Review: NME Awards Tour 2012
The Smash Hits tour for hipster kids came to Cardiff.
First up is so-hot-right-now MC Azealia Banks. Missing the start of her set due to a swirling and shivering queue, I finally get in to the Great Hall bouncing to bumpin’ electro and scatter-gun rhyming. Where as a lot of current hip-hop and R’n’B rips mid-90s Euro-house (or David flipping Guetta), Banks spits over Diplo-style beats and plunders Orbital and Prodigy for the rest; indeed it comes full circle when her biggest track - the NSFW 212 slams into Firestarter. Live hip-hop can suck but Banks nails it and demonstrates her flow a cappella when there’s a hiccup with the sound. Think the potty-mouth and sound of Peaches mixed in with Missy Elliott’s aggressiveness, speed and invention and you can see why there’s such hype around her.
Next up are Tribes. A couple of songs in Plus One Loo turns to me and says they’re the missing link between Pearl Jam and Cast. Yep they’re that bad. Once the acoustic guitar comes out we make an escape to the treacherous trash compacter of the smoking area. They’re bound to be huge.
Cards on table - I’m a massive Metronomy fan and they are great this evening, rattling through their latest album The English Riviera with a few big-hitters from Nights Out chucked in. Never heard of Metronomy? Well they’re kind of like a wonky indie-disco robot with a bit of yacht-rock, falsetto vocals and a sense of humour thrown in. They’re also about 50 times better than that description makes them out to be.
Anyway Metronomy clearly enjoy themselves on stage and the audience share in the good times. They’ve added some interesting portraits as stage dcor (t-shirts soon surely?) and there’s a few tweaks in certain tracks but the old chest lights, salutes and Joe Mount’s banter are still part of the show – and it’s great. If I’m gonna be slightly critical I think they play too many slow tracks off The English Riviera when I’m desperate for something off Pipaine, but that’s me being a nerd. That niggle aside Metronomy are brilliant tonight.
Two Door Cinema Club are the final band and while it’s a clear night outside they bring thunder and lighting to the Students’ Union, whipping up an indie-disco storm with a cataract-destroying light show. The crowd lap it up - even the new stuff goes down well - but after a couple of songs I find it all sounds a bit samey. But hey, maybe that’s their style and sound. They’re already all over the telly on loads of adverts and going by the amount of fist pumps and hands-in-the-air they have a pretty loyal following and seem to be on an unstoppable rise.
This is my first NME Tour for a long time and while the hyperactive groups of gig virgins, the wobbly camera-phone paparazzi and the ticketed smoking area are tedious, I have no regrets on going back. Roll on NME Awards Tour 2013.
Related Article: Review: Metronomy @ Clwb