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Gary Numan, Enmore Theatre 13/05/2011

Written by Mike Hohnen on May 16, 2011

Being but a twinkle in my fathers’ eye when Gary Numan released his hit single, Cars, one might think that his career would remain untracked by myself and many other ‘generation y’ers’. However, with more and more modern acts such as the Prodigy crediting their sound to Numan, I thought this was a show I should to see.

Up first was MOTOR, brought down from Europe just for the Sydney leg of the tour. MOTOR came out to a near empty room; set up the fluro lights, and began to mix some solid, heavy electro. It became very evident that no matter how comfortable and how energetic the French-American duet was, the crowd seemed unsure of how to handle them. To their credit, despite a somewhat awkward response MOTOR rocked it and seemed undeterred.

I couldn’t help but notice how quickly the room filled as fans gathered in anticipation for the main support, Severed Heads. Yet another band lost to me in the generational gap, these guys are often credited as the founding fathers of electronic music in Australia, and it soon became clear why. Best known for their 1984 ‘Dead Eyes Opened’, these middle aged electronic maestros seemed unaware that they were middle aged and seemed more than comfortable partying on stage. Backed by intriguing, and sometimes disturbing visuals, their set was strong, and would’ve put many a younger performer to shame.

To his credit, Gary Numan came on stage in an understated, modest manner, not the high glitz over the top entrance I was expecting from the Godfather of Industrial Music. Playing songs from his chart-topping 1979 album The Pleasure Principle, Numan got strong response from the audience, many of whom insisted on singing all of the words to every song – though rarely in the right key. Their persistence continued as the band swapped keyboards and synths for guitars and belted out the much heavier, darker side of Numan’s material. Truly, he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, and a few meek but definite smiles showed that Gary was enjoying the experience as much as we were.

Numan put on a great show; stylish, tight and dynamic – much like his career. The Enmore was packed, and Numan was mesmerizing throughout the entire 2 plus some hours. A true performer deserving of all of the accolades he has ever received, I’m grateful for the pleasure of seeing a true legend in the flesh.

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