Posts Tagged ‘NME’

Shockwaves NME Awards 2009

March 2, 2009

If it was the Brits last week, it must be The Brats tonight, right? ‘The Brats’ being the name they used to call the NME Awards before they became so similar that the differentiation seemed a bit silly. They’d be better off calling it the NME Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party, what with the awards having silly bozo-names like ‘Best Dancefloor Filler’. I sat through this one making notes, as I did with The Brits, in the name of balance. Here are my real-time mitherings.

First up, our hosts. Mark Watson is an affable comedian and will be hosting on the grown up stage. Taking care of the Fearne Cotton, backstage side of things, strictly for telly, is that bloke who did Big Brother’s Little Brother – the one with the self-consciously irritating hair. Jack Whitehall

No?

Anyone?

Admittedly, I had to google him hard to get the name.

Is it possible for a person to have a ‘hateful face’? You hear the term bandied about a fair bit, and it seems to be a little unfair. You should judge someone on their actions and not the way their facial protrusions are arranged, no matter how runtish their upturned nose makes them seem and no matter how weak their chin. But if they top their noggin with an annoying, Mr Whippy, latterday-indie construction, the face beneath is always going to come off badly. Anyway – Jack Whitehall isn’t very good at his job.

In an echo of days gone by, Steve Lamacq is employed to take care of the voiceovers while Watson helms the stage, with jokes slagging off Johnny Borrell. It seems slightly hypocritical of the NME to have passed those gags, what with it being about 63% their fault that Razorlight got to the stage where they could release Slipway Fires on an unsuspecting audience unchallenged.

Grace Jones arrives to present Best Live Act! So we’ve kicked off, and the first award goes to the band which is considered best at grinding out music which is too bloody noisy and badly mixed whilst in front of a room full of teenage idiots, all of whom are clambering over each other to look the coolest, dropping beer in each others’ faces and singing along with the lines of the songs, obscuring the music in the process and allowing themselves to believe that they gain some measure of kudos from memorising badly-rendered poetry. Yay!

Muse beat Kings of Leon, Oasis, Radiohead and Killers. Their drummer accepts the award, which is the coward’s way out.

‘Still to come’ says Steve Lamacq – and some adverts come on.

Next up – Best DVD. This one throws me. Best DVD isn’t very rock n roll, is it? All the live DVDs I’ve seen have only ever served to demonstrate that gigs aren’t the revolutionary gatherings of energy they’re made out to be and shows them in the more realistic light of artists deluding themselves they’re gods while an audience deludes itself that it’s having fun.

Arctic Monkeys beat Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, Rolling Stones and Muse. Dean Learner accepts the award.

Here are the Skins – those children from the kid’s drama serial (for infants). The one that shouldn’t be watched by adults because it’s for kids. They’re here to present the Best New Band award. Up for the award are tedious Sting-thieves, Vampire Weekend, those Jesus & Mary Chains for losers, Glasvegas, the criminally insane Late of the Pier, offspring of the Flaming Lips – MGMT and a band called White Lies who I’ve never heard of.

MGMT win, predictably enough, and their self-consciously kooky acceptance speech (‘it’s a jelly spider!’) doesn’t do much for me.

Presumably it’s not fashionable to refer to ‘singles’ any more, what with iTunes and the internets, so they appear to have replaced that category with ‘Dancefloor Filler’. It’s a silly name for an award for two reasons. Firstly, indie people can’t dance and, secondly, it precludes any release that has a slow tempo. It suggests frenetic indie pop, so anything vaguely leftfield or undanceable gets left on the sidelines like a fat kid at football.

Beating Crystal Castles, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party and Late of the Pier, Dizzee Rascal wins for the witless dirge he made with Calvin Harris that has the cheapest video in the history of hip hop.

Let’s have some music to cheer us up!

La Roux (me neither) and Franz Ferdinand pile onstage to kick the living shit out of Blondie’s Call Me. Jaime Winstone is dancing! Ooooh, I wanna dance with Jaime Winstone! Alex Kapranos does a grand job of flattening the entire vocal melody but blood isn’t truly drawn from the flailing carcass of the tune until La Roux pitches in with a whine last heard in a slaughterhouse. They create the second worst cover version of all time. Lucky for us, the first worst comes later on in the evening. At least Estelle and the Tings had the courtest to murder their own tunes at The Brits…

Best Album Award now – with everyone’s least favourite comedian Keith Lemon, presenter of ITV2’s woeful Celebrity Juice, actively molesting Alexa Chung as they present. Kings of Leon beat The Dancers, Glasvegas, Oasis and Bloc Party, with a recorded speech which appears to tell everyone in the audience that they hate them. Possibly the only rock n roll moment of the evening.

Friendly Fires play a song. It’s the first time I’ve seen this lot, and there won’t be a second. There are some terrible dance moves over a tune that sounds like, and forgive me for putting the idea in your mind, U2 crossed with The Klaxons, and then some Brazilian dancers come on for a booty-shake. This momentarily makes notions of suicide drift away with an idea clearly nicked off Basement Jaxx. Fill the stage with bright colours and dancing, and you might get away with it.

