The legendary Gary Numan was in town last night with touring mates Nightmare Air. For a Sunday night, Canton Hall had a great crowd assembled. It wasn’t the most demographically diverse crowd, age-wise, but those who showed up adored the man behind the classic songs “Cars” and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”
Los Angeles’ Nightmare Air opened the show in front of a healthy-sized crowd. It’s always nice when there’s a good crowd on hand for the openers, who are often neglected by those arriving late just to see the headliner. For those there, they were treated to a fantastic set. The three-piece, alt-rock, post-punk, semi-shoegaze band delivered a wall of sound that didn’t undermine their great hooks and harmonies. Supporting their latest album Fade Out (due out 9.14.18), the band was finely tuned and determined to win over those unfamiliar with their material. Vocalist/bassist Swaan Miller and guitarist Dave Dupuis brought lots of energy to the set, jumping around and exchanging vocals, while drummer Jimmy Lucido held it all down behind them. Their balance of sonic overload and crisp songwriting is difficult to achieve, but they’ve got it down like few other bands of their ilk.
Gary Numan took the stage around 9:00 and instantly had the crowd amped up for his performance. Still touring in support of last years Savage: Songs from a Broken World, the man with 22 albums under his belt drew on a wide range of material. Obviously, five or six songs came from Savage and three from 2013’s Splinter: Songs from a Broken Mind, but there was plenty of classic material spread among the 17 song setlist. Not surprisingly, songs like “Films,” “Down in the Park,” and “Everything Comes Down to This” received the biggest response from the crowd. That said, Numan has continued to grow and evolve as an artist, as evident with his most recent material. But, the old songs fit perfectly alongside the newer material. While none of the classic were greatly reworked, they did have a sharper edge and seemed overall heavier than the original recordings. Case in point, “Cars” had a particular crunch to its rhythm that didn’t obscure it, rather made it more relevant than an obligatory addition to appease the old farts.
Backed by a digital screen that displayed various images that changed and morphed with the song, and a sometimes jarring light show, it all fit with the overall feel of the performance and served to enhance it, at times. Other times, the lights were a bit predictable. When a song would come to a brief pause before launching back into the chorus, the lights would go out and come back on with the chorus with a blinding affect. Honestly, I thought this got a little old. It was cool and effective the first time they did it, but it grew redundant. I don’t think anyone complained, in fact, it seemed most everyone on hand ate it all up. When the set closed with “Are ‘Friend” Electric?” the crowd coaxed him back out for a two-song encore.
If you’re a Gary Numan fan, you definitely need to check out this show. His band kicks ass and he hasn’t missed a step as a performer. Constantly moving and dancing about maniacally, he seemed as inspired as ever. The crowd fed off his energy, and likewise, the band seemed to feed off the crowd. If you plan on going to one of his upcoming gigs, get there early for Nightmare Air. They’re an excellent band who will surely grow their fan base with more excellent performances like the one they provided last night.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); DeLisa McMurray (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –
09/10 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theatre
09/11 – Kansas City, MO @ The Truman
09/13 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
09/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
09/16 – Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall
09/17 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
09/18 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
09/20 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
09/21 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
09/22 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
09/23 – Wilmington, DE @ The Queen
09/24 – Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
09/25 – Louisville, KY @ Headliner’s Music Hall
09/27 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
09/28 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
09/29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
10/01 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
10/02 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune
10/03 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
10/05 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365 Club
10/06 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre