Concert Review: Gary Numan

Hard Rock Live, March 7

Photo by Glenn Brogan

Photo by Glenn Brogan

Erase the late 70s stoic distant stare and robotic minimalism from your Memorex mind and replace it with a thicket of guitars and the chittering underbrush of an electric haunting. At midnight, Numan writhed on stage and into the first minute of his 56th year with an encore that included the starkly appropriate “I Die, You Die” and “My Last Day.”

Simply put, Splinter: Songs from a Broken Mind wears only the tatters of his old stripped-down synth pop, and all for the better. His singular big hit, “Cars,” blew past in a reworking that left the original keyboard a vestigial tail on newly muscular monster.

We believe it when Numan sings, “I believe in the cruelty of man/I believe in all of the hopeless and lost” and are vivisected by the scalpel-edged dissonant build on songs like “Here in the Black” and “Everything Comes Down to This” and the inescapable heavy drops that follow, crushing and violent and altogether cathartic. ★★★★☆