Saturday, April 29, 2006

Are friends electric? Oh, yes.

Gary Numan played in Yorkshire last week, and we were there. Superb gig and a fab night had by all, despite the head colds. Gary Numan? I hear you ask. Wasn’t he like, 1979, 1980? Yes, but if you thought he was just sitting back counting his royalties every time HERE IN MY CAR is used as the soundtrack for another car advert, you’d be wrong.

I was first introduced to the Numan futuristic sound when I was at school. In fact I recall my first sight of Gary, when two girls showed off his photos in a pop magazine to the nun teaching us Religious Ed (yes, I went to catholic girls, are you surprised? LOL) They had a blond version and a black haired version, and asked the nun which man she preferred. She selected the dark haired one -- interesting that she didn’t refuse to play along, I noted, cynically -- but anyway, I grew curious when I realised that they were both the same guy. Then I saw him posturing and growling on TV. He was kind of sexy-scary, and compellingly weird. Very soon the new romantics came along, and for a while I forgot about Numan and his blue eyeliner and boiler suits.

So what about his sound now, and why am I listening to him, all these years later? Well, in the 90’s things changed somewhat. Rumour has it that he married a goth and got more into stuff like NIN, Sisters of Mercy and Mission. That’s when his music got really interesting, IMO. Last week he was touring for the launch of his latest album, JAGGED, which is pretty good. SACRIFICE is still a top player around here. It's eerie and atmospheric, and I was listening to it a lot recently while writing my futuristic, AGAINST THE GRAIN.

Live, Numan warms up audiences by playing a NIN album before he comes on, so that will give you an idea where he went! Still with that quintessential Numanesque sound, but with much more layering and an epic quality to it that shows his later influences. Add to this that the guy is a top-notch showman, impressively fit, and I guarantee a show not to be missed. Last Monday night was no exception; we had a superb time. The Numan fans are a rabid bunch, diehards, a mix of average townies, and the goths and punks who crawl out of the woodwork for events like this. Sigh. LOL

It seems that the start of the summer gig season is upon us. Four in two weeks – whoopee. I love live music. One down, three to go. Next up is Sisters of Mercy. The Von has been hauling his skinny behind, his hired hands and his drum machine all over the world for a couple of months now, so we'll see what shape he's in when he hits home. Heh.

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