The reaction to the news that Miles Kane was not going to be playing the Bournemouth date of this years NME Awards Tour because he was ill (assumedly he tried SO hard to be Paul Weller that he burst a blood vessel or something), was that of frustration rather than disappointment. The lineup was already random; for a show that last year hosted Two Door Cinema Club and Metronomy, the choice to feature arty Django Django, marmite rockers Palma Violets and pyschadelic types Peace, was an interesting one. Kane’s withdrawal was another blow to a show that had already created a residing ‘meh’ amongst the general public upon its announcement. The low expectations the night held gave it the advantage of being able to easily surprise its Southern audience.
Once inside the venue, the general sense of underwhelming that the gig carried continued. To say it hadn’t sold out would be an understatement: there was enough room to swing a cat, they hadn’t bothered to open the upstairs bit in a bid to make it look busy, and to be honest, the audience looked bored. With our expectations low, we stood and waited for Peace to come on.
Perhaps one benefit of Kane’s withdrawal was that it gave the other acts an extended set length, meaning we were treated to a longer set from Peace, the most exciting band in the current British music scene. They stormed through a set featuring new songs (one of which had a refrain ‘I wanna get messy with you’) and old, with ‘Wraith’ and fan favourite ‘1998’ being particular highlights. Despite playing that dreaded first slot, the band managed to grab the small crowd’s interest brilliantly.
Next up were Palma Violets, NME’s latest inexplicable passion. The band had everything; attitude, shouting and a Libertines-esque nonchalant sound, but their set still managed to be about as enjoyable as skinning your own leg. They really managed to create the impression that they thought they were ‘this generations Strokes’ or something; sorry lads, you’re no generations nothing. One can only hope that they will join Viva Brother on the ‘shit bands that NME hyped then ditched after realizing their influence over music isn’t strong enough to polish a turd’ bandwagon. ASAP.
Django Django were the last up, and what a treat their set really was. Playing mostly from their debut, the band’s unique, danceable, mental, incredidible sound really transferred well to the stage. During their set, my earlier concerns over the emptiness of the venue causing the atmosphere to be dull seemed ridiculous, as the crowd received the set rapturously. Highlights came in the form of ‘Default’ and ‘Life’s a Beach’, their two most recognizable songs.
So, despite Miles Kane’s absence, the show proved to be a success. As someone who has gone to this event for the last three years, I can unfortunately confirm that it was not the best edition NME have provided, but it was nonetheless a great night’s entertainment that was well worth the money. It would have been even better if it was just Peace and Django Django, with Palma Violets watching in the crowd where they could actually learn something about good music. Ouch.