The El Rey Theatre
The place was pretty packed. I was surprised about that. I’d won tickets somehow, again. Ticket winning juju be good this month, as this was my second show. So I head over to the El Rey around 9:30 or so, hoping I’ve missed whatever opening act might be playing to a bored crowd. More judgment. Whatever. I get my two tickets, but I’m missing my plus one, so I give one to some random guy who says he needs one. “That was really nice,” says a nearby girl, and I feel superior for a little bit. I go inside. I’m assaulted by leather and the smell of beer. People mill around. People smoke outside on the little prison-like patio.
The opening act is still hammering away, some pseudo-industrial claptrap that a few slack-eyed folks are swaying mindlessly to. I look for my favorite bartender, but she’s nowhere to be found. I wander about, looking at people, looking for people, anyone, someone to talk to. I feel overdressed, or perhaps underdressed, in a button down shirt and jeans. Wishing I had some assless chaps, but how ridiculous would I look in that get up? Pretty darn ridiculous, methinks. So I mill around, I stand around, I people watch. People watching is always fascinating, no matter the crowd. An insurance seminar would be exciting, but the people watching at a Gary Numan show in 2010 is even more so.
The lights go down! Fog machines go off, and red lights begin to blink onstage. Trying to capture the feel of a foggy London night, perhaps. Some band members stroll out onstage to much applause, and then Numan himself comes out, parking himself at a keyboard center stage. A few folks freak out. He throws down with some heavy gothic synth sounds, and some drum machines kick in, and the next three songs are all instrumentals. Boring, drawn out instrumentals that really go nowhere. I look around. Some people are dancing. Some people are swaying. A lot of people are watching the show through their camera phones. I’m losing interest fast.
The next number, he starts to sing. I’m waiting for the nasally vocal tones of his hit ‘Cars’ (not the actual song, not so early in the set, but just the sound of his voice), but it’s deeper, more weathered and matured. And not really enjoyable. The songs don’t seem to go anywhere, but of course I haven’t really followed this guy’s career. Maybe his albums are amazing. I don’t know. All I do know is I’m tired, and the cleaners are coming in to the office tomorrow morning early. I say out loud “This is boring.” Some girl nearby turns to me and smiles. I walk out. So much for Gary Numan.