I quite like Gary Numan — the musician and the man.
His new album Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) undeniably shows influences of his association with Nine Inch Nails — but to be fair, Nine Inch Nails have long been admiring Numan. So it perhaps is only fair that the two musical acts would commingle. Nine Inch Nails guitarist Robin Finck played on some of Splinter’s tracks and joined him live on several recent tour dates.
The influence clearly was felt in the show at the Black Cat on Sunday, Oct. 27. Numan was energetic and in good form with a strong band that handled their goth guitar pretty well. They were very tight on “Everything Comes Down to This,” a new song from Splinter, demonstrating impressive range. The song is at times sparse and ethereal and at other times full and frenetic. Numan’s voice was strong and his physical flourishes added a great deal to his performance.
Gary Numan has come a long way since he hit number one on the UK charts with “Are Friends Electric” in 1979. He’s hit some highs and lows in that time, and he recently immigrated from England to Los Angeles.
It’s interesting how much music has changed during that time. At the start of his career, Numan received criticism for seeking success—15 years later glory-seeking was an actual characteristic of Britpop bands. In that time, Numan changed his sound quite a bit, traversing from synthpop auteur to gothic acoustic. In recent years, he’s come back around a bit, re-embraced his synth, and still sounds like he’s light-years ahead of the pack.
Numan has a new album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), released Oct. 14, and he comes to the Black Cat Sunday to tour it. The new album continues a trend of gloomy self-examination but frankly he remains one of the most intriguing artists in any genre.
Numan last came to the Black Cat almost exactly three years ago, and sold-out a highly anticipated display for the 30th anniversary of his album, The Pleasure Principle, which featured his most globally famous song, “Cars.” His recent set lists suggest he hasn’t forgotten that world tour was pretty good for everyone, so this is a great opportunity to catch him explore songs old and new. Don’t miss out!
w/ The Color Film
Sunday, Oct. 27
$25 advance/$30 doors
all photos by Erin McCann.
New Wave icon and synthesizer guru Gary Numan performed at the Black Cat on Wednesday night to a packed house of devoted fans. It was a weird but enjoyable performance that felt like two very different concerts in one. For the first hour, a very ill Gary Numan lead his band through a performance of his 1979 classic album “The Pleasure Principle”. The performance was a strange one due to Numan’s illness; the band sounded fantastic however as Numan tried to make the best of not having a voice by asking the crowd to sing some of the songs for him. The situation lent some impromptu fun to the performance of Numan’s ice-cold classic. By the end of the album portion, I was beginning to visualize my forth-coming rave review. Then, as if magically revitalized, Numan and his band suddenly launched into a set of guitar-driven, psuedo-industrial tunes that saw Numan belting out vocals like a banshee.
The two hours of Wednesday night’s concert featured very different sounding music, had entirely different energy levels, and felt like they were performed by two completely different bands. I am a fan of the first band, not so much of the second.