Scenes From Last Night's Gary Numan Show at the Granada Theater.
There's no denying Gary Numan's pedigree as an electronic music pioneer. Ever since his early post-punk days in the synth-dependent Tubeway Army to his breakthrough 1979 smash electronic watermark single releases “Cars” and “Are 'Friends' Electric,” his reputation's been cemented. And adulation for his work has never really waned; there's a direct line to be made between Numan's breakthroughs and the so-obviously-influenced efforts of works of such Numan acolytes as Trent Reznor and the other, younger synth influencers of now.
Makes sense then, that, Reznor in particular has never been shy about promoting Numan's influence over his own catalog in Nine Inch Nails. And it's not exactly surprising that these two boundary-pushing music minds, in recent years, have started collaborating with one another.
What is interesting, however, is the clear influence that Reznor has in turn had over Numan's music. Look no farther than October's Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) for proof of that; gone are Numan's glam electric leanings, now fully replaced by a dark, more Nine Inch Nails-aping, industrial feel.
During Numan's stop at the Granada Theater last night while en route to SXSW in Austin, that aesthetic reigned supreme. Sure, “”Cars” and “Are 'Friends' Electric,” which Numan indeed performed, drew the largest responses from the large crowd on hand. But, for the most part, Numan highlighted his newer material.
Why? Because the guy's still growing as a musician, still trying out new things. Tough to blame him for that. Actually, he probably merits a remarkable amount of credit for that, if anything.