazers, what is more evident in a live setting is just how well they blend their wall of guitars with pop synths and layered male-female vocals. They aim and deliver something original.