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A brief set of unrelenting stampede drumming/vocals and synth-driven thrash-beat established Bridgend brain-srambler, Jayce Lewis as a man and band to be reckoned with. Intriguing stage-side plasma screens psycho-screamed fractal, fractured images whilst Mr.Lewis, well, went a bit mental really within a blizzard of tribal beat and controlled electronica cacophony. The synth motifs and repetitive registers did, at times have a suggestion of Numan by proxy, but all warmly received and likewise acknowledged. The torch must burn on.

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Long ago, in times of innocent, analogue angst, electro-punk dystopian dynamo, Gary Numan, Tube Way Army’s alter-ego frontman, debuted on Top Of The Pops, 1979 with ‘Are Friends Electric’ and soon following with ‘Cars’.

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His Alice Cooper/Klaus Kinsky Nosferatu hybrid mascara looks and disembodied stage anti-presence both polarised and mesmerised in equal measure.

Here was ambiguous dystopia from an androgynous android who dreamt of friends electric. His hypnotic philippic ‘Cars’ satirising our womb-substitute automobile obsession suggested a fragmented future pact with J.G. Ballard and David Cronenberg – infinitely more hideous than that trinity of petrol-head Top Gear tossers who now plague the Queen’s highway.

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The Wulf has it’s belly capacity full tonight with many a Numanoid acolyte clutching either their fan-base/pre-release copies of latest album ‘Dead Son Rising’, or eager-eyed sons and daughters or both. Still clannishly loyal after these thirty years and a delightfully friendly crowd they are too.

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Three essential, indivisible dynamics defined tonight’s show, four actually. The crowd fully gunned-up for an alt.Metal racket, the stunning light-fest phantasmagoria that saw horizontal blades of scrolling intensity suggesting a close encounter with a pill-popping alien mother-ship. Mr. Numan, stage-wrestlingly fit and lithe. And then there’s the back-projections and punters have to have a little think about those. Female, nude crucifixions with crown-of-thorns eroto-brutalism might be one interpretation set against Stonehenge slabs of drum and earthquake bass with the ubiquitous ‘Numan’ signature Spartan riffs. The film-cell cubist montage of news-reel apocalyptic horrors graphically juxtaposed ‘This Is Absolution’. Disturbingly apposite within the contemporary context of mankind’s perpetual endeavor to ‘burn the prophets of reason.’ The digital porn ultimatum of Ballard’s Atrocity Exhibition writ large as 24 hour breaking-news.

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‘Dead Son Rising’, by way of contrast, had a more reflective ambience with screens of journeys through the Solar System. ‘Everything Comes Down To This’ seethed before a fractured collage projection of mutilated faces as though Francis Bacon had head-butted a stained-glass window at speed, or even on it.

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Inevitably, encore-time had to be ‘Cars’ in all its anthemic, soaring splendour and bull-dozer instrumental blitz beat. And how subtle was it to have the sparse, haunting refrain of ‘Friends Electric’ echo poignantly with a grand-piano setting? With the crowd ‘Ooh oohing’ to the climax, fingers triumphantly punching the air in metronomic unison and stage-bows full of smiles – Mr.Numan became human and the world a better place for it.

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Setlist (thanks to desk-crew, may vary from actual performance) and Big G: Resurrection/Down In The Park, The Fall, Haunted, When The Sky Bleeds, Films, Big Noise Transmission, Pure, Dead Son Rising, Every Day I Die, We Are The Lost, Absolution, For The Rest Of MY Life, Noise,Noise, Everything Comes Down To This, Jagged, I Die You Die.
(Encore) Cars, My Shadow In Vain, Are Friends Electric.

Gary Numan Review by John Kennedy
Gary Numan Photos by Ian Dunn

One Response to “Gary Numan + Jayce Lewis @ Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK – 18 September 2011”

  1. stefano Says:

    http://vimeo.com/41150217

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