text by Gerrit Feenstra and Anna McClain
Our fourth guest in the KEXP Bumbershoot Music Lounge today kicked things off with some great tunes and a whole lot of nostalgia. Gary Numan pioneered his way through the late 70s and into the 80s with an electronic sound unlike any other. Part goth, part new-wave, part entirely his own, Gary Numan’s signature collection of heavy guitar met with electronic noise and melody made his music a milestone in the electronic genre, influencing the likes of Trent Reznor (who covered The Pleasure Principle’s “Metal” in the late 90s) and Basement Jaxx (who sampled “M.E.” for their crossover radio hit “Where’s Your Head At?”). As the 80s subsided into the 90s, Numan continued to brave uncharted territory, digging deeper into jazz and funk textures. In more recent years, age has given Numan new perspective and understanding. While his lyrics stay cryptic and exploratory, his sound has become increasingly broad, in one direction seeing more ambient influence and on the other end bringing out rockier notes.
From the massive global success of tracks like “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars” to the more intimate artistic ventures of the last decade, Numan remains an icon moving forward. Today, Numan hit us with his dark, combative side at the Music Lounge, treating us to a sampling of his post-2000s work, which includes four studio albums.
Wearing heavy black eyeliner, combat boots and with jet-black hair that took on a life of its own, Numan began by playing tracks from his upcoming album, Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind), and his 19th studio album, Dead Son Rising. The English icon played an intense rendition of synth-heavy fan favorite “Cars,” then transitioned into his latest single “Love Hurt Bleed.” Numan, with all of the moody stage presence of his youth, finished things off with tracks from 2000’s Pure and 2008’s A Prayer For the Unborn.