As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 


Wednesday, November 20

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« DIY in the Ice Age Review: The Vaselines @ Lincoln Hall 10/28 »

Review Thu Oct 28 2010

Review: Gary Numan @ Metro, 10/26

Gary Numan (photos by Dave Knapik)

It's perplexing to think that Gary Numan supposedly didn't appreciate The Pleasure Principle for years. While it wasn't exactly the first of its kind, it's definitely in the conversation for catalysts of the synth-pop explosion in the early 1980s. Luckily, he's come to his (and everyone else's) senses by warming up to the album and playing it live in its entirety to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Its songs were originally written for guitar with the Tubeway Army before Numan's fascination with synthesizers took over. And to look at the stage at Metro on Tuesday, that fascination is still alive and well. Four synth setups were accompanied by drums and bass guitar. Although the drums were ridiculously high in the mix (and Numan's vocals were often low from where I stood), there was no question that the synths were running the show.


Even though the draw was to hear The Pleasure Principle, oddly enough the album was not played sequentially. The order wasn't changed drastically, but closer "Engineers" was early, a couple tracks were switched and "Random" (not even on the album, but from its sessions) opened the set. However, the songs were not altered greatly from the recorded versions that those in attendance have heard hundreds of times. Arrangements were pretty faithful. It was a little more raw, but that's to be expected live. Even with Numan perpetuating the idea of electronic artists as robots arguably more than anyone else not in Kraftwerk, he is far from an android on stage where from behind a keyboard he's lively and dramatic.

Once The Pleasure Principle was complete, the set turned to scattered hits ("Down in the Park", "Are 'Friends' Electric?", "I Die: You Die") in a sea of recent material from the 2000s' Pure and Jagged. All the while, it was hard not to hear it as Gary Numan being influenced by those who came up practically fawning over his music. From his new wave and synth-pop roots, he's progressed much more into industrial-like sounds that some of his followers honed. A Nine Inch Nails connection was easy to make on many songs and the show was packed with hooks that've been sampled in hip hop and by Basement Jaxx and Sugababes. It's been a long road and he's had some tough times, but there's a good reason why Metro was full. Numan has an arsenal of top-notch songs and he's stayed an energetic performer.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15