Gary Numan
o2 ABC, Glasgow
Four stars

And so the metamorphosis from electronic music pioneer to raging industrial rock god is complete.

Having only been in Glasgow last year playing songs from this first three solo albums, which Gary Numan has previously confessed to loathing, he is back with a set smothered with dark and fiesty new and newer songs further revealing his development since that 1979 introduction into the public consciousness with Are Friends Electric.

Gary Numan's cold android presence of his early years was often in the past compared crudely to David Bowie. A master immitator. A wannabe. A Kraftwerk copyist, even.

Even the Beatles borrowed from their influences and Numan with a fistful of toxic blockbusters from his cracking new album Savage: Songs From A Broken World to bludgeon in Glasgow was probably unwittingly paying homage to all his heroes in both dramatic posturing and in his array of soft-loud power chord tunes.


One of the differences in the paths of Numan and Bowie is that the electro genius has had dark periods of rejection, even oblivion with his heady late 70s and early 80s purple patch behind him and a public that had moved on.

Except there were those like Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails that had never forgotten and Numan's influence is all over the American industrial rocker's best work.

Numan has since the 90s been morphing into a proto-Reznor persona in all his moves and edgy guitars and noise-electro.


While Reznor twisted Numan's dramatic cinematic synth influences and turned them into a not dissimilar electro-rock hybrid, the Numan detractors can continue to see Gary Anthony James Webb as the magpie of the world's music legends.

For nearly an hour-and-a-half Glasgow is treated to new Numan, with an album that has reached number two in the charts and what a repetitively cold, dystopian, yet mesmerising display he puts on.

He may be close to 60, but the electro maestro thrusts and contorts through hypnotic new songs such as Ghost Nation and My Name is Ruin which tell his familiar tale of alienation with crucially an unerring ear for a killer earworm pop hook.

Numan and the band are draped in the kind of see-through Biblical light brown tunics that you would expect to come with Jesus sandals.

But as an atheist there is no evangelical message of hope from Numan particularly when he sings, "I belong here with the faithless, we are no one we are nothing at all", on Pray for the Pain You Serve.

The new song highlight is the dramatic When the World Comes Apart, whose bleak message is balanced by an uplifting arms aloft chorus and an orchestra of screaming synths that ends far to quickly. Its Moog-ish textures actually turn out to have more in common with classic Are Friends Electric than when he plays the song to sign off to the clearest sound of crowd rapture.

The seminal late 70s electro classic is drowned in bulldozing guitar shards and particles of electro noise, stripped of much of the soaring polymoog synth signatures which have been 'copied', sampled or borrowed by everyone from Sugababes to, yes, Young Fathers.

So the 'copyist' is himself the 'copied' and the loser?  No-one.