The line-up for this years NME Awards was certainly a diverse one. The four artists spanned a great variety of genres, ranging from NME cool list topper Azealia Banks’ fast-pace hip-hop via Metronomy’s electronic pop, all the way to the traditional indie of Two Door Cinema Club and Tribes. The combination of such varying artists in such a short space resulted in a gig that did not once stop for breath and at no point left its audience bored.
First up was Azealia Banks. In her 30-minute slot she had a huge amount to prove to an audience mainly waiting (myself included) for internet sensation ‘212’. She put on a fantastic, expletive-ridden show that set a benchmark for the current hip-hop scene to strive for. After this performance, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her collaborating with the likes of Kanye and Jay-Z in the near future.
Next up was British indie-rockers Tribes. Their set slowed the overall pace of the gig right down and perhaps suffered mildy by following Azealia, who had riled the crowd up greatly. Despite this, the band delivered a stellar slot with highlights being ‘We Were Children’ and “Sappho’, both of which displayed the bands potential. If the band removed the filler then they would undoubtedly fill stadiums with their singer’s unique vocals and use of traditional distorted guitar sound.
Metronomy were soon too follow. Since the release of last year’s The English Riviera the band have recruited a new wave of fans, drawn in by their unique and catchy blend of contemporary pop and dance music. Their live show fulfilled the high benchmarks of their recordings, each song being received rapturously by the audience, who sang and danced along with huge enthusiasm. The biggest hit of the night was ‘The Bay’ which the audience sang louder than the band. Metronomy were clearly in their element, smiling as they played and entertaining the audience in between with song banter. The performance was faultless and left everyone wanting more.
Two Door Cinema Club had the final slot. The band had longer onstage than anyone else, and they used it well. The amount of recognizable hits that they’ve packed into their short, one album career is striking. Their performance was tight; sounding almost like it did on record. Several new songs were premiered, which was perhaps the only time during the set that the audience was not singing along manically. There was a slight sense of restlessness towards the end of the set from the audience, perhaps due to the almost constant onslaught of music from the beginning of the night to the end, but the band did well to keep interests high throughout.
The gig was thoroughly enjoyable. Each performance was brilliant in a different way, with every one of the four acts putting on a great show. The more pop-based sound throughout led to a noticeable lack of stereotypically cynical indie-types who ‘knew them before they were cool’ (as were present at last year’s event), which raised the mood of the gig significantly. The highlights were undoubtedly Azelia Banks and Metronomy; the former putting on a blinding show that can only improve as her career continues, and the latter living up to the hype that their latest cult album has produced. Overall, a fantastic experience that was good value for money to boot.