Gary Numan - 53 Degrees Preston - 22.4.06

Affectionately name checked on The Mighty Boosh, a major influence on Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and Bon Jovi (I lied about the last one - see how I tease like a Swedish Strumpet). Gary Numan has returned with new album "jagged" much to the fervent excitement of his fans who go by the name of numanoids, his first new album since "Pure" which made Gary a credible artiste again praised to high heaven by critics and serious music aficionados alike. Playing the city for the first time in nearly twenty years Numan will no doubt be welcomed like a long lost son.

There's plenty of beautiful goths in tonight and the women look mighty fine too. Amongst the die hard fans are younger more curious creatures eager to experience a living legend. Chants of "Numan" shouted in a football terrace style from the crowd and dry ice (how 80s is that?) creating an atmosphere of mystique as the menacing intro music and moody lighting sees a youthful
but petite pop pioneer by the name of Gary Numan strutting on stage like a plucky young cocky upstart (quite an achievement considering this dark prince of electro is two years shy of 50).

Opening with "Pressure" which has an industrial feel with two synth players, a great rock guitarist and the biggest drum kit ever seen that gives it a rhythmic primal thrust perfectly primed for the murky disturbing music. Numan's vocals, although Bowiesque with a nasal delivery, is passionate and powerful. Adorned head to toe when he stands still he's the epitome of cool, but when he starts head banging in a mannered, slightly awkward way - a vision of a dodgy family member at a wedding is embedded in your mind. "My Shadow In Vain" and "Dark Place" are both chilling with Numan still embracing new technology as electronica meets rock with refreshingly honest lyrics and melodies which really get under your skin.

The title track of Gary's latest release "Jagged" chills you to the bone with its hypnotic and masterful strokes of gothic brilliance with Mr Numans icy stare a timely reminder of his serious mindset. Even his hit single with the Tubeway Army "Are Friends Electric" is given a creepy and downright eerie reworking, slowed down, then beefed up for the chorus which everyone
sings with appropriate gusto. Yet with two encores and the Numanoids in a state of ecstasy I remain disappointed and cheated that there was no sign of "Cars". I know he's moved on since that period, but to dismiss it completely from his setlist is a foolish move. Without "Cars" it just felt incomplete.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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