GARY NUMAN + NIGHTMARE AIR – ASSEMBLY HALL, WORTHING 19.7.18
Gary Numan has been in the limelight for 40 years now and shows no sign of waning. Amazingly in all of that time, he has never played a concert in Worthing. He has regularly visited Brighton, but on this mini ‘Savage’ tour, Worthing got the lucky ticket.
The evening was kicked off by an American trio who go by the name of Nightmare Air. Strangely enough the bands personnel is made up of Dave Dupuis, who is Gary Numan’s Tour Manager, his girlfriend Swaan Miller and their friend Jimmy Lucido, who is Numan’s drum tech.
The closeness to Numan has been a mainstay of his musical career as he trusts those close to him, with his sadly departed mum Beryl Webb having run his fan club for many years, his dad Tony Webb being Gary’s manager for 30 years. His brother John was also in his band for some time back in the day and Gary’s uncle Jess Lidyard was the Tubeway Army drummer. These days it’s one of his lovely daughters Persia Numan, who features on his latest excellent album ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’. Mind you, I did note that during Gary’s performance of ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ in Worthing that one of his other young ladies, Echo, had positioned herself in the doorway at the back of the stage where she was jumping around with her homemade cardboard guitar and Nash The Slash headgear. No doubt waiting to get in on things in the future! His other daughter is called Raven, no doubt she will get involved at some stage.
Anyway, back to Nightmare Air, who hail from Detroit and Los Angeles, where Numan is now based, having fled from Waldron in East Sussex a few years ago. Nightmare Air got their name from a skateboard move from an 80’s skate film and they melted the hearts of the West Sussex crowd with their meticulously layered boy-girl harmonies, pulsing pop synths, psych noise loops and glam soaked walls of guitars. They went down very well indeed and seemed to fit in nicely with the current Numan sound. The fans most appreciated the lead tune from their current album called ‘Fade Out’, probably as it has distinctive Numan-esque keyboards on it. I would suggest that Nightmare Air are the rougher sister of Lola Dutronic, Marsheaux or Tiny Magnetic Pets. I also rather like Nightmare Air’s songs ‘Way We Fall’ and ‘Escape’, which both deliver rather nicely thank you.
The Worthing Assembly Hall gig was one of three warm up shows for Gary Numan in July leading up to the Bluedot Festival performance on 21st July. The other warm up shows on this mini ‘Savage’ tour were Holmfirth Picturedrome on 18th July and The Anvil in Basingstoke on 20th July.
It came as absolutely no surprise that his West Sussex jaunt had indeed sold out. It was pleasing to see many new faces attending the concert, instead of the usual Numan suspects. It seems as though a great deal of punters had come back out of the woodwork, having seen him back in his 1979-1981 heyday and were now here to see what he is doing now.
If people were expecting just the crisp synth sound found on Gary’s number one smash hit ‘Cars’, then they were in for a shock, as he omitted it from tonight’s gig, which it has to be said that this is a rare occurrence, and that Gary’s modern sound in more akin to the likes of Nine Inch Nails. But to be honest, when looking around at the many punters behind me, I couldn’t see any bemused faces, just those of joy.
Gary and his industrial bandmates performed an initial 15 song career spanning set followed by a couple of encore tunes. We had everything from his very first Tubeway Army single release ‘That’s Too Bad’ from 1978, right up to current single ‘When The World Comes Apart’.
The 2017 single ‘My Name Is Ruin’ is fast becoming a big crowd favourite, not only because it’s arguably the best tune found on Gary’s current ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album, but the fact that his daughter Persia joins dad on vocals.
Gary is famed for his spectacular lightshows, most famously that of his 1981 Wembley Arena farewell concerts, and the Worthing punters were still enthralled with the fast paced lightshow. Looks very impressive, but a mare to grab a few shots, unless you are an expert like my mate Andy from Brightlightspix.
One final blast of ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and that was it, it was all over, ended just as we were really getting into it. Oh well, we will try and catch him again in early 2019 when he’s coming back from Los Angeles to Bognor Regis. Hmmmm not got the same ring to it does it? Anyway, check out his forthcoming Rockaway Beach festival appearance here: http://www.rockawaybeach.co.uk/
Numan’s Worthing setlist reads:
‘Pressure’ (from 2006 ‘Jagged’ album)
‘Halo’ (from 2006 ‘Jagged’ album)
‘The Fall’ (from 2011 ‘Dead Son Rising’ album)
‘Metal’ (from 1979 ‘The Pleasure Principle’ album)
‘Mercy’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Everyday I Die’ (from 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘Me, I Disconnect From You’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘Pray For The Pain You Serve’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Here In The Black’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘My Name Is Ruin’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘Down In The Park’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
‘Everything Comes Down To This’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘Love Hurt Bleed’ (from 2013 ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind’) album)
‘My Jesus’ (from 2000 ‘Pure’ album)
‘When The World Comes Apart’ (from 2017 ‘Savage (Songs From A Broken World)’ album)
‘That’s Too Bad’ (from bonus disc on 1978 ‘Tubeway Army’ album)
‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ (from 1979 ‘Replicas’ album)
If you enjoy synth music like the Gary Numan, then the chances are that you will also enjoy the bands listed below. Simply click on each of the names and they will take you to our concert reviews on those bands:
Fröst, The Human League, Blancmange, The KVB, Digitalis, Battery Operated Orchestra, Halo Maud, Sextile, Orbital, Pinkshinyultrablast, B-Movie, Covenant, AK/DK, Blue Hawaii, OMD, The Fin., Heaven 17, Austra, Vile Electrodes.