Review by Sigrid Huber
The NME Award Tour is a safe choice when it comes to discovering new talent. As an annual tradition they (as in the NME people who make sure that we practice what they preach – in a good way) merge emerging new bands with established superstars and let them tour the country for a bit.
On this year’s bill: Circa Waves, Royal Blood, Temples and Interpol.
So at 7 o’clock sharp the young lads from Circa Waves stumbled onto the stage of the beautiful Brixton Academy. The quartet from Liverpool reminded us slightly of a younger version of the Arctic Monkeys – mostly because frontman Keiran Shuddall has a similar hairstyle to Alex Turner circa 2009. The stage looked a bit big for them but all the way they acted surprisingly confidently. The press called them the answer to The Vaccines and it is impressive what they have archived in the last couple of months (as this band was Shuddalls last try to finally make it as a real musician – or either get a real job). Their young indie pop sound is definitely entertaining but what is even more definite is the fact that they haven’t been as rousing as they could have been.
Up next – it took them most likely less then two minutes to set up but a massive amount of stage fog – the rough two-piece that is known as Royal Blood. Oh man, this is a lot of noise. While Ben Thatcher constantly checks the quality of his drums (what will break first his sticks or a drum?) Mike Kerr sings and plays bass. Needless to say that their performance is powerful and loud and the melody of Out of the Black got literally hammered in our heads. No need to tell us “Don’t breathe when I’m talking because you haven’t been spoken to!” we wouldn’t have dared. Especially when Kerr went to the very front of the stage to beat his chest with his fist (to be fair – It had a slightly Neanderthal – like taste to it).
50 minutes later Brixton Academy got surprisingly warm (unwritten law – don’t you ever go in their without a jacket) which lead to the conclusion that highly awaited Temples were about to hit the stage. Those four boys known as a rather trippy psychedelic group coloured the whole room with their sweet “neo-psych” sound. You instantly feel your fathers record collection in your veins and the lovely scent of (strawberry) fields. With his silver sparkling blazer singer James Bagshaw definitely won the award for best jacket on stage this evening but left most of the talking to bassist Thomas Warmsley. A bit “different” but hey! no hard feelings, as we were in our “glowing little retro bubble state of mind”.
Performance-wise the quality on stage grew from band to band but it was a pretty significant step when Interpol finally took to the floor. Suited up – as they do – there was no doubt why we still love them. Singer Paul Banks toured the world in the last couple of years with his solo project but Interpol still seems to fit like this one perfect tailored suit you have in your closet – the one you will always love no matter how long you haven’t worn it. Their set seems to be filled with “hits and hits only” but everyone enjoyed it – singed along and embraced the moment. You obviously don’t have to be the biggest entertainer to set a venue on fire. But while Circa Waves still have to learn how this works Interpol have perfected it. Guitarist Daniel Kessler (hero of dancing moves) and Paul Banks are the two constant factors in that project – the other (live) members seem to come and go since long serving bassist Carlos Dengler left in 2010. So what we saw was a fantastic show with a not so well interacting team. Frontman and perfectionist Paul Banks seems to be aware of this fact and therefore he insisted to start “Hands away” again. A pretty monumental moment – we have never seen this happening before. It didn’t do any harm – Brixton Academy was steaming.