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Gary Numan, O2 Institute, Birmingham - review with pictures

By Rebecca Stanley | Entertainment | Published:

In support of his brand new album Savage: Songs From A Broken World, electro pioneer Gary Numan brought his brand new headline tour to Birmingham's O2 Institute.

Queues wound round the streets of Digbeth from the front door of the O2 venue, nearly all the way to the Custard Factory - with an electric buzz filling the air as the sell-out crowd waited to pile through the doors.

First up to wow the crowd was Welsh musician Jayce Lewis - complete with a dazzling light show and his name emblazoned on a space-age neon light box.

The dazzling special effects did not compensate for a lesser sound, as Lewis and his band - completed by two bass players and a drummer - unleashed amazing song after song packed full of grungy vocals, ear-piercing synth, doom-filled bass lines and pounding drums.

Despite their dread-inducing sound, Jayce Lewis and crew had a warm and welcoming demeanour when addressing the crowd - frequently asking the crowd if they were excited for the headline act, and channelling this excitement into their own set.

Perfectly polished and energetic, Jayce Lewis is a force to be reckoned with - and an act I would encourage any music fan to see.

Gary Numan. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

LED walls lit up with images of fire and the lights of the O2 Institute were dimmed. An ominous crescendo of synth marked the entrance of the king of electro himself - Gary Numan.

Taking to the stage in a khaki mesh jumper and trousers as if he was plucked straight from the cover of his brand new album - Numan stormed in to brand new track Ghost Nation in a blaze of flashing lights, burning imagery and powerful vocals that left the audience flabbergasted.

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It may seem unusual to say that someone could ooze charisma in every moment they were on stage, despite not uttering a single word to the crowd in an hour and a half - but Gary Numan had the crowd in the palm of his hand from start to finish, with just the flick of a smile and brush of his jet black hair.

The lack of audience interaction allowed each song to bleed into one another - creating a lucid, dreamy, aural landscape that Numan led the eager audience across.

Tracks from his latest album showed that Numan was still top of his game - with the likes of Mercy, The End of Things, and hit single My Name is Ruin causing the whole room to erupt into dance.

Numan allowed the music to take over his body - as he wound like a charmed snake to the loud synth and moody guitar solos.

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Gary Numan. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

These tracks were weaved alongside an impressive set of songs taken from across his discography - featuring the likes of number one singles Are 'Friends' Electric? and Cars.

Both of these songs sounded as perfect as they would played on any radio station - as Numan's powerful vocals and pure showmanship executed these immensely popular songs in perfect fashion.

Other fan favourite tracks in the set included the rousing We Are Glass, gritty single Metal as well as deep and dark track A Prayer for the Unborn - all of which had the audience singing along and imitating Numan's mesmerising movements as he controlled his backing band with the simplest flick of the finger, cross of the arms and pulse of the body.

The crowd begged for an encore with chants of "Numan!" ringing across the venue, and he did not disappoint as he closed his electric set with We Are Glass and 'Are Friends' Electric?

Gary Numan is an artist I could watch for hours on end - everything about his performance is simply hypnotic and has allowed him to remain at the top of his game for over 40 years.

Numan cemented this status once more last night in Birmingham, as he delivered a simply dazzling set that no one in the audience will be able to forget any time soon.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_native

Entertainment journalist for Native Monster, Express & Star & Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@nativemonster.co.uk

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