Tonight’s an early start. It’s 7.15pm when support act for Gary Numan, (IAM) WARFACE take to the stage to greet the near capacity crowd. They open with ‘ To Die For ‘, and it’s clear that the guys mean business tonight. They are going to take advantage of their prestigious support slot and enjoy every minute of it.
Bleed Out and the fantastic new single Say My Name follow and from the dirty riff that opens on Louis Matthews’ guitar to Matt Warneford’s soaring vocals and the hypnotic synth line, it’s easy to see that this track is a favourite amongst the fans. U Don’t Love Me Anymore and Atomic White Gold continue the set acquiring a few more fans along the way. (IAM) WARFACE close their set with the track Trigons. Matt tells the crowd that this is a song to dance to, and he jumps down into the photo pit to greet the Numan faithful. They are definitely a band to watch out for if you like high energy electronic music the bands influences are a recipe for success. The band play a headline show on August 25th at The Black Heart in Camden.
Gary Numan arrives in Leamington on the 3rd of a 4-date Savage Pre mini Tour. Having recently signed to the BMG Management he has increased his profile with a hugely successful campaign via Pledge Music. This also followed his Ivor Novello Inspiration Award in May. Having played to 3000 people on Thursday night In Liverpool this is a chance for people in the Midlands to hear new songs from Numan’s 22nd studio album Savage (Songs From A Broken World). The follow up to the hugely successful 2013 Splinter album this will be released on September 15th.
At 8.30 the house lights dims and smoke billows across the stage and the foreboding intro music starts. The familiar chants of “Numan – Numan” echo across the beautiful surrounding’s that is The Assembly.
Everything Comes Down To This opens in truly enigmatic style with Numan and guitarists Steve Harris and Tim Muddiman silhouetted against the strobe lighting to dramatic effect with washes of pastel coloured lighting. Films from The Pleasure Principle has been given the Industrial treatment with longest serving band member Richard Beasley pounding out one of the most sampled rhythm sections in music. The first from Savage is Bed of Thorns, a mid-paced offering with an Eastern harmony running throughout.
Ghost Nation is the next song from the forthcoming album. This has all the classic traits with its anthem chorus with David Brooke’s keyboards hovering above Steve Harris’ superb guitar assault. This seems to have an instant liking by the fans. The set continues with the title track Jagged from the 2006 album its obvious from the song choices in the set is a welcome return to the more industrial heavier side of the catalogue.
Mercy is next song to get an outing from Savage followed by A Prayer For The Unborn. As many will know Numan is a man of few words when it comes to stage banter. Just before the new single ‘My Name Is Ruin’ (that incidentally BBC Radio 6 have recently added to their play list) He introduces his daughter Persia to the crowd to sing with him. “She’s a little bit nervous” he tells us as she walks onto the stage she she is blown a reassuring kiss from her mom Gemma. Persia is given a warm welcome by the Numan fans she may have been nervous but boy can she sing she’s got a powerful voice for such a tender age of 11.
As the song fades a very proud dad hugs his daughter for doing such a wonderful job. As Persia walks off stage to a heart warming applause the opening bars of ‘Cars’ fills the room and it’s hard to believe this song is 38 years old. OK, it’s been revamped a couple of times but its still sounds as ground-breaking today as it did in 1979. Love Hurt Bleeds closes the set and the chants of “Numan – Numan – Numan” start as soon as the stage falls into silence. The band return shortly afterwards with Numan grinning. ‘Thank you’ as he salutes the crowd for Down In The Park and the final song Are Friends Electric with its stripped back vocals. Numan is almost whispering the lyrics at times saying “you know I hate to ask” and the audience respond “but Are Friends Electric?” At 10 o’clock the house lights come on and the room empties. The pub across the road had a sign outside saying “Numan music here all night” I’m pretty sure most will be continuing to party long into the night.
To summarize then judging from what we heard tonight I think it safe to say that when Savage is released on September 15th, and with the tour starting on the 30th, most people will know these songs and will have their favourites by then. If tonight’s show is anything to go by the songs were very well received and all who attended can’t wait to hear the full album. I think this could quite possibly be Gary Numan’s best offering to date and could claim a top ten chart entry.
Gary Numan Set List
Everything Comes Down to This
Bed of Thorns
We’re the Unforgiven
A Prayer for the Unborn
Here in the Black
My Name is Ruin (Performed with his daughter Persia)
Pray for the Pain You Serve
Love Hurt Bleed
Down in the Park
Are ‘Friends’ Electric?
Review and photographs: Ian Dunn