Tuesday, May 17, 2011
#263: Stormtrooper in Drag
Armed with that knowledge we wandered down to HQ last night to see Gazza in concert. The Bear was dead keen to go and see him as she’d caught him back in late 1980 when he first toured here behind The Pleasure Principle album, and this time around we were promised The Pleasure Principle Album, although I don’t know why. Possibly an anniversary? Beats me, but purchase the tickets we did and off we went. I have to admit that I used to haunt HQ back in the days when it was Heaven and would play decent retro on Wednesday nights, as overseen by the brilliant Hoops. Sadly other than a splash of paint and a name change the club looks exactly the same. I say sadly because it’s old and tired now and there’s nothing worse than going back to the scene of many crimes over a decade and a half later and seeing the chalk outlines are still in place. One thing has changed though – the price of booze is outrageous. One can of JD and a can of Russki set me back $25. Call me old, but it wasn’t that long ago when $25 would see me happy for the evening, not to mention the small bottle of water for $5. Still, a nightclub has to gouge the crowd and recoup costs of the gigs somehow. Good thing I didn’t ask for anything off the top shelf, gone are the days of drink cards.
A] they want kids
B] they have kids
C] they’re bunny boilers
D] they have a vast collection of Restraining Orders
E] they have issues on a grand scale
F] they’re fresh out of jail/going to jail
G] are terminally unemployed/unemployable
H] they no longer care and can’t be arsed sorting through people only to discover that the person they’ve picked has all of the above, some of the above or additional items to deal with. Baggage is a wondrous thing indeed, but, seriously, I’d hate to be stuck with the last chicken in the shop at last night’s gig. Now, on with the show.
Seeing Gary Numan live, like we did last night, you can easily see where bands such as Depeche Mode, Fear Factory and Nine Inch Nails, to name but three, all drew inspiration from. Numan’s unique voice is what separates him from a lot of the people who appear happy to steal his feel but not cite him as an influence, and the second set was blistering. Seeing him tear through stripped down renditions of I Die, You Die, Down In The Park and Are Friends Electric was a treat not to be missed, although some of the crowd definitely did miss the point, with some twat heckling behind us, “Play something we know!” I couldn’t care less if I didn’t know the songs he was playing, I enjoyed myself more than I should have. Numan’s band were in top form, the sound, which is usually horrendous at HQ, was note perfect – loud enough to be loud, but not loud enough to be distorted beyond enjoyment. And enjoy the show people did – the applause was warm and genuine, the enthusiasm levels were high and the interaction between Numan and the crowd, especially during the stripped down second set, was a welcome sight indeed. HQ might be a dive, but there is something about the small clubs that lend themselves to a more intimate show, and that was on full display last night.
Last night I walked into HQ with a rudimentary knowledge of Gary Numan, and a passing knowledge of his music, but I walked out with a new appreciation for him and a desire to hear both his back and current catalogue. I can easily understand why Numan is held in high regard and why many of the acts that I do listen to and enjoy a lot cite him as an influence. We may have missed out on Hugh Cornwall in Adelaide recently, but we got Gary Numan – and that was just as good.