Monday, February 23, 2009

NME Awards Show - Glasvegas, Friendly Fires, White Lies and Florence & The Machine

There are times when you have to be either 19 or on drugs to last a full night. Last Saturday evening I was neither and have therefore a good enough reason not to have endured the full schedule. But instead of leaving early, I decided on skipping the beginning of the NME Award show at Brixton Academy. In doing so I missed the much hyped Flo and her bloody Machine (not that it mattered - she made a guest appearance on just everybody else's show later on) and the first few songs from black clad mood rockers White Lies.

Unfortunately I missed To Loose My Life, their Dave Gahan sounding orgy in melancholy, which is also their best song if you ask me. White Lies is one of those bands I would have liked to see in a small club venue, especially since this was the first time our live paths crossed. They have good tunes, but it's no exaggeration when people compare them to Interpol, Editors and Joy Division. Luckily, I like that sort of sound but the fact that their debut album went straight to No. 1 worries me a bit.

Next up Friendly Fires. This was also a live debut for me but you can tell Friendly Fires has been playing together for a while. Their punk-funk filled the venue and, when the strobes went crazy during Jump In The Pool, Broxton Academy turned into a disco. The self-titled album (on my top ten list for 2008) is one of those evenly brilliant albums where just every song is a stomping hit single worthy of worldwide attention.

Obvious songs to praise include the already mentioned Jump In The Pool, opener Lovesick, monster hit Paris and set closer Ex-Lover. Friendly Fires perfectly fuse guitar pop with disco funk with added cowbells and horn sections. As such, comparisons to LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture are inevitable but the truth is that Friendly Fires hold their own ground and provide a natural link to legendary post punkers, like Gang of Four, XTC and Magazine.

And the main course: Glasvegas. Their album is only just six months old but they are already a force to be reckoned with. And rightly so - they tap into many of the ingredients that make British music great; larger-than-life guitars, tales of despair in working class cities, stone walled lead singers in sunglasses and gigantically epic choruses. (Did I just describe Oasis without even knowing it?) There is no doubt James Allen & Co. knows how to write a tune and to put on a show. Last song, Daddy's Gone, is sent off with Batman-like spotlights and a never-ending rain of confetti - a suitable ending to a celebration of the next generation British pop stars.

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