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NME Awards Tour 2014

It’s usually worth getting to Rock City early doors for the NME’s annual bash and openers Circa Waves prove once again that bottom of the bill does not equate to ‘just making up the numbers’. They play pop with a fair bit of pep and the cheery Get Away has a sweet stop-start catchiness to it, though their excessive reliance on whooping does suggest a worrying lack of rhyming couplets.

“Let me introduce you to the rest of the band,” smirks Royal Blood’s front man Mike Kerr. “That’s Ben.” Good to have some humour amidst the monstrous racket this duo unleash, though you do wonder whether the pair is trying to over compensate for their lack of numbers in sheer volume. Still, they have just about the right amount of quiet in between the noise and they clearly know how to craft a tune from AC/DC levels of riffing.

Now before you start scoffing at the notion of teenagers from Kettering channelling the spirit of San Francisco in ’67, please listen to the marvellous ‘The Great British Psychedelic Trip’ compilations and realise we’ve been doing this sort of thing very well for a long time. Temples clearly grew up insisting ‘birds’ should be spelt with a ‘y’ and continue the fine tradition of mixing soft psyche, kaleidoscope lights and English whimsy to encouraging effect.


There’s obviously nothing in the constitution of the NME tour that says bands must be young or have a new record out (though I do miss the years when it isn’t solely boys and guitars) which means Interpol can stroll out and give us a startlingly brilliant greatest hits set. Their deadpan delivery is as relentless and affecting as ever and Slow Hands even gets some audience participation going. The best headliners since Crystal Castles and as admirably uncompromising, too.


By Paul Drury