“I’ve been waiting here for you I’ve been waiting far too long“ mouths a giant set of luscious gothic lips on the video backdrop, as Gary Numan embarks on a mammoth career spanning set of dystopian electronica, industrial metal and drum and bass in a heaving Button Factory. Unfortunately the use of dry ice sets the venues fire alarm off and a constant ringing sound can be heard between songs and throughout the performances lighter moments. The venue was at full capacity (perhaps even a little over) and the heat generated by Numan’s passionate supporters was almost unbearable. No doubt a larger venue would have been preferable but the adverse conditions certainly didn’t effect his performance.
Written off by critics as he struggled to find himself post New Wave stardom, Numan’s career lurched from persona to persona before eventually coming of age in a drum and bass industrial metal sphere long before either became fashionable. Now in his 50′s he looks more assured than ever striding the stage and lapping up the endless applause. No doubt his resurgence is partly down to his voice obtaining a smoother growl with age which adds an authoritarian weight to his dystopian lyrics.
A re-imagined rock version of Metal from 1979′s ‘Pleasure Principle’ is an early highlight transplanting the song towards David Bowie’s heavier art rock output and sees the first use of Numan’s signature Moog sound. The impressive throbbing bass and keyboard riffs are in free flow with each song seemingly better than the one before. A rendition of Bombers from Numan’s original punk band Tubeway Army whips the audience of die-hard fans into a frenzy. Call Out The Dogs is another sing along highlight.
Synth heavy fan favourite This Wreckage bizarrely gives the crowd the opportunity to sing along to the Japanese lyrics of the chorus which translate to “Goodbye Forever”, it’s a strangely joyous experience for such a profoundly sad phrase. Similarly I Die, You Die’s dark subject matter is visceral and empowering. We Are Glass continues the feelgood synth pop juxtaposed against bleak lyrics. An emphatic encore which featured signature tracks Cars and Are Friends Electric saw the audience screaming every word and living every beat, with Are Friends Electric particularly spine tingling.