Review: Gary Numan ignites the crowd at Northampton gig

Gary Numan. Picture: David Jackson
Gary Numan. Picture: David Jackson

Electronic music pioneer Gary Numan made a welcome return to the Roadmender this week as part of his 40th anniversary commemorative tour.

Appropriately titled (R)evolution, Tuesday’s show visited all parts of his career from the new wave of Tubeway Army to his more recent industrial leanings.

Gary Numan. Picture: David Jackson

Gary Numan. Picture: David Jackson

A palpable tension built as we awaited the arrival of Gary Numan following support set Kanga and when he appeared onstage, bathed in orange light, he garnered a hero’s welcome.

Against a backdrop of dystopian images Gary and his band opened with My Name is Ruin from his latest album Savage (Songs From a Broken World) and the capacity crowd went suitably wild.

We then travelled back to 1980 for Remind Me to Smile and even further still for Tubeway Army’s debut single, the punky That’s Too Bad.

The set was tailor-made for the Numan fan, being a mixture of hits and more obscure tracks even visiting his much-maligned albums Dance and Warriors.

Support band Kanga. Picture: David Jackson

Support band Kanga. Picture: David Jackson

While many artists would save tracks the calibre of Down in the Park and Cars for encores, Numan threw them in mid set, the latter of which ignited the audience and turned the Roadmender into a huge dance floor.

Backed by a four-piece band which includes local musician Tim Muddiman on bass, Gary’s show, despite the decades which separates many of the songs, ebbed and flowed perfectly as 2000’s A Prayer for the Unborn precedes set closer and Numan’s 1979 breakthrough number one hit single Are ‘Friends’ Electric.

The crowd demanded an encore and the band were happy to oblige with four tracks which include Voix and the mechanical nightmare Me! I Disconnect From You.

The new song debuted, Intruder, proved the night was a celebration rather than a conclusion before Jo the Waiter brought things full circle and ensured nobody left disappointed.

Tim Muddiman on bass. Picture: David Jackson

Tim Muddiman on bass. Picture: David Jackson