Best British Band! Kasabian present. The singer asks if everyone there is ‘c*nted’ – which I think is a bit rude. Cut to a shot of Muse who are visibly not c*nted, but might be very slightly stoned on crap hash. Oasis beat some other bands who have already appeared in other categories (it all begins to blur). The crowd begins to boo. It overwhelms Mark Watson. Strange, I think, that a band who kept the paper afloat whilst the (superior) likes of Melody Maker and Select magazine folded are now being booed by the crowd. The acceptance speech is amusing, pairing up Russell Brand and Gallagher, N for the first time since the former was rude on an old man’s phone.

It’s never going to end.

The child who partners Steve Coogan on Saxondale comes onstage with Steve Lamcq and they give the Outstanding Contribution award to Elbow, which seems startlingly pre-emptive. Are they writing them off the minute they hit their peak? That’s the NME all over, is that.

Best TV Show? Eh? This is a music paper!

Here’s Charlie Brooker, aka Preacherman, offering out a sitcom award at a music award show – which seems idiosyncratic to say the least. But then, when you think about it, indie kids generally spend their days sitting around at home recording sitcoms. I know I did.

Brooker says the word ‘c*nt’ and smashes the status quo. Boosh win.

We’re nearly there. Don’t fall asleep, because… …it’s time for the Worst Cover Version of All Time (see video link at the top of the age). Florence and the Who? work in unison with humourless Scotch combo Glasvegas to trample Elvis’s decomposing spine with a one chord rendering of Suspicious Minds. What results is so laughably awful, it looks like a sexual assault blooper. The Glasvegas singer begins to grope Florence with his face and soon, to distract from the musical mess they’ve made, they are hitting each other and running offstage.

We limp on to Best International Act, if anyone cares, and Killers win. Last Shadow Puppets win Best Video. The audience are now so drunk they don’t understand what’s happening and are talking amongst themselves. ‘Why are Girls Aloud here?’ they appear to be asking, quite reasonably.

Now for the promised big moment – Graham and Damon Blur reform to do a song together. With the best will in the world – it sounds a bloody mess. Albarn’s use of an out-of-tune foghorn-organ was possibly a mistake, as the one note he issues throughout three quarters of the song drowns Coxon’s guitar in a farty wash. A missed opportunity, perhaps.

Solo Artist – Pete Doherty. A token award, one feels, seeing as the man hasn’t released any solo material yet. Bridge-building from the kid from Saxondale, who clearly realises Petie D makes covers and sells papers.

At least we end on something of a high, with The Cure getting some late recognition. They play the oldies after receiving an award from Tim Burton and the audience, all far too good-looking and well-dressed to be what used to be the indie I knew, dance along.

Except, you can’t actually dance to indie. Its structure simply doesn’t allow it. They simply do that thing where you jiggle from side to side, pulling a poseur face and faking the sensation of being taken over by music. The credits roll as we watch people trying to dance to indie, safe in the knowledge that indie is best listened to on a walkman, uncelebrated at industry bashes, away from fashion victims and sponsored awards ceremonies. I’m not in love with the modern world.

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NewsGush: The Festival Season is Over

September 12, 2008

That’s according to the NME, that risible ringtone catalogue which was once, though the memory’s hazy, vaguely readable. So in a direct rip off of their content – here’s what they say:

So that’s it. The tents have been packed away, the wristbands snipped, the wellies rinsed off. Barring one final straggler – End Of The Road, which takes place this weekend (September 12-14) – the festival season is over.

They then ask ‘what were your festival highs and lows?’

Here are mine, specifically based around Glastonbury – feel free to add yours.

Lows

  • All festival coverage on all channels. Rubbish.
  • Leonard Cohen not being on the box.
  • All of the broadsheets’ hysterical, nauseating Glastonbury coverage – particularly style barometers telling you what to wear at the festival.
  • People coming back from Glastonbury and trying to tell you how ‘seriously wicked’ it was, despite you violently waving them away as if they were a blue-bottle.

Highs

  • The office being quiet.
  • Going to the park on a sunny day in my East London manor and not finding it impossible to get a spot due to jugglers and bongo players.
  • Going to the park on a sunny day in my East London manor and not finding it impossible to get a spot due to fashion victim indie kids (that would’ve been an oxymoron five years ago) bleating loudly on their mobile telephones.
  • Scrunching up the Glastonbury supplements that came with the broadsheets and using them to stretch the leather on my new shoes.

You may now call me a curmudgeon, if you wish.

Glastonbury on the BBC

July 1, 2008

Aha! Festival time! The season when all publications pull out their stock book of cliches and plagiarise themselves in a transparent effort to seem at one with the zeitgeist! Huzzah! Boomshanka!

As if you weren’t sick of it already from the endless coverage in every publication other than music magazines (that shithouse NME aside), as if you hadn’t puked real tears from your colon upwards upon seeing ‘style thermometers’ in the broadsheets recommending which designer wellies to shove on your pointless feet, as if you hadn’t already ticked off which hopeless, mediocre, electro-punk-fuzz rock/pop fusion supergroups you were going to lap up in lacklustre fashion like an artificial indie drone when you finally got to the hell of the desecrated countryside, they then go and put Glastonbury ON THE FUCKING TV as well.

