CRAIG HAMMONS: Gary Numan Electrifies at Teragram Ballroom

Gary Numan - Photo by Craig Hammons
Gary Numan - Photo by Craig Hammons


Gary Numan rolled through town in support of his brilliant new album Savage: Songs from a Broken World with two sold-out shows at The Teragram Ballroom and one at the Observatory in Orange County.   Numan’s career is now going on 40 years with 22 solo albums and he shows no signs of slowing down.

The opening act on this leg of the US Tour is Me Not You.  They were enjoyable but forgettable.  I lent them an active ear but was bored before their set was done.  They need more emphasis on their sound as it all seemed to run together and some stage presence would help.

Savage: Songs From a Broken World is Gary Numan's new album - Photo by Craig Hammons
Savage: Songs From a Broken World is Gary Numan’s new album – Photo by Craig Hammons

But tonight was all about the electric android Gary Numan.  Once the clocked ticked 9 p.m., the stage filled with smoke and the band entered through the smokey dim light that circled the stage.   Then without introduction the band rips into the opening track “Ghost Nation” from the new album Savage.  The sound was loud and crystal clear and the floor shook with each note.  As the first song ended without skipping a beat they went right into one of Numan’s strongest songs “Metal” from The Pleasure Principal.  The lights, lasers, and smoke was out of control as Numan commanded the stage like it was his own personal space ship.

Gary Numan at The Teragram Ballroom - Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons
Gary Numan at The Teragram Ballroom – Photo © 2017 Craig Hammons

Tonight’s show would showcase seven songs from the Savage album. We were all right with that as it’s a strong and powerful album with a statement on the world we live in today and how it may look in the near future.  Gary is not one to address the audience at any time during the show.  He prefers to fully immerse himself into the set sometimes appearing somewhat possessed as he throws himself around the stage like a puppet with no backbone. They played songs from the early era like “Films” and “Down in the Park” from the Tubeway Army Days. “Here in the Black” was dark and heavy with Numan raising his arms in the air as if he was connecting to a higher power. The older songs were updated and heavier to blend in with his current musical vision.

Returning to the new album they stormed into “Pray for the Pain You Serve,” “When the World Comes Apart” and “Mercy.”  The songs from the new album sounded much stronger live and fit well with the older material. The crowd of Numanoids, industrial metal heads and new fans who didn’t know him then but know everything about him now.  My favorite track off the new album “My Name is Ruin” was next.  During the Los Angeles shows Gary’s 12-year-old daughter, Persia, came out to sing the chorus with him. The crowd went wild as the opening riff to his hit single “Cars” was next.  They punched this one up to give it a powerhouse punch.  Eat your heart out Nine Inch Nails.

The set closed with “A Prayer for the Unborn” from “Pure.”  As the song finished Gary walked out to the edge of the stage and smiled, bowed and disappeared into smoky darkness.  It took no time to bring out this band of electronic pioneers back to the stage for a 3 song encore going back to 1979 starting with “M.E.” from The Pleasure Principal and ending out the night with the spine tingling “Are Friends Electric” a song about a robot prostitute.

We were all electric tonight as my ears were still buzzing from the ripping guitars, killer pounding beats and heavy synths that shook us all to our knees.