Thirty-five years since pioneering the genre with his former band Tubeway Army, Gary Numan retains a haunting electromagnetism. Last year's Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) throbs with the android aura of neon-flecked alienation, a style that built Numan's rep and, however cartoonish it occasionally gets, always seems utterly, wonderfully sincere. The 50-something Numan still turns out sounds that wouldn't sound out of place on late-'70s Tubeway Army records: monophonic (if now software-generated) synths and bleak beats (though programmed rather than played, as on his early albums). He melds all this into introverted mini-operas replete with ominous guitars (some from NIN's Robin Finck) and Middle Eastern – ish melodic inflections. Onstage, the sallow, somber and lately L.A.-based Numan rocks harder than his recordings imply, with much humanoid input amidst his machine-fed mélange.
Thu., March 6, 8 p.m., 2014
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