By Lorne Gillies.
As award season comes to a close one of the most exciting music award ceremonies was on the horizon promising a thrilling and entertaining event in the notorious NME Awards. After what can only be classed as a mediocre BRITS all hope was pinned on the outlandish and wild NME Awards to showcase what a true music awards event should be like but after last night’s (26 February 2014) performance the shine might be fading from the iconic awards.
The NME Awards have been running since 1953 with regular visits from The Beatles and Rolling Stones cementing the magazine as one of the best music publications in the UK. Year on year the awards have drawn in millions of viewers with the mag reaching over 3 million people every week, the pressure was on to make the NME Awards 2014 memorable. Memorable is not a word that will be used often for the event held in London’s Brixton Academy hosted by Radio 1 DJ and NME Columnist Huw Stephens words like dull, monotonous and void of any excitement or enthusiasm from celebrities and fans alike describe the event well.
Performances lacked any real talent from winners of Best New Band Drenge and a return of goths, The Horrors performing their new single which sounded more like every other single they ever released. It is a sad state of affairs when the guest set to announce the winners are more intriguing than the award recipient, even so most jokes fell on deaf ears and it appeared that nobody was enjoying their time at the awards bash.
Despite a growing lack of attention grabbing events, musicians did receive awards including Arctic Monkeys, Arctic Monkeys, Arctic Monkeys some band from Sheffield known as, you guessed it, Arctic Monkeys. Recipients of the pre-awarded honours including a one off Songwriter’s Songwriter award to Beatles’ living legend, Sir Paul McCartney and Damon Albarn winning NME’s new Award for Innovation truly saved the event with interesting speeches and worthy talent to pick up the gongs.
The NME Awards are a notorious drink fuelled bash so despite the mediocre event there were some highs amongst the lows and here are our favourite moments:
Blondie the Godlike Geniuses
Superstars Blondie were rightfully awarded the Godlike Genius trophy and boy do they deserve it. Performing their biggest hits including Heart of Glass and One Way or Another (thankfully without an appearance from One Direction), Debbie Harry at 68 years old can still rock the stage like we’re still in the 70s. To top off the amazingness that is Blondie it was revealed they will also be headlining this year’s Glastonbury festival.
Belle and Sebastian Speech
Glasgow based indie pop band were awarded the Teenage Cancer Trust Outstanding Contribution to Music Award for their long spanning career in the music industry but it was their acceptance speech that stole the show. Singer Stevie Jackson accepted the award by saying “England stay with us” to an outcry of laughter, probably the biggest laugh of the entire night, making a mockery of David Bowie’s inappropriate independence comment at last Wednesday’s BRIT awards
Drunk rambler accepting an award
Yes! This is what the NME awards is all about: drunk people, nonsensical speeches and questioning if this person is in a band or just wandered in off the street? It would appear winners of the Philip Hall Radar Award, Fat White Family got a Burberry clad drunk middle-aged man to accept their award shouting random words followed by “Fat White Family” for three minutes of confusing, funny brilliance. That is how to accept an award, take note Alex Turner.
Sir Paul McCartney
The coolest and most famous man in the Brixton Academy, Macca was picking up the Songwriter’s Songwriter Award decided by songwriters, obviously, to highlight the skilful talent that goes into writing songs. The former Beatle was humble and graceful as ever accepting his award from Blur’s Damon Albarn after a short montage of responses on why musicians from Jay Z to Dave Grohl rated the Liverpudlian so highly. Macca’s speech was a clever mixture of funny and informative and the Let It Be writer claimed he didn’t actually know how to be a songwriter, so he’s doing okay for himself.
LA sisters HAIM managed to pick up Best International Band after missing out on their BRIT for the same category. The Wire singers bounced up to the stage with bags of fun, enthusiasm and appreciation giving a glimpse of what you would expect from musicians winning awards. HAIM winning this award showed that there might still be some hope for the NME to pick deserving winners for some of their awards.
With the highs come the lows:
Metronomy and MKS
Apparently the original Sugababes, now known as MKS, are making a return and their return was helping Metronomy open the awards. Yup, the Sugababes OPENED the NME awards. The performance was far too mellow for an opening and someone clearly forgot to tell both Metronomy and MKS that they were supposed to sing and not just whine into the microphone and bore everyone to death it was a sign of things to come.
Lily Allen is Best Solo Artist?!
The London singer has been back on the scene for two minutes and is already classed as the Best Solo Artist. Up against David Bowie, Jake Bugg and Yeezus himself the NME decided that Ms Allen was worthy of the award because mocking other artists is clearly more desirable than having genuine talent.
Big winners of the evening Arctic Monkeys did deserve to win their awards picking up 5 out of their 8 nominated categories, love them or loathe them AM was the most successful album of the year and earned the recognition. Unfortunately the appreciation has made NME’s Hero of the Year, Alex Turner’s ego grow even more, just what the world needs, with smug arrogance in his persona it appeared that accepting the awards was a hardship but thankfully the pretentious speeches were kept to a minimum.
The Horrors Performance
Gothic rock band The Horrors returned to perform their new single I See You and sucked the remaining life and enthusiasm out of Brixton Academy. A boring performance with singer Faris Badwan looking like he would rather be anywhere else than on that stage. Even though it was a bad performance nothing beats the Metronomy and MKS opening.
The good, the bad and the inaudible of winner’s speeches. You would image that a room full of creative minds and alcohol would lead to hilarious speeches and YouTube moments but you would be wrong.
Hopefully 2015 will top this year’s awards ceremony, it will because it won’t be that hard to do.