Consider the year of 1979 for a moment, the last in a decade of disappointment, drivel, and decadence. I was finishing up high school and desperate for escape, not only from small town life, but from the aural sewage that just kept pouring out of my radio. How long was I supposed to take this disco crap? MAKE IT GO AWAY! SOMEONE, PLEASE! It wasn't me watching Solid Gold on TV, I'll tell you that. Where were NEW SOUNDS? I kept looking back to the place I counted on: the UK. Punk was still fighting its way through, New Wave in its infancy, made by British kids who definitely weren't thinking Donna Summer or Kenny Rogers were speaking for them.

And that's how in 1979 I ended up with records by Gary Numan, after reading about him in the NME. He was a really odd cat, that guy. At that time he had the stage presence of a robot; calculated, I thought, to compliment the cold digital synthesized syncopation of his music. Turns out he was just pretty young and terrified and wore heavy white makeup to hide acne. The More You Know. It was definitely new to my ears and about as far away from Kansas and REO and "Disco Duck" as one could get, which was nothing but good for me. "Cars" and "Are 'Friends' Electric?" and "Down In The Park" were all really catchy songs, and I liked them.

Fast forward, way way forward, to 2010. Gary Numan's career has had its ups and downs, but what a friend said to me the other day is true -- Numan helped put the nail in disco's coffin, and his music ended up being really influential. If you go to a dance club even today, you hear far more of the big electronic clap and boom of Numan's records than the watered-down-soul-with-stupid-drums-and-dumb-lyrics of traditional disco. So I decided to go see him at Neumos here in Seattle, a very appropriate Halloween event, I thought.

The show sold out almost immediately. When I arrived (late, after the Mavis Staples concert at Town Hall earlier in the night), just a scan of the faces in the crowd told me a lot. These folks were genuinely excited to be seeing Numan live, which admittedly, I found a little surprising. But in the 30+ years of Numan's career, he's evolved into an exciting, passionate performer, easily able to keep the audience engaged. Stage talk was minimal, but he did let out some great big smiles and plenty of thanks to the crowd, and seemed to truly enjoy playing.

See the guy with his hand up in the first two photos? He did that ALL NIGHT LONG. 

(More photos are here.)

Here's "Cars." I had to shoot all night between the shoulders of two people on the balcony. Rock n' Roll.

I definitely got into the coolness of it all. Thank you to Gary Numan: Ex-Robot, and Neumos for another great show.