Gary Numan’s Deadly Band Blasts Tel Aviv

If you’re a Numanoid, like this writer is, it doesn’t matter how many concerts you’ve been to. Numan always surprises.

May you be put in the middle of the town square and pelted with rotten tomatoes.

That’s how I imagined I would open this review, had the Israeli public not turned up for a show for which attendance is mandatory. According to the Ten Commandments, and I quote: “Thou shall not shirk Gary Numan.” It turned out that the pelting proved unnecessary, because Tel Aviv’s Barby Club was standing room only on Monday evening when the British-born pioneer of electronic music performed there.

The Barby’s stage is small for Numan, and he was in rare form, as if he were 20 years old, instead of fifty-something. The sound almost collapsed like the walls of Jericho, due to the industrial onslaught of Numan’s band, hungry, versatile, and deadly as it was.

A large part of the show was devoted to songs from the 2013 album “Splinter,” and a few other numbers from the last decade and a half, meaning, the show was almost exclusively comprised of songs that Numan wrote when he didn’t care what people would think.

There were many high points during the show, beginning with the opening song, “I Am Dust,” an incredible number and continuing on to “Love Hurt Bleed” and “Lost.” For me, it was a thrill just to see him. I kept saying to myself, “It’s Gary Numan! In Tel Aviv! Pinch me!” It’s not the first time I’ve seen Numan, but it was that much more of a treat to see him in Israel, and to get a close-up look at the red Gibson he’s had since he was 15.

The real surprises came during the performance of his classic tunes. If you’re a Numanoid, it doesn’t matter how many live albums you’ve heard -- and Numan is one of those artists who releases a new concert album every year -- or how many concerts you’ve been to, you’re always curious to hear the nuances and new interpretations of classic numbers.

This time “Down in the Park,” and “I Die You Die” were the songs that made me start to mutter to myself in gibberish as my eyes rolled back into my skull. Especially “I Die You Die,” because it came towards the end of the show, when I was already close to fainting. It filled me with renewed energy, like the flesh of passersby does for zombies.

David Bachar