Synth pioneer and New Wave icon Gary Numan played Webster Hall last Tuesday and bewitched the packed venue with his trademark thickly menacing sonic soundscapes, enchantingly deep and dark vocals, and wildly alluring swagger while playing some of the best songs of his career both past and present. Gary became experimental electronic royalty in the late 70’s with his ground-breaking group the Tubeway Army, but after over 20 studio albums as a solo act he has amassed and amazing team of edgy musicians including Steve Harris on guitar, David Brooks on keyboards, and Tim Slade on bass, with powerhouse drummer Jimmy Lucido being the only recent addition. All of the industrial goth priests playing in the band including Gary himself were attired in raggedy “Dune” meets “Mad Max” costumes that they sported for his last tour in support of the 2021 release Intruder, but this time out he isn’t supporting any new albums, so he dove into the classics and deep cuts alike head first, and yet his mesmerizing sound and enchanting presence felt even edgier and more vital than ever.
Local favorite experimental stage-smashing hellraisers A Place To Bury Strangers opened the show with a set bathed in strobe light blasts and a mind-blowing wall of sound that redefines the power trio format as an alarming atomic bomb threesome. This opening slot is all part of their “Nothing Left to Destroy” tour that they kicked off headlining at Bowery Ballroom earlier this year, and then runs through June as they storm the stage in UK and Europe as well. The dynamic dualism found in the singer and frequent guitar smasher anarchist Oliver Ackermann and bad-ass bassist John Fedowitz is a wildly complimenting relationship that often only barely holds together the wildly out of control free jams for which the songs often devolve into. Those two wonderful weirdos are both now joined by drummer Sandra Fedowitz, who joined the lineup a couple years back, and who definitely proved her fireball kick-assery with every pounding drum charge, and she also showed herself to be a charming breath of fresh air as her beaming smiles throughout the set showed she truly loved rocking close to the edge. She even lead the way when they all came out to the middle of the floor mid-set to jam out with a deeply demonic and wondrously wild jam session material that had some strong satanic ceremony vibes and definitely conjured some disturbing specters that they battled to the bitter end of their set as they enviably dissembled and destroyed all lighting and strobe machines as well as musical equipment on the stage with a fury of hellfire few bands can effectively summon. This band is likely the kind of musical experience that will either change your life or send you running for the hills, but they will always leave a profoundly deep impression in you with their performances.
Far from the anarchy of the opener, Gary Numan’s set was finely orchestrated and mystically enchanting with thick arrays of mood lighting, some post apocalyptic costuming, and a movie-styled narrative style that almost certainly engineered in the lab to create super goths. Numan was in fine form, working the stage and beguiling the audience with embracing gestures and dramatic showmanship that made you realize this is an extremely well versed master of his craft that knows how to draw a crowd in without ever really dressing the audience with any prolonged monologues. Gary did play his giant new wave synth hit “Cars” mid-way through the show, but that almost seemed buried in a sea of deep cuts and classics that Gary did seem mystically enthusiastic about playing including “Down in the Park”, one of my big faves “Metal”, “My Name Is Ruin”, and the show-closing epic “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”.
Article: Dean Keim