Gary Numan – Dead Son Rising Tour
September 17th 2011 – Shepherds Bush Empire
Reviewer: Steve Fearon
There was a feeling of anticipation before this gig unlike anything I had experienced before. I got chatting to the couple in front of me who were from ‘oop north’ (Northern England to non UK Readers) and after 30+ years of listening to Gary Numan had decided to come down to London to see him in his home turf for the first time!
There was considerable suspense surrounding the Dead Son Rising tour, from the constant delays and rumours that plagued its creation, to the confusion over what Ade Fenton’s exact role was in this instance and how much impact he would have to the final product.
All of this meant that no one was really sure what to expect, and this added a little mystery to proceedings.
Fortunately for me, my pre-ordered album arrived on the morning before I left, so I was able to have a cursory listen to it, and I was interested to hear how the more experimental tracks would fare as live material.
Opening the night was up and coming Electrorocker Jayce Lewis, who I confess to not knowing of until I saw he would be the main support on this tour, but I have taken the time to listen to some of his stuff, and I was very much looking forward to how he got on.
Jayce’s sound is a mixture of contemporary Industrial rock and 80’s new wave, with big vocals reminiscent of Duran Duran ringing out over some Fear Factory-esque Riffage.
Jayce is clearly a very talented musician, giving a fantastic vocal performance and interspersing an energetic set with some outstanding extra percussion and guitar parts, but from where I was standing the mix was horrible.
I wasn’t able to work out if I was just in an area with poor acoustics, or whether the sound guy was asleep at the wheel, but everything seemed very muddy, which didn’t help an artist looking to make the most of his chance in front of a prospective audience.
However despite a few less than charitable remarks from the less patient members of the crowd, at the end of the set, Jayce went off to a warm applause, and im sure we will hear more of Jayce Lewis.
I moved down to the center middle of the standing crowds to hopefully improve upon what I was getting to hear, and eagerly awaited the man himself.
He is a lot happier looking than the Numan of old, smiling and generally looking like he is really enjoying himself on stage, and this energy transmits to his adoring fans.
Here are some of my thoughts about the set:
"The Fall’" sounded immense and I think there is an outside chance that with a bit of PR and a bit of luck, that could be a top 20 track. Its probably the poppiest song Numan has written in 15-20 years.
"When The Sky Bleeds He Will Come" was a track I wasn’t sure about when I first heard it, but it has developed into one hell of a tune. You can see Numan’s taste for nasty guitars and some downright dirty synths at times.
"Big Noise Transmission" is an epic tune although not perhaps on the same scale as "Pure"or "In A Dark Place". It has all the key elements of a Numan live song, and is a great one to sing along with.
"We Are The Lost" struggled as a live track in my opinion, as its ethereal qualities were lost in a live space, and even the band and Numan himself seemed ill at ease whilst performing it.
There was also a track from Splinter named "Everything Comes Down To This" which I had heard at the Troxy gig earlier in the year, and at the time was a little disappointed with. However the track has improved since then and now feels MASSIVE.
The usual suspects of "Cars" and an alternate dynamic version of "Are Friends Electric" were saved for the encore, and have the masses singing their hearts out (myself included), and the inclusion of the updated live versions of classic tracks "I Die, You Die", "Everyday I Die" and "Noise Noise" went down like a storm.
Numan was his usual self, throwing himself around the stage, putting so much passion into each song, that you daren’t not sing too! There were a couple of iffy moments where things seemed to slip slightly out of time momentarily on a couple of songs, but nothing that was detrimental to the good time everyone was having.
Ultimately, despite a few slightly sloppy moments, and the odd inclusion of "We Are The Lost", I think everyone left pretty happy, and the atmosphere was border line euphoric in there at times.
As ever Gary Numan’s critics accuse him of following Reznor’s lead, more so than ever with Dead Son Rising (and with some justification)…however, even Reznor would be hard pressed to top this performance.
Now if Gary can just get Splinter (next album) out without another 5 year wait.
Gary Numan: The Fall Live September 17th, 2011
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