Live review: NME Awards Tour – Birmingham Academy

1 Mar

The last (and only other) time I went to an NME Awards tour was way back in 1998 when Stereophonics and Asian Dub Foundation stood atop a sweaty bill.

Opening that night was Theaudience (remember them?) fronted by the stylish Sophie Ellis-Bextor (remember her?). First on this evening is US rapper Azealia Banks. Long pink hair extensions in tow, and potty mouth to boot, she’s no SEB that’s for sure – and a tinny mix means her grating, shouty rhymes rapidly wear thin.

Camden’s Tribes (despite the NME hype) may not be the saviours of the reportedly dying UK guitar music scene. But, live, they’re more than the sum of their four parts. Peddling tracks from their new, first album Baby, Tribes transcend their Bunnymen, Seattle and glam-rock influences, marshalled by frontman Johnny Lloyd’s strong vocals and cheery disposition. The eager, sell-out crowd lap it up.



Riding the wave of the year’s critically cherished LP The English Riviera, Metronomy are second on the bill but given a headliner’s welcome. Large painted portraits of the Devon quartet are draped above their heads, and trademark stick-on ET glo-circles periodically light up their chests in unison, emphasising the group’s musical togetherness. Metronomy are more muscular live – Anna Prior’s thudding drums replace politer patterns in the studio. This greatly benefits tracks like The Look and Corinne which become arms-in-the-air workouts. Older standards such as A Thing For Me and Heartbreaker also feature – the whole set held together by Gbenga Adelekan’s non-stop, funk basslines, which are so intense that his black-rimmed glasses steam up Benny Hill-style for a large part of the generous set. Leader Joseph Mount’s slightly stilted but laid-back banter between songs suggest Metronomy are, above else, enjoying themselves and the limelight. This is a ‘nothing to lose’ tour, a consolidation after a fine year – whetting the appetite for their next move on record.

You feel the pressure rests heavier on Two Door Cinema Club’s shoulders. It’s been two years since the Bangor boys unleashed Tourist History’s half-hour of jerky anthemic indie which forms the bulk of their performance tonight. Welcomed to the stage by teen screams, the group’s demographic is clear from the off. You can imagine shout-along numbers Come Back Home and What You Know being belted from stadium stages. But two new offerings tonight suggest a (slightly) more complex – less immediate – sophomore album could emerge. Either way, as the worked-up crowd go mad for set closer I Can Talk, TDCC have bought themselves a bit more time.


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