NME Awards Tour – O2 Academy, Leeds, 20th February 2015
Just two days after the ceremony that gives it its name, the NME Awards Tour 2015 blasts into West Yorkshire. Yet even before the tour reaches Leeds there has been some upheaval. After drummer Scott Duff left the band on the very eve of the tour, The Amazing Snakeheads were forced to pull out of this still prestigious event.
In Sheffield on the previous night there was to be no replacement but by this evening The Wytches have been drafted in as worthy deputies. Not long after 7pm and with the O2 Academy still starting to fill up, the Brighton trio drift through the past darkly peering into the darker recesses of psychedelia, surf guitar and murky noise rock with a set that is just as claustrophobic in its intensity as it is brief.
The enforced absence of The Amazing Snakeheads means that Slaves move one place higher up the bill and they grasp their promotion with both sets of hands. The two men of Kent – Laurie Vincent on guitar and vocals and Isaac Holman on drums and vocals – are in no mood to hang around, packing an incendiary performance with some of the most fierce and spirited garage punk you are ever likely to hear this side of The Sonics. It is little wonder there is such a buzz gathering around Slaves as they snarl, howl and ultimately smile their way through a set that includes the blistering new single ‘Feed The Mantaray’ , its brutal predecessor ‘The Hunter’ and the unhinged chivalry of ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ all of which promise much for their debut album Are You Satisfied which is due out on 1st June.
Fat White Family just go from strength to strength. Taking a break from recording the follow-up to their debut album Champagne Holocaust – using no less than some of John Lennon’s old Beatles gear in the process – the Brixton six piece affirm that there is so much more to them than just assuming a mantle of rock’n’roll outsiders with a fierce reputation for chaos and being out of control. Singer Lias Saoudi keeps most of his clothes on tonight, only ventures once into the crowd and leads Fat White Family through a gripping exercise in anarchic damnation in a seven song set that is switched firmly to the on position right from the very start and resolutely stays there all the way from a masterful ‘Auto Neutron’ right through to the very last strains of a mesmeric ‘Bomb Disneyland’.
It was always going to be difficult for anyone to follow this, let alone Palma Violets, but the London quartet do make a pretty good fist of trying to do so. Two years ago they were being hailed as the new, authentic saviours of indie-rock. It is a promise that still remains largely unfulfilled but performing material from their forthcoming new album Danger In The Club, Palma Violets show that they have added muscle and a greater songwriting guile to the freneticism of much of their earlier material. The album’s title track, ‘Matador’ and the concluding ‘English Tongue’ all point towards a deeper understanding of rock music’s more melodic aesthetic, though the loudest cheers of all are understandably reserved for earlier favourites ‘Best Of Friends’, ‘Last Of The Summer Wine’ and a riotous finale of ‘Chicken Dippers’.
In its twenty year history, the NME Awards Tour has accelerated many a career – some of which remain far more estimable than others – including those of Coldplay, Florence and the Machine, The Killers and current three-time-award winners Kasabian. The present incarnation of the tour proves that there is still plenty of life left in this particular beast and in Slaves and Fat White Family it still has true purveyors of the rock’n’roll spirit of wanton abandon.
Newcastle, O2 Academy (February 21)
Glasgow, O2 ABC (22)
Nottingham, Rock City (24)
Manchester, Ritz (26)
Oxford, O2 Academy (27)
Birmingham, Institute (28)
Bristol, O2 Academy (March 2)
Portsmouth, Pyramids (3)
London, Forum (4)
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.