Friday 13th is generally a portent of doom for those of a superstitious nature. Luckily, there was nothing but good vibes and happy faces in the environs of Manchester’s Academy as Gary Numan and his band of desert warriors pitched up for the evening. Another reason for the jubilant air was that Numan’s newest album, Savage (Songs from a Broken World), had recently debuted at number 2 in the UK album charts and proved, once more, that the electro-new wave pioneering industrial rocker has no intention of hanging up the instruments just yet.
Providing support duties for the UK run of shows is Wales’ own Jayce Lewis and the simple way to put this is, he was great. Lewis has quite a back story; an ex-welder who was managed by David Prowse (yes, Darth Vader!), his self-produced 2009 single “Icon” catapulted him to stardom in India and Asia and he has collaborated with various members of Queen, including Brian May on his soon to be released 3rd album Million.
Taking to the stage tonight, looking like a slightly healthier version of Woodstock’94 Trent Reznor, it’s clear from the first song why this isn’t Lewis’ first time on tour with Gary Numan. His sound is a mixture of industrial rock with a hint of Fear Factory tech-metal and a liberal smattering of electronica beats. But don’t let my mangled description put you off, their live sound is huge and worth your time and ears. Go see them live to witness for yourself and pick up Million when it’s released on October. 27th.
The re-incarnation of Gary Numan as an industrial rock icon has been a joy to watch and the proof is in the pudding, or, in this case, in the ticket and album sales. By the time Numan and band take the stage to the first strains of “Ghost Nation”, the venue is packed to the back doors and the sense of anticipation is palpable. And the Numanoids didn’t have to wait long for their catharsis as Metal flowed into “The Fall” and the combination of the beefy sound and the powerful light show threatened to overwhelm the senses. What followed over the next 90 or so minutes was a band at the top of their game and enjoying completely what they get to do each night.
There’s no filler in a Gary Numan show, no proclamations that X city is better than Y city, no lengthy speeches about politics or presidents, just a headlong charge through songs that do all the talking. Tracks from 8 different albums get an airing, including “Down in the Park”, “Remind Me to Smile”, “Splinter”, “My Name is Ruin” and, personal favourite, “A Prayer for the Unborn”. “Are Friends Electric?” rounds off the evening and with the doors opening to let in some very welcome fresh air, it is indeed time to leave.