Gary Numan review: from pioneering synths to pounding industrial metal
- Credit: Ross Halls
The football terrace-like chant of 'Numan, Numan, Numan' roared from the crowd, at the LCR last night, as the thunderous desert rock guitars of the opening track 'My Name Is Ruin' eventually subsided.
From there, the raucous crowd only got louder as Gary Numan rummages through his 40-year-old back catalogue which encompasses everything from pioneering synths to pounding industrial metal.
In fact, the only similarity between Tubeway Army's 1978 self-titled debut and Numan's latest solo effort Savage (Songs from a Broken World) are the singer's iconic voice, which somehow suits both styles perfectly whether cutting through rampaging guitars or glitching over bouncing synths.
While there's no doubting Numan's fans are a passionate bunch who enjoy his later material equally as much as songs from his hayday, tonight the oldies provoke the loudest cheers and biggest applause.
'Down In The Park', the centrepiece of 1979's Replicas, the jewel in Numan's robotic crown, gave the crowd an electric shock halfway through, with chants of "Numan, Numan, Numan" reverberating around the LCR louder than ever.
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At points the singer seemed genuinely touched by the outpouring of emotion 40 years on from when he first shimmered into the public eye.
Numan's calling cards 'Are 'Friends' Electric?' and 'Cars', along with Tubeway Army's debut single 'That's Too Bad' are given crunchier guitars allowing them to weave in perfectly with his current heavier sound.
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During 'Cars' Numan flashes a reflective gaze to footage of himself in the song's 1979 music video shown on the screen behind him, which compliments the performance rather than distracting from it, displaying everything from news clips to ghostly figures.
Despite music from several decades coming together, the set had a cohesive feel, with multiple genres complimenting each other. Even when the singer's metal output began to sound samey at points, it was quickly followed by something from the archives to keep it fresh.
The most powerful moment comes at the end of the night, when Numan ups acoustic guitar to go back to the year where it all began with 1978's 'Jo the Waiter'. For once there is silence from Numan's passionate fans as he sings "long gone, I recall good times, I must confess, I cried".