Gary Numan was at the Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne. There, amidst the neon buzzing of the Joseph Kosuth show A Short History of my Thought, you could hear the intro to a Gary Numan song, the magnificent droning prelude before 20th-century analogue synths kick in.
The Joseph Kosuth show is a whole collection of neon signs, with text, a couple quoting Samuel Beckett. And the buzzing neon hum had a resonance and tone that was also reminiscent of the sonic textures generated by Ollie Olsen of Taipan Tiger Girls.
As part of Melbourne Music Week (MMW), the Melbourne Town Hall became a virtual multi-level beehive of activity as bands and labels took over many of the magnificent rooms on the same day that Gary Numan played The Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco, California.
For the photographer who helps produce The Pub Show podcast, Robert Carbie Warbie, two of the highlights were Tyrannamen, rocking out in an intimate niche of the subterranean section of Town Hall, and the majestic Underground Lovers playing with the Grand Organ in the Hall of the Mountain King.
An inspiring selection of musicians embraced the ambiance oozing from the old Town Hall. HTRK rocked out the Main Hall the chanteuse resplendent in an Issey Miyake T-Shirt (instead of the classic HTRK logo T-Shirt). Kudos to Rockin’ The Laneways and the City of Melbourne.
Some say that Taipan Tiger Girls Greville Street records Instore show in 2016 was one of the best gigs of that year. At the Miscellanea Event for MMW at Melbourne Town Hall, Taipan Tiger Girls went into interstellar overdrive, beyond the guitar relayers, travelling through the solar system at 44 kilometres per second.
Lisa Mystic Eyes MacKinney was at the Grand Organ, Bonnie Mercer (Zond) was the extra special Taipan Tiger Girls guitar guest, Ollie Olsen was at the synths, maybe channeling the light signatures of the extrasolaire object Oumuamua that was travelling through our solar system at the time of this show.
Astronomers were in overdrive mode over this interstellar cigar, and Taipan Tiger Girls music is the sound to listen to for the astronomical observers.
Mat Watson was propelling this brilliant ellipsoid musical craft on the drumkit. This was a transformative, auto-illuminescent set, a hyperbolic sonic delight.
Some moments later, Gary Numan took to the stage at the Fillmore Theatre, San Francisco, California on Sunday, November 19. His new album Savage is a collection of material that is a strong piece of work, galvanising his old synth machine era sound circa Living Ornaments tour and his more industrial dystrophic songs of his latter career. It is a tremendous cohesive work, aligned with a visual representation that is akin to the costume and set designers of Mad Max 2.
Ghost Nation is the song he opens with at this full-house show and this is the gateway song for Numan fans to get into his new material. This is followed by Metal, from The Pleasure Principle album. His daughter Persia appeared on stage to sing My Name is Ruin, a triumphant performance – the centrepiece song – and father and daughter embraced on stage afterwards.
The light show is phenomenal. Numan has always been one for lavish sets and lighting design, – apt for his dystrophic frayed yearning for optimism HG Wells-esque-ish vibe.
Banks of side lighting flank the stage and Numan places himself between light and shadow during the show with great effect. A tour de force performance. The encore was the epochal Are ‘Friends’ Electric.
Numan has many admirers amongst musicians, such as Cliff Burton and Fear Factory as well as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails who found inspiration in Numan’s music.
Reznor wrote Hurt, a song that Johnny Cash recorded. And at the Tex Perkins The Man In Black Johnny Cash Show at The Athenaeum Theatre starring of course Tex Perkins, their version of Hurt is one of the transformative highlights of a great show.
Another sublime moment arrived when Tex Perkins sat stage left and sang The Beast In Me, accompanied by the exceptional Matt Walker on guitar. No faking the emotion here.
Perhaps drawing on his memories of the biblical 1974 Brisbane flood, Tex Perkins was total authenticity when singing How High’s the Water Mama. The second half of the show, when The Tennessee 4 and Tex and Rachel Tidd perform the Folson Prison Blues set is when the show kicks into high gear.
Tex Perkins is superb, and one can imagine Johnny Cash singing The Beasts of Bourbon song Psycho.
Tex is a great crooner, and he has a deep respect for Johnny Cash, and this is hand in glove stuff.
Rachel Tidd is a beautiful singer. She does the June Carter Cash parts justice, and The Tennessee 4 is a ripping, cracking band and the show ticked all the boxes, from Jackson to the reprise of Ring of Fire.