For the purposes of this blog and in the vain hope of seeing a half decent performance (in comfort rather than from the back of an enormous marquee while trying to avoid a flag some South African twat keeps waving), I tuned in. I V plussed the whole lot and forwarded a hell of a lot of the crap.

That’s a lot of forwarding. A hell of a lot. My forward finger’s gone all bent.

Before I start, I should point out that I don’t for one moment think that watching all of the BBC’s output gives any insight into the festival itself. I’m clear that this is a BBC production and that many of those who went to Glastonbury won’t have seen any of the crap outlined below and will have had a jolly wheeze. This is really a criticism of the rubbish on BBCs 3, 4 and 2 more than Eavis’s garden fete. So if you went, don’t get all defensive.

Trying to keep a chronological list of what I viewed would’ve been logistically difficult, so I’ll highlight and lowlight what I absorbed.

Full-on, MOR bilge

Mark Ronson, step right up. Hours were dedicated to this little shyster playing his coffee-table cover versions. Except he wasn’t really playing – he was whacking a cowbell while a team of session musicians joylessly flapped about behind him. To distract the audience from this fact, special guest after special guest was invited out to ruin perfectly good songs. The best example of this was Lily Allen shitting on the already shitty Oh My God by the Kaiser Chiefs.

Flat, atonal, vocally weak, if this wasn’t an abject lesson in why famous peoples’ kids shouldn’t be indulged on the strength of their name, I don’t know what is.

In addition to this, we suffered KT Turnstile, James fucking fuck’s sake Blunt, Will Young (?!), Goldfrapp, Crowded Fucking House and yes, Vampire Weekend. Despite claims to the contrary, this band are as middle of the bloody road as a centrally plonked white line in a central motorway along the equator. So, so dull. Sting. The Police. Get lost.

Rubbish, weak, noughties indie

Pigeon Detectives. Kate Nash, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Get Lost. The Enemy. Editors. All of these were showcased on the BBC while interesting bands (interesting because I quite like them) such as Los Campesinos, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Young Knives were all overlooked in favour of the flavour of the month, which inevitably left a bitter taste on the buds.

A handful of highlights

A song each on the main coverage from Spiritualized, Band of Horses, The Verve, MGMT, The National. Despite the fact that the latter were rather sullied when Edith Bowman made out she’d invented them. A few full sets on the red button (including some of the above groups) were alright as well, but were also non-recordable – which was handy.

Hip hop at Glastonbury

I’m a fan of a fair bit of hip hop music but as I’m middle class and from the midlands I try not to talk about it in public for fear of sounding anything like Tim Westwood. Jay Z’s set was alright, considering live hip hop usually sounds abominable. What was hard to digest was the constant adulation the BBC presenters gave businessman and occasional rapper Jigga.

He’s made a few great to excellent tunes, fair enough, and he’s sold a lot of records, but he does put out a fair bit of shite. Anything he’s done with that berk Pharrell is unlistenable. The constant ‘bringing hip hop to Glastonbury’ celebration the presenters brayed about was ludicrous – hip hop has been at the festival for years. Why don’t the likes of Roots Manuva get the honour of bringing the genre to a festival it’s already at? Nonsense.

The bloody presenters

Mark Radcliffe dithered but was amiable. Lauren Laverne was her usual geeky self – likable but irritating simultaneously. Phil Jupitus was wheeled out for nostalgic reasons. That Rufus chap with the comedy moustache had the unenviable task of showing the odd stuff that goes on away from the music at Glastonbury to entertain people on drugs and pierced bozos. All of these I could bear. Even that Grimshaw fellow was alright. The rest of them were horrible.

Jo Whiley, a woman who seems to be permanently wincing, kept trying to tell her audience that they were missing out by not being there where all other presenters were trying to convince them that they were better off at home watching footage. I’ve followed Whiley’s career from the off. I remember her first ever transmission where she kept talking over a live Teenage Fanclub set on Radio One and she’s not improved. Not one jot.

Annie Mac looked extremely vacant. She earns bonus points for having passively dissed Mark Ronson, but aside from that she was nothing more than a curly blur. Grimshaw (is that his name or have I made that up?) kept her afloat. She was clearly on hyper-intertia-drugs.

The booby prizes undoubtedly go to Edith Bowman and Zane Lowe.

It’s baffling to me why these two are in gainful employment. Edith talks so earnestly and joylessly about stuff that’s completely pointless that it makes the viewer roll their eyes frequently enough for it to resemble epilepsy.

Zane Lowe, on the other hand, sits like a twatty teenager thinking he’s above everything. His wisecracks are second-rate, his wannabe laidback style conceals panic inside and his attempts at cool come off as horribly desperate. Putting these two together was a low shot from the BBC, designed to annoy the sit-at-home festival goer so much that they got to the point of watching the stuff on the red button, just to prove that people use that neglected function.

Apart from that – nothing to report. Amy Winehouse was a coked up, furry, stick-insect arsehole again – but what’s new? I wish that fan had punched back.

CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!

 

*BANG*

 

*thud*