Gary Numan sends San Diego’s Music Box into a fanatic frenzy

Trying to find parking around the Music Box in downtown San Diego clearly indicated that there was a notable event taking place: the streets were lined with punkers — mostly of Gen X age, but some Boomers, some Millennials — all dressed in black, leather, and walking in the same direction.

Gary Numan was in town.

I’ve never seen the Music Box so packed so early, for I walked in a half hour after doors. To say the show was ‘sold-out’ is an understatement; you literally couldn’t put more people in the GA section as the night progressed.

First up was audio-visual artist (more like ‘experience’), I Speak Machine. Dark, drastic, and dripping in darkwave energy, this one-woman show was incredible. She screamed, she screeched, she got silent. Between the fog, the images on-screen, and the intense emotion of Tara Busch (the audio part of the I Speak Machine duo, I’m assuming, since her other half, Maf Lewis, was conspicuously MIA), you couldn’t look away. I felt like a mere mortal amongst a goddess of thunder, chaos, and oblivion.

Dressed much like Numan and with similar forceful persona, Busch simply entranced.

The joint was filling up quite uncomfortably by set change, with many holding firm for the main act; another drink or bathroom break was out of the question, forfeiting your spot for good. About 20 minutes in, just as we expected to catch a glimpse of wily black hair behind the backstage curtain, an alarm goes off. At first, no one really registered the sound, making jokes that it could be bottle service or somebody dying could go either way. Security was not happy, though. Apparently, someone pulled the fire alarm and now the concert was on hold until the fire department showed up. BOOOO. Some people, I swear.

That didn’t deter hardcore fans, who still stayed put. About 20 minutes later, the moment had finally arrived (aka, the fire department had finally departed). Numan’s band took the stage in their usual post-apocalyptic getup, with guitar and bass looking like a cross of a monk and a vampire. As Gary Numan came out, he launched directly into attack. Writhing and screaming, Numan becomes his music, pulling and leaning on the mic stand as if another appendage. Loud, reverberating, industrial, intoxicating — Numan’s evolution from his 80s roots is radical, yet one so natural.

From “Halo” to “Love Hurt Bleed”, I was consumed with the raw passion of Numan; that level of morose subject matter and mechanical instrumentals is pure audible seduction to me. Even classics like “Metal” were delivered with such sensual potency, it drove me into a fanatical fervor. Gary Numan, please never leave this planet (at least not without me).

Photography by Kristy Rose

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