Daisy Might Cooper, co-hosting with Woman Leshurr, summed it up greatest when she enthused: “Tonight you might be in the easiest place on the planet for a music fan.” The BandLab NME Awards returned to O2 Academy Brixton stronger than ever on Wednesday March 2, because the music glitterati congregated to chop free. Self-restraint was not on the guestlist.
The long-lasting finger-raised winner’s statuette sums the ethos of the evening up completely: it makes the BRITs look as predictable and sober as a parochial church fete as compared, with an array of boundary-pushing, world-exclusive particular performances from Sam Fender, FKA Twigs, CHVRCHES and The Remedy’s Robert Smith, BERWYN and Rina Sawayama, and Griff and Sigrid and closers Deliver Me The Horizon.
The place else might you witness the pinch-yourself spectre of former NME Godlike Genius Robert Smith descend from the goth-clouds to carry out his exhilarating collaboration with CHVRCHES, ‘How To not Drown’, for the primary time ever, in addition to see them each sing The Remedy’s stone-cold basic ‘Simply Like Heaven’?
At what different ceremony might you glimpse Sam Fender enthusiastically doing the ‘Cha Cha Slide’ with TikTok trainspotter Francis Bourgeois, who warned of looming tube strikes onstage and stated he’d been craftily circumventing industrial motion through the use of his scooter as a substitute. Or kids’s TV presenters Dick and Dom hanging out backstage with Foals (whereas indulging within the type of behaviour that means they’ve been decreasing costs of close by da bungalows for years)?
Presenting Yannis Philippakis and co with their Greatest Music Video Award for ‘Wake Me Up’, Dick and Dom have been stoned by requires them to bellow their catchphrase, ‘BOGIES!’. They performed coy, demuring: ‘That was 20 years in the past…’. However as extra battle-cries echoed across the Academy, they lastly gave into nature and unleashed a guttural cry: “BOGIES!!!” It was certainly the most important early ’00s comeback since indie sleaze.
Sure: a surreality kicked in throughout the evening that Robert Smith christens an “uncommon, vibey occasion” and which Taylor Swift as soon as decreed “the craziest awards present I’ve ever been to”.
By the point Fontaines D.C. – making good on their Band In The World acceptance speech pledge to “occasion like Quantity 10 tonight!” – have been raucously belting out conventional Irish tune ‘The Auld Triangle’ with This Means Up actor Aisling Bea, it someway appeared completely, erm, regular. For individuals who weren’t there – or for the celebs who have been and may’t bear in mind what occurred as they marinate in Berocca and disgrace – right here’s how the evening of chaos and camaraderie unfolded.
Sam Fender opened the evening with a surprising ‘Seventeen Going Underneath’
The BandLab NME Awards took a break in 2021 because of – increase your lateral circulate exams within the air and wave ’em such as you simply don’t care – The Awfulness, but when anybody might resolutely sign that enterprise had resumed, it’s Sam Fender. He roared by ‘Seventeen Going Underneath’, in entrance of video screens flashing up the music’s evocative lyrics, and sang alongside deafeningly to the iron-clad ‘oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhh’s. Indie bonus level: CHVRCHES’ Lauren Mayberry bought caught in from the tables too.
It’s truthful to say that the indie golden-boy had a cracking evening: he gained two of the six awards he was nominated for – with ‘Seventeen Going Underneath’ taking residence the Greatest Album In The World accolade and in addition scooping the Greatest Album By A UK Artist honour, whereas he additionally made an unlikely BFF within the type of TikTok trainspotter Francis Bourgeois, who choo-choo-chose to impress him by doing handstands within the Winners’ Room.
And locomotive-lovers weren’t the one ones to really feel Fender’s love: accepting his gong for Greatest Album by a UK Artist, he addressed fellow winners Fontaines D.C. by promising: “I’m gonna come and neck on with the fuckin’ lot of ya.”
