all photos: Shauna Alexander
I caught the tail end of Rasputina’s set, and heard their pretty interesting all-cello cover of “How soon is now.” They followed up this song with one called “Possum of the Grotto,” which was again, interesting, as most songs about albino possums tend to be. Rasputina-the all-cello band with a penchant for Victorian dress and romantic lyrics about giants and possums, what I saw was intriguing, and I would definitely see them again.
When Gary Numan and his bandmates, all black leather and awesome hair, took the stage, they looked like they meant business…synth business… After two instrumental openers, Numan croaked into the microphone that he had lost his voice “and was singing like shit,” but that he was determined to perform if the audience would help him out on a few songs. (Unfortunately these few were classics, like “M.E.,” and “Metal.”) BUT given the choice of seeing sick Gary Numan vs. NO Gary Numan, I’m cool with the decision I made and would make again. The audience agreed, and as soon as Gary had finished apologizing, someone shouted out “Even when you’re sick you’re better than everyone else.” So true.
Numan ran through some of the classics off The Pleasure Principle: “Observer,” “Engineers,” and of course “CARS.” I’m pretty sure the audience felt guilty about getting pumped to hear “Cars,” live!!!…I know I did, but I’m also certain that everyone at that show would never utter the words “one hit wonder” and “Gary Numan” in the same sentence, that would be false and blasphemous!
In my opinion the night got progressively more amazing as Numan brought out his more recent industrial work. He ushered in the DARKNESS with “the Fall,” (if you wonder what Gary Numan sounds like post 1989 you should check out this completely badass song) Next up was “Pure,” and it was a hot industrial metal broodfest . I’ll try not to get too personal, but this song…it is too hot, and Gary writhing around, a figure in all black…in the blue lights and smoke, I needed a moment. These dark and gloomy men…damn.
As if I weren’t smitten enough already, the band played “Down in the Park,” which is one of my all time favorite songs-ever, and it sounded great, despite Numan’s vocal issues (which I’m sorry to say did slightly take away some of the song’s Bowie-esque lyrical sexiness.) This song was followed up with “Haunted,” off his album Jagged (2006.) another trip through the heaviness. Numan’s classic “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” sounded as epic as expected, but unfortunately poor Gary in his sickness didn’t quite “nail it.”
Let’s just put it this way: If Gary Numan puts on a show like this when he is sick, then I’m pretty certain he’s still got it, and that he is in fact, better than everyone else.