Gary Numan @ The Neptune Theatre w/Nightmare Air
Oct. 2, 2018 in Seattle, Wash.
Words and Photos by Stephanie Oster
Anyone with at least the smallest affinity for electronic music has Gary Numan to thank. The singer, songwriter, musician and composer made synthesizers a household name with his 1979 release The Pleasure Principle and its mega-hit “Cars.”
Since then, the UK artist has continually pushed the boundaries with instrumentation, composition, and live performance. His latest record, Savage, is a dark, dystopian, gothy, synthy pop treat. The Oct. 2 show itself, held on an Autumnal Tuesday night at one of my favorite venues, the Neptune Theater, was part of the tour for that album.
Openers Nightmare Air served up a wall of guitar riffs sprinkled with pulsing atmospheric synthesizers. They were awesome, but soon the theater became packed with one of the most interesting crowds I have seen at a Seattle show. Old, young, Goth, nerd…you name it, everyone seemed to come out of the woodwork for Numan. (It’s worth noting that there was a diverse and awesome collection of boots in the theatre as well.)
Numan has always been an oddity to watch, whether performing stiff and expressionless or moving around in yoga-like stretching movements, like he did on this particular night, Numan exudes a robotic weirdness that is undeniably dynamic. From the moment he burst onto the stage, clad in a tattered white muslin getup, the capacity crowd was feeling it… like, really feeling it.
I have been a Numan fan for years, but honestly, I was impressed that so many people knew the words to his new songs. (My fandom is more for his early work, so I’ll work on that.)
Also worth noting: one fan kept yelling…”Numan isn’t dead!”
I wasn’t sure why. Maybe he was alluding to the recent tragic tour bus incident, when Numan’s accidentally hit and killed a 91 year old man. Or maybe he was alluding to the recent resurgence of Numan’s popularity? Who knows, but clearly this show proved that, indeed, Gary Numan isn’t dead. People love him, people love to move their body in really weird ways to him, and people know all of the words to all of his songs, new and old.
For this long-time Numaoid, his performance at the Neptune felt incredible. The sound was great and his band brought it. They were tight, energetic, and delivered a wonderful performance. On top of that, his weirdness and crazy dancing are still intact. My fan girl Numanoidness is very happy that, after 39 years, Gary Numan is not only not dead, he puts on a great show.