After the lockdown, there was a way of musicians joyously making up for misplaced time and it felt cathartic that songs written throughout that interval have been receiving their due. Liam Gallagher devoted his Music Second of the 12 months Award to NHS key employees, sending the message by presenter and The Fall legend Brix Smith, as he needed to pull out because of sickness. Natalie Imbruglia, there to current Lorde with Greatest Track In The World for ‘Photo voltaic Energy’, was launched by Might Cooper as having as soon as gained an NME Award for Prime Pop Persona You’d Most Like As Your Physician. Maybe she might pop spherical Liam’s with a trusty stethoscope and a few grapes?
Griff and Sigrid surprised by debuting ‘Head On Fireplace’ – one among a number of NME exclusives
As a lot as something, tonight was about permitting newer expertise to shine. As she picked up her prize for Greatest Collaboration with Sigrid for the pop perfection of ‘Head On Fireplace’, Griff commented: “I simply wish to say that I really like this collaboration as a result of there’s lots of comparability for pop women and in music; I really like the concept that we will get collectively and do that.” Debuting the music reside for the primary time, she and Griff (the latter additionally acquired NME’s prestigious Radar Award which celebrates one of the best rising act at the moment making waves within the scene) have been an image of empowerment and solidarity, and ship an effortlessly blockbuster efficiency.
In fact, it’s solely becoming that the BandLab NME Awards 2022 are the place the place they select to unleash the monitor, as their admiration for one another had performed out in interviews with us for years.
There was precise Heaven from Robert Smith and CHVRCHES
However alongside rising expertise have been bona fide icons. It wasn’t simply the first time that The Remedy legend Robert Smith and Glasgow electro-titans CHVRCHES have carried out collectively: they solely met in particular person the day earlier than the awards throughout rehearsals – full-stop. ‘How Not To Drown’ – their imperious, nearly recorded team-up and a standout from the Scottish band’s triumphant 2021 album ‘Display screen Violence’ – gained the award for Greatest Track By A UK Artist, and singer Lauren Mayberry mirrored: “The world is a large fireplace for the time being so it’s good to simply take into consideration tunes.”
She and the band took to the stage collectively to kick issues off with propulsive ‘Display screen Violence’ opener ‘Asking For A Good friend’, earlier than being joined by Smith for ‘How Not To Drown’, as Brixton erupted into deserved genuflection. Even Drag Race alumnus Bimini Bon-Boulash headbanged appreciatively, whereas Fontaines D.C.’s Grian Chatten’s smile was even wider than normal.
Earlier within the evening, Mayberry informed NME the band have been wanting ahead to hanging out with kindred spirit Smith: “After we did this music collectively it was all by e mail, and we’ve performed a few Zoom calls and stuff, however in the present day is the primary day we’re gonna get the pints in after the efficiency…. He’s the good. He’s simply been so beneficiant and type to us. There’s lots of problematic older males in music and he’s not one among them.”
Mayberry later added the chance for an additional future collaboration is there. “Perhaps after a number of beers tonight we’ll push for extra…” she joked. Their particular closing quantity collectively, a model of The Remedy’s 1987 monitor ‘Simply Like Heaven’, was so transcendent that Smith later informed NME that he “wished to maintain going” with the present, earlier than spilling the beans about two subsequent Remedy albums he’s engaged on.
He solely revealed the title of one among them: ‘Songs Of The Misplaced World’, explaining: “Nicely, the primary Remedy album is relentless doom and gloom. It’s the doomiest factor that we’ve ever performed. The second is upbeat, and my [solo] one gained’t be out till subsequent yr.”
Mumcore dominated on the BandLab NME Awards
They are saying that three’s a pattern, and mumcore dominated at BandLab NME Awards. When Romford-raised rapper BERWYN gained the Greatest New Act From The UK Supported By Music Venue Belief, he introduced his mom as much as the rostrum, following within the familial footsteps of Little Simz, who rocked up with her mum on the 2020 NME Awards.
“I didn’t put together a speech, so I’m going to let my mum speak,” he joked, including, “She’s scared!” earlier than he proudly unfurled a Trinidad and Tobago flag paying tribute to his nation of beginning. His plus-one made sense when he carried out a shifting model of ‘Solutions’, which included the lyric: “Momma madе a boy and now that boy is a star”, as he liquidised the boozy venue right into a hushed reverence, making good on his earlier pledge that we might count on “stillness and emotion” from his efficiency, as joyous tears shaped in his eyes.
