LIVE: NME Awards – O2 Brixton Academy, London

On Thursday night an extra special buzz ran down Electric Avenue as Brixton hosted the final show of the NME Awards tour, with Circa Waves, Royal Blood, Temples and Godfathers of sultry indie Interpol all took to the famous sloping stage.

There was a palpable tenacity in the air of the great Brixton Academy as Circa Waves took to the stage and with them lay the hope of every indie dancefloor in the land. Club promoters, owners and punters alike were not to be disappointed.

As the Liverpudlians arrived on stage they came with a smirking knowing of the arrival of the sound of 2,000 pairs of shoes shuffling as the blasted through hits Get Away and Stuck In My Teeth. Circa Waves brought a cheeky-chappy charm to the stage throughout the set and kept an altogether moody audience in a festival feeling with the sea of faces starting to build waves… Circa Waves.

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While Circa Waves provided a glimpse into the future of indie-pop, Royal Blood arrived with an incredibly large amount of present expectation on their shoulders. They blew away that expectation with one fatal, distortion laden strum of a guitar and slam of a bass pedal that shook the rafters and threatened every band within hearing distance, which must’ve been about 5 miles.

The Brighton based band absolutely showed why Google UK is worried about a revolution as everyone is thirsty for Royal Blood. The duo ripped through their set with minimal interaction but with maximum affect, splitting skins and crashing strings they unleashed their biggest hit so far Little Monster. Showing that sometimes less is better, duos of late seem to be taking inspiration from DFA 1979 and putting one and one together to get a fuck load of noise and a heavier sound than Barry White atop an elephant.

As the famous white facade that frames the Brixton stage still rattled from one of the most impressive sets I have seen all year another British hopeful took to the stage. Temples have been quickly building a big following with girls swooning and boys admiring across the country. They now had a big stage to fill and excusing their bouffant hair and Bolanite style they seemed incredibly small on that wide stage.

They pulled out the hits from their brilliant debut LP Sun Structures including Mesmerise, Shelter Song and  Keep In The Dark and all were played admirably and adequately but with as much vigour as a bouffant head of drenched lettuce.

Their starry eyed performance is entirely lost on such a big stage and without their own stage settings and visuals the sound seemed not only drab and regurgitated but a boring shade of pallid. They left the stage (remember they are second to the headliners) with a light ripple of applause and an audience trying to remember CPR to help the choking glam artists.

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Then came the main act and probably one of the reasons that each of the previous bands were even bands at all. Interpol are seen as the Godfathers of moody Indie polishing melancholy into a hard and fast rock sound and inspiring countless artists along the way.

They strolled on stage sporting an altogether more distinguished look from their grungier days, suited and booted they kicked off an incredible set. Strumming through crowd favourites Rest My Chemistry and Obstacle 1 they showed why they are so highly regarded by everyone in the industry.

They effortlessly produced a set devoid of errors and full of showmanship, commanding what had proved to be a difficult stage. Sparingly distorting riffs and compiling complex beats and rhythms to complete their thudding bass filled sound.

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Interpol then went on to bring out harder hits of Heinrich Manoeuvre, Evil and Slow Hands showing the crowd and the rest of the line up how to keep an audience enticed. Professionalism and classic hits aside Interpol had an intensity currently unrivalled and showed that though they may have been one of the oldest bands on the list they still had plenty to give music lovers. We eagerly await the new album with open mouths and embracing arms.

 

Jack Whatley 

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