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Monday, 2 October 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Gary Numan

Gary Numan & Jayce Lewis, Tramshed Cardiff

The man they call Numan arrived in Cardiff after a considerable absence, the tour was in support of his excellent new album Savage, the Tramshed was the first date of the tour and we took our photographer with us to the sold out venue for what was actually one of the loudest gigs of the year.

Before the headliner though support came from Bridgend's answer to the great man himself, the Darth Vader approved Jayce Lewis (7) who brought a heavy industrial aesthetic to his performance from the stage dressing to the music, it was a post apocalyptic menagerie of light up pillars and a doom laden end of days vibe. Lewis ramps up the thunder with two bass players and a drummer as the omnipresent electronics fizzed and buzz in the background, due to the extensive use of pedals of both bass players.

Playing a lot from his most recent Protafield project, the vocals suffered on the first few songs but gradually they got better in time and were at there best for the thumping Solitaire and the heavy as lead Electric Medicine which closed the set. With a new album on the way and promise of a return Jayce was the ideal opener for a man who practically invented this stuff.

The stage was changed and it was time for the master, the performance was honed to perfection, it was a set of industrial battery from the off, instrumentation delivered with robotic precision and at ear splitting volume, the baselines could loosen your colon and the lights and visuals may induce seizures, but that's exactly what you'd want from a the man that help to popularise the synth and industrial music. Like a hot and sweaty Berlin club the Tramshed was one sold out undulating mass clad in their best PVC, leather, lace.and fish-netting. Gary Numan (8) is wild frontman beating himself up as he delivers his android vocals over the crackling metallic industrial. His band are well skilled and are equally as animated plying riff after riff to an adoring crowd of Numan addicts.

He relies much more on a the classic guitar, bass, drums, keys set up than Lewis and it did seem as if his music had more depth to it. The older material perhaps obviously got the best reception, the dirtier version of Cars made everyone go nuts, (power of advertising folks) but do prefer his more recent moodier, harder edged material that goes into the realms of Rammstein and KoRn at its heaviest. Just witness My Name Is Ruin and you'll see it's a future classic, but we also got Metal, Down In The Park, Mercy, Love Hurt Bleed and the main set ended with always warmly received A Prayer For The Unborn.

To stop the 80's stuff standing out as lighter it gets a sonic overhaul on the loudness front but it is noticeably more melodic and danceable as the countless shapes being thrown proved. Blinded and deafened we were taken through much of Numan's career and for a first show of the tour it was a polished performance all round. Gary Numan and Depeche Mode are the flag bearers for this music and for both of them to be going strong and really hitting hard like a boot to the face is an odd joy to behold. Are friends electric? I still don't know but they certainly can pound out a tune, I urge you check this tour out on one of the remaining dates as you won't regret it.

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