Gary Numan, I Speak Machine | Metro | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Gary Numan

Gary Numan

courtesy BB Gun Press

Gary Numan, I Speak Machine 

When: Sun., May 15, 9 p.m., Mon., May 16, 9 p.m. and Tue., May 17, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $31, $71 three-day pass
In 1979 pioneering new-wave artist Gary Numan kicked off what he called the “machine phase” of his career: three records crammed with alien synth sounds and themes of bizarre, dystopian futures. The trilogy’s first installment, Replicas, was recorded with Numan’s short-lived band Tubeway Army, though its guitarless follow-up that same year, The Pleasure Principal (which contains his best-known song, “Cars”), is the songwriter’s first official solo release. Closing out the “machine phase” is 1980’s Telekon, a monumental record that expands Numan’s synthetic palette and brings on darkness with heavy themes of twisted futuristic isolation—it’s a favorite of Trent Reznor’s and an influence that shows majorly in his work to this day. Over the course of the 17 albums that Numan has recorded since Telekon, dabbling in various forms of pop, goth, and industrial, his popularity and relevance have waxed and waned. But these eerie early works endure not only as cult favorites but as blueprints for oddball synthesizer music in general. Over the next three evenings at Metro, Numan will perform the entire trilogy in order, beginning with Replicas tonight.
— Luca Cimarusti
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