TVD Live Shots:
Gary Numan at the Roundhouse, 10/26

I’ve always been a casual fan of Gary Numan over the years, and then I moved to the UK. Not only is he the godfather of electronic music, a composer, producer, badass guitar player, and incredible frontman, he’s elevated himself to demi-god status in London.

While most of us know him for his groundbreaking ’80s staple “Cars,” there’s so much more to this guy than many of us give him credit. I mean, yeah, he pretty much single-handedly invented an entirely new genre with the release of the near-perfect synth juggernaut The Pleasure Principle in 1979, but he also puts on one of the most epic live shows I’ve ever seen.

This is one of those gigs where I go into it thinking I know Gary Numan, but then come out having gone down the rabbit hole of this guy’s insanely impressive career. Starting with the new wave band Tubeway Army before going solo after two UK chart-topping releases, it was time for Numan to introduce his genius to the world in the form of his debut. The Pleasure Principle gave the world a glimpse into the future and primed the world for synth music to take center stage in the ’80s. Its legacy would go on to influence not only Nine Inch Nails and pretty much the entire industrial and electronica movement, but hip hop too.

I attended the second night of two sold-out jam-packed gigs at London’s legendary Roundhouse in Camden. This was my first time seeing Numan live, and it was quite the spectacle. Numan is sixty-one years old but has the energy and stage presence of a young Trent Reznor and his finest, angriest moments. This works perfectly with the futuristic goth-punk wasteland theme of the lights and staging which push the songs and the atmosphere over the top.

The setlist was a proper 40th anniversary celebration of Numan’s extensive catalogue. Not playing any favorites, only two songs from The Pleasure Principle, the 22 songs (17 with a five-song encore) pulled equally from a slew of albums past and present. We were even treated with a couple of Tubeway Army classics.

Bottom line: Gary Numan dazzles with his live show and the music holds up perfectly, if not actually sounding better supported by today’s technology. Numan has always been ahead of his time, but now that technology has finally caught up to his vision—he’s exactly where he needs to be with plenty more to say.

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