Gary Numan review
By Mick Conmy
The electro-pop pioneer wows the Oxford Academy by revisiting 'Replicas'.
Gary Numan, sinister, moody and glumly gothic strolled out on stage, accompanied by thumping bass, searing synthesisers and tinny snare drum. He was about to remind the audience how bleak and morbid life is; but then couldn’t resist spontaneously smiling broadly – a real ear to ear Cheshire cat cheesy grin visible through the thick dry ice.
Rarely has an audience transmitted so much love to one man, as was seen here at the Oxford Academy. Even though Gary’s material is crammed with gloominess and a certain dystopian outlook, it’s all really a bit of an act, as his warm smile revealed he is not the android his stage presence suggests. He is basically a warm nice guy. He probably cleans his Mondeo on Sunday mornings, or tends the borders. But he pines to be austere and teutonic just like the German inventors of industrial electronic music Kraftwerk; where all his reference points stem from.
On stage he has an entrancing powerful spirit – a Bowie/Lou Reed hybrid, and you can’t take your eyes off this Messiah. A suspicious amount of jet black hair on display; the words syrup and fig spring to mind. Gary Numan is the godfather of electro-pop. He was here to play his seminal celebration of 1980’s bedroom angst, his second album “Replicas”, a futuristic sci-fi concept work roughly in track order sequence. And before you ask, no it has not dated, it sounded fresh and deep – serious music not to be smiled at. “Are Friends Electric” was No 1 in the charts in 1979 but it sounded bang up to date, as like most of his material, it has been beefed up with stonking guitar and bass.
Alistair Darling with his budget announcement earlier in the day may not approve, but the encore of “Cars” was greeted with rapture from the 80% blokey geeky crowd. The Gary Numan show was simply splendid from start to finish. True class doesn’t date.
last updated: 17/03/2008 at 11:13
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