Gary Numan @ Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall – 23rd April 2009

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Tonight has started bad. The car park is full, due to some guy I’ve never heard of playing the main Civic Hall. Then the queue at the box office is massive, also due to that same guy, so I completely miss the support act. To be honest, I don’t even know who they were or even if there was one!

I don’t know that much about Gary Numan, although I am aware that he was a massive influence on Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), and Trent’s later work inspired Gary at the end of the nineties. As a big NIN fan, I’m excited to hear what’s about to go down.

One thing that I assumed was that the crowd was going to be all “80’s goth” – long leather jackets, maybe some make-up, and some electro-punk club wear. I was so, so wrong. The crowd was made up mostly of men, maybe in their forties, who were obviously fans back in the day. It was also nice to see some whole families at the show – mum, dad and kids – although at one point I did have my view blocked by a small infant on dad’s shoulders!

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Waiting for Numan to come onstage, the crowd started their shouting of “Noooooooooooomaaaaaaan”, which mostly stopped when the house lights dimmed and he appeared on stage. The very appreciative crowd went crazy – I haven’t heard a roar like that for some time.

Moody lighting complemented the dark and moody intro of “Jagged”, and when “Films” kicks in, the crowd are introduced to one of the best light shows I’ve ever seen at Wulfren Hall. All kinds of lights, of all colours, perfectly timed to the tunes that he was playing. At certain points of the set, the light would nearly all disappear, only to come back on so bright that your eyes would start watering. This complemented the style of music that he (and his band) played – electronic but heavy. Industrial Rock sums it up quite well.

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I seem to say this in most of my reviews, but it appeared to me that the crowd simply didn’t seem that “up for it”. I was quite near the back of the venue, and there were not that many people moving, dancing, or even nodding their head tonight, although this did seem to change when the older, poppier tunes appeared.

The tunes that I did recognize were “Metal” (covered by Nine Inch Nails on their 2000 release “Things Falling Apart”), “Down In The Park” (covered by Foo Fighters on the 1996 X-Files soundtrack album) and main set closer, the classic “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” which was played in a very ‘pianoforte’ way, with very soft, quiet verses, and loud, guitar driven chorus’. Also, it sounded like the entire crowd participated with their “whoa-hoa’s” along to the songs keyboard hook.

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I really enjoyed the show tonight, and it was good to hear a varied setlist of tracks from all throughout his career.

Main set:
Jagged – 2006’s “Jagged”
Films – 1979’s “The Pleasure Principle”
Crazier – 2003’s “Hybrid”
Fold – 2006’s “Jagged”
I Dream Of Wires – 1980’s “Telekon”
Pure – 2000’s “Pure”
Metal – 1979’s “The Pleasure Principle”
The Fall – 2009’s “Dead Son Rising”
Bleed – 1994’s “Sacrifice”
Down In The Park – 1979’s “Replicas”
Absolution – 1997’s “Exile”
I, Assassin – 1982’s “I, Assassin”
Haunted – 2006’s “Jagged”
Halo – 2006’s “Jagged”
Are ‘Friends’ Electric? – 1979’s “Replicas”

Encore:
We Are So Fragile – 2002’s “Exposure”
I Die: You Die – 1980’s “Telekon”
A Prayer For The Unborn – 2000’s “Pure”

Review – Tony Hackett

Photos – Ian Dunn

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