BERWYN’s wasn’t the one mamma within the constructing: Jessie Ware introduced hers, Lennie (Ware Senior was notably enthusiastic about catching up with Sam Fender), as their joint podcast Desk Manners gained Greatest Podcast. And Mabel offered her ma, none apart from Neneh Cherry, with the Icon Award. “I’m questioning how I can bribe my household with this,” stated Cherry. “Like, ‘Don’t fuck with me – I’m an icon! Do the bloody washing up, woman’.” Which is a novel manner of getting out of chores.
Rina Sawayama blew the roof off with ‘XS’
For some acts, profitable the award prompted a visit down reminiscence lane. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, winner of Greatest Music Movie for The Sparks Brothers, thanked NME for making him a Sparks fan. Rina Sawayama was anointed Greatest Stay Act Supported By Grolsch, a full-circle second for her as she remembered posting an advert behind NME making an attempt to recruit bandmates when she was 15. The genre-fluid famous person was met with a justified uproarious response as she delivered the arena-worthy pure pop spectacle of standout single ‘XS’ in a riot of choreographed backing dancers, as her buddy and Soiled Hit labelmate Matty Healy of The 1975 appeared on from the tables.
FKA Twigs turned the youngest ever NME Godlike Genius Award winner
NME could also be celebrating its seventieth anniversary this month, however this was a youthful evening: 22-year-old Holly Humberstone’s Greatest Mixtape win for ‘The Partitions Are Means Too Skinny’ and Halsey’s Innovation Award pointed to the long run, with the latter accepting through pre-recorded message and commenting: “I’m so fucking bummed I can’t be there celebrating with you guys in particular person, however since I can’t be, each single particular person within the viewers has to do a shot.”
And, after all, FKA Twigs joined the divine lineage of the likes of Blondie and The Conflict to turn into the youngest ever NME Godlike Genius Award winner at 34. “I’m so proud to be the primary Black feminine artist to have been honoured, nonetheless baby-faced, and impressed as hell,” she stated in a pre-event assertion. “Right here’s to the following decade of creating artwork and music.”
Accepting the statuette from her buddy, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, she remembered colliding with earlier Godlike Genius winner Noel Gallagher (frankly, there must be a WhatsApp group for all of them), who had his Resting Unimpressed Face on.
“I used to be out consuming the opposite day and I used to be in a bar and Noel Gallagher was there so I used to be fairly starstruck,” she recalled. “I went as much as him and stated I used to be receiving the identical award as him and he was fairly candy however fairly iconically unimpressed with me. I might inform that he’d had a pair drinks and he didn’t actually care. I requested him about his music and requested what he was as much as for the time being and his face lit up and he began speaking concerning the superb music he was making and the way he was so impressed and the way all he needs to do is write songs from the second he wakes up to date he goes to mattress.
“It’s a godlike energy to hold on all through tough occasions… The toughest factor to do is to maintain going and I really feel so grateful to know folks like Jazzie, who I do know stayed up all evening music.” She then gestured to a different icon on the tables: “And other people like Boy George, who do the very same, staying up all evening making artwork and music… That’s what I’m doing and I’m simply so grateful that there’s an area for me right here. Thanks for the assist, be secure and let’s simply be type to one another.”
Twigs underscored her deity standing with a blistering, sometimes forward-thinking, shock efficiency of ‘Meta Angel’ (that includes snippets of ‘Tears In The Membership’), dressed as a silver alien butterfly and accompanied by masked backing dancers. Even Noel could be impressed.
There was politics aplenty
Whereas Okay-Poppers Tomorrow X Collectively scooped Hero Of The 12 months, Jacob Rees-Mogg – who not too long ago informed parliament he doesn’t learn NME, quelle horreur! – gained Villain Of The 12 months, becoming a member of a glittertwatti that features earlier recipients comparable to Piers Morgan. Sadly, Mogg didn’t flip as much as acquire his prize, so we have been disadvantaged of the chance of seeing him lose his monocle whereas crowd-surfing to Deliver Me.
Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives weren’t well-liked all through the evening. Bimini, presenting Mae Martin with the Greatest TV Sequence Sponsored By 19 Crimes Wine gong for Really feel Good, yelled ‘Fuck the Tories’ and described co-host Adam Lambert as “so attractive you make me wanna overthrow the Authorities”. Elsewhere, Bob Vylan’s Bobby Vylan and Bobbie Vylan, there to bestow the Greatest Competition In The UK Supported By White Claw to Studying and Leeds Competition, urged folks to vote out Boris Johnson.
And on additional political vibes, Ghetts discovered himself sat on a desk with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, with whom he unveiled Little Simz as winner of Greatest Solo Act within the UK. Onstage to current the award, Sadiq stated: “I’m making an attempt to ship a message to Boris Johnson: that is how you have got a secure and lawful occasion.”
Ghetts additionally revealed he deliberate to spend the evening haranguing Sadiq about London’s congestion cost. And Ghetts wasn’t the one one with journey motion on his thoughts, because the Labour politician was referred to as out onstage by Bob Vylan. When the punk duo offered the award for Greatest Competition Within the UK, Vylan additionally introduced consideration to the tube strikes: “Sadiq Khan is in the home, you already know? Sadiq, it’s good to type these trains out. Do you perceive? You need to preserve this metropolis shifting bro as a result of folks must get to work you perceive? Come on, we’ve gotta do higher.” Boos reverberated across the Academy. Oof!
Deliver Me The Horizon capped off a sensational evening with a politically-charged efficiency
When it got here to political messages nonetheless, night-cappers Deliver Me The Horizon proved incendiary and impassioned. “Can we simply preserve the power up?” demanded Daisy Might Cooper, because the proceedings hit the ultimate furlong. “However that doesn’t imply going into the bathrooms to do some sniff.” If anybody is probably going to supply a welcome last shot of, err, adrenaline, it’s Deliver Me The Horizon. Once they final slayed the NME Awards in 2016, Oli Sykes clambered over Coldplay’s desk prefer it was a Ninja Assault course, sending their champagne spiralling into the air.
The ante was subsequently duly upped, however they greater than delivered with a six-song set devoted to the plight of the folks of Ukraine. With the Ukrainian flag emblazoned on Mat Nicholls’ drumkit, and subsumed in dry ice, they launched right into a ferocious model of ‘Can You Really feel My Coronary heart’, earlier than dancers in yellow hazmat fits appeared for ‘Parasite Eve’. “Fucking hell, it’s simply good to be out of the home!” Sykes beamed as ‘DieE4u’ and ‘Mantra’ heroically stored up the serotonin ranges, earlier than Nova Twins joined them for ‘1×1’.
Earlier than set-closer ‘Throne’ bared its spectacular tooth, Sykes took a second to point out his allegiance with the Ukrainian folks following final week’s Russian invasion. “I suppose it’s higher being right here in a room stuffed with influential folks: they should use their voice each single day till this disaster is over,” he surmised to rapturous settlement. “If Kyiv doesn’t survive, worldwide peace is not going to survive.”
Earlier within the evening, the Sheffield metallers gained Greatest Band From The UK Supported By Pizza Specific, noting that they’d come a good distance since their debut album, 2006’s ‘Depend Your Blessings’, scored two out of 10 in NME. “So, comply with your desires!” implored Sykes. The band additionally informed us that their forthcoming four-night Malta Weekender pageant, which they’ve curated, could be “like Fyre Competition however with higher sandwiches.” As gross sales pitches go, it’s unbeatable.
Roll on 2023!
The BandLab NME Awards 2022: an evening the place Woman Leshurr halted her presenting duties midway by to fangirl over Boy George. The place you’ll be able to bask within the majesty of FKA Twigs one minute and yell “Bogies!” at Foals the following. As Deliver Me have been performing onstage, consummate crowd-primer Woman Leshurr requested: “Who’s going to smash up their desk tonight?”, earlier than Daisy Might Cooper retorted: “Dunno – I’ve clocked off now; I’d simply fucking do it myself.” And, given all the pieces that occurred beforehand, you wouldn’t put it previous her.