Congrats to Sonos competition winner and music blogger Tom Edwards, who wrote the following behind-the-scenes account of the 2012 NME Awards.
Last Wednesday I was lucky enough to be in attendance as the best of the UK’s indie scene turned out for that most rock’n’roll of awards parties, the NME’s.
As the wide-eyed, competition-winning guest of Best British Band award sponsors Sonos, I was waiting in the wings with former Radio 1 DJ Colin Murray to get the lowdown from all the bands on the night (which you can hear on the official Sonos podcast). I got through enough beers to drown a monkey, saw some mind blowing live shows, and even got to meet the legendary Johnny Marr. As part of this though I was also given the opportunity to write a blog review for NME, so here’s my piece on Noel Gallagher’s epic show-closing performance:
Even for Noel Gallagher, being crowned a godlike genius isn’t something that happens every day. It’s a lofty claim, and if The Chief were to stake it with real gusto, he would have to take to the stage and blow the goddamn roof off.
But, of course, this is Noel Gallagher. So that’s exactly what he proceeded to do.
Kicking off the set with a re-imagined version of early Oasis B-side “(Its Good) To Be Free”, Noel and his High Flying Birds demonstrated that they really are beginning to define a sound of their own. Unlike the adrenaline-fuelled wall of noise that was the original, this version had much more of a swing about its rhythm and a far more acoustic and dynamic charm.
“Everybody’s On The Run”‘s tempered and punchy psychedelia then segued into the already-anthemic singalong “Dream On.”
Two more NGHFB tracks followed – the first of which, “If I Had A Gun,” possesses for my money the most poignant, most beautifully melodic chorus Noel has produced since the 90′s. And the fact that he could get away with playing four new tracks (including the extremely well received “AKA… What A Life!”) in a gig which most acts would probably fill with a golden oldies collection, proves that there is more than a little life in the old dog yet.
That said, it was of course inevitable that Noel’s godlike lap of honour would have to end on some old Oasis favourites. The first, a rousing rendition of another B-side “Half the World Away” was perhaps somewhat surprising, but the second was most certainly not…
Upon receiving his award, Noel had pointed towards the new guard of musicians assembled before him and said: “To all the bands who have been influenced by me. You are welcome.”
Now, you might think that this was a typically arrogant assumption of his own greatness which was perhaps slightly unwarranted… but believe me when I say that the moment “Don’t Look Back in Anger”‘s explosive chorus reverberated around Brixton’s gorgeous and historic academy, the room – full of the most exciting musical talent our nation can boast – had its arms raised aloft, and in unison, screamed out every single word.
A fitting sermon then from a godlike genius indeed, and if ever he had a church filled full of his most eager disciples, this was surely it.