NME Awards Tour feat: Metronomy, Azealia Banks - Brixton Academy, London 25/02/12
Photos by Tim Boddy
NME still hold the somewhat dubious title of the most read music rag in the UK that would make one think they're still at the forefront of the music scene. Instead what appears to happen, as aptly demonstrated today, they lump behind doomed revivals and play constant catch up with the internet. While this line up is somewhat impressive, their much championed Gallagher fellating pretty boys Tribes played higher up the bill than Azealia Banks, the dirty mouthed rapper that's more controversial, if not more interesting and relevant, than their favourites is testament to their resilience to change in the ironic prescience of the token of their downfall.
Banks, to her eternal credit, played her part well on a stage built for more than a girl and her DJ. While I know very little of Azealia past '212' (much like most of the audience) she pulled out a powerful set that got the already half full crowd going excellently. Backed with just decks and a powerful voice (that sang a cover of Amy Winehouse's take on The Zutons a cappella competently) the only real let down was the sound which came out overly trebbly and lacking the clarity and oomph in the bass that a performer such as the young New Yorker needed.
After a brief interlude in which Tribes showcased their love of their trendy dads CD collection between 1990 and 1995 Metronomy took to the stage in an understated cacophony of lights, synths and that faintly camp dancing that we've all come to associate with the brilliance that is Oscar Cash.
The last time I saw Metronomy I was in a tent in the back end of London watching 3 men on stage with a bunch of flashing lights and the level of eccentricity that can only be achieved by being truly English. I'm unaware of any of the band members heritage but there's something charming yet quintessentially mad about them and I'm delighted to report that in their age and experience they've not lost that sense of fun.
Mixing up the best of their latest effort The English Riviera with some of the more jaunty tunes from Nights Out saw the surprisingly adult crowd start to dance more than any of the previous bands had, with 'Heartbreaker', 'The Bay' and 'Thing For Me' in the middle of the set pushing the audience into the sort of madness that Metronomy should induce.
Finishing on 'The Look' followed by 'Holiday' exaggerated on their claim for the most enjoyable live act with the audience almost universally enraptured with the warped disco influences flowing from the stage. Despite the slight let down of a rather dampened sound from the speakers their set was flawless.
And with that we left, missing the finale of Two Door Cinema Club to both catch the train home and avoid ruining the Metronomy high. And so we're left with a conundrum - the NME still has people left with enough taste and sense to put Metronomy and Azealia Banks out to a wider audience, who in turn swallowed it whole and enjoyed it and in the process created an excellent atmosphere, so why on earth are they still peddling guitar based wallpaper?
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