Unlike the some of his contemporaries from the ’80s, synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan has never stopped moving forward. Some three-and-a-half decades after his peak of popularity he continues pushing the envelope with his new material, refusing to rest on his laurels. He spent much of the last two years touring in support of his well received 2012 album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). But now he’s ready to spend a little time looking back at a few of his most impressive accomplishments. Numan will play three shows, from September 29 to October 1, with each night dedicated to playing a different classic album from his catalog in its entirety.
The Teragram in L.A. will be the site for this celebration of Numan’s most beloved albums. This Friday at 10 A.M. PST tickets will go on sale for the shows. 1979’s Replicas, which includes “Are ‘Friends’ Electric” and “Me! I Disconnect From You,” was Numan’s first blend of synths and post-punk. The same year’s The Pleasure Principle, featuring the smash “Cars,” made Numan a star. And 198o’s Telekon was his most nuanced album up to that point. Numan says, “I very rarely look back at past glories but, with these shows, I intend to not only look back, but to celebrate those early days. Without those songs and experiences I wouldn’t be here today.”
MOTOR are not a mild mannered, mirror-gazing electro unit. With their synthesisers played with knuckledusters and with a stellar guestlist of Gary Numan, Depeche Mode’s Martin L Gore and Billie Ray Martin, MOTOR’s Bryan Black and Oly Grasset take simple mechanics and pump them full of anti-preening agent (they save the catwalk soundtracks for their days off). They aren’t over-vamping with animosity either, but as with Martin on “Hyper Lust,” the warpath is bearing the brunt of their occupancy and shows pop doesn’t have to pretty in pink.
Hang on though, one skeptical observer asks, aren’t MOTOR cyber–punks? And, as with the Numan feature “Pleasure in Heaven” and Douglas McCarthy sounding like an Alice Cooper droid on “The Knife,” isn’t that old news?’ Well…quite simply MOTOR kick it louder than most, arming laptops with rocket launchers and proudly beating a Euro-rooted drum. Even if the CPU science can be a little oversimplified (“Autographic”), the theater of piano requiem “Auotmne” helps turn the whole piece into a board-treading compu-drama, stirring up digital emotions but always intense at whatever end of the scale. The title track, almost feeding Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” through a fibre-optic shredder, makes a stomping din revelling in arena-sized conditioning, and with the equally dominant “Control,” MOTOR have the potential to swallow stadia whole.
File under: The Japanese Popstars, Jimmy Edgar, The Presets