Gary Numan has always been an innovator, his synth-heavy brand of electronica has paved the way for many to follow whilst at the same time continuing to evolve and push his musical boundaries.
Numan’s latest work including his last studio album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), has taken him in more of an industrial rock direction.
To this day, Gary Numan maintains a cult following from his army of devoted “Numanoids”. And on this (school) night, they packed out the O2 Academy in Newcastle and lined the streets well before the doors open to secure their spot at the front. Many fans sport their Gary Numan t-shirts emblazoned with their favourite album cover as they eagerly enter the building.
With a three-year gap since Gary Numan’s last studio record, tonight’s show is a rare treat for the Numanoids. His set focuses on the late 70s and early 80s studio albums and in particular Replicas, Telekon and The Pleasure Principle. The show gets underway with a track from each of those albums, including the atmospheric “Replicas” before belting through electronic number “Metal” and “Remind Me To Smile.”
Numan’s early material still feels incredibly relevant in today’s music scene. With the likes of “Are Friends Electric?” or “M.e.”, you hear those riffs which have been sampled in recent times by a diverse array of chart acts including the likes of The Sugababes through to Bassment Jaxx. His influence is far-reaching.
Timeless classics like “Cars” and the euphoric “I Die: You Die” leave the audience wanting more. Chants of “Numan, Numan” reverberate around the room, but he’s not done yet returning to the stage to close out the show with “We Are So Fragile” with its pounding rhythm and the fuzz-fueled “My Shadow In Vain”.
All that being said, tonight’s show doesn’t at all feel nostalgic. Numan aided by his incredibly tight band delivers a 90-minute high-energy set which gives these treasured recordings a new lease of life. Many of these songs sounding just as fresh today as they did by in 1979/80. Tonight’s show is all about the music, and Numan and the band are locked in this together. Gary Numan is a true artist and performer.