The New Musical Express are a force to be reckoned with, they possess the pronoun ability to make or break a band, the NME have been an important part of pop culture and socialism in the United Kingdom.
Upcoming British groups are safe within the NME and can use it to be recognized as did The Beatles and The Rolling Stones back in the 1960’s. The magazine may be seen as “too indie” but showcases real talent on tours such as the NME tour that has entertained the masses here tonight at the Birmingham O2 Academy. The tour gives the chance for acts to come out of London and go regional!
Two Door Cinema Club are one of the most exciting bands around at this moment in time, Tribes are the future of Indie, Metronomy have an amazing album and Azealia Banks is one of the most exciting new acts to start 2012 with. Every week NME plough out another magazine with the best and upcoming bands featuring now we can see for ourselves.
The NME have strayed away from being “too indie” this tour as shown by rising star Azealia Banks who on the strength of one single has taken the UK by storm. Gutsy and crude Banks took to the stage performing hits “Liquorice” and “212” which then merged into an unexpected rendition of “Firestarter” which kept the indies on their feet. The New York rapper is hot on the map after gaining notability from the NME “Cool List” and a third place in the BBC’s poll “Sound of 2012.” The former Miss Bank$ with her appealing lyrical flow has something which Nicki Minaj cannot compete with which is of course originality. Azealia doesn’t live on other people’s terms and even at the level she’s at majestically opened the show. Banks’ seasoned bars and angelic voice gives everyone a reason to give her a listen. Like The Vaccines last year I believe Azealia is a star in the making and hot anticipation is surrounding her collaboration with Lana Del Ray.
The next group to take to the stage were “Tribes” who slowed down the crowds hype quite considerably, their recorded stuff is dull and lacks any innovative hits. But on stage the group brought something with them. Tribes are a typical “NME” band, they sum up what the NME is about. The group have an atmospheric sound, but this atmospheric sound is everywhere nowadays, one thing worth mentioning were the strong vocals. They may have the “cool factor” but you have to ask, are they any good? It’s Brit Pop meets Grunge, NME heaven. “We are children” and “Sappho” were high points but Tribes need a good song to kick start their appeal.
Metronomy were on next…2011 was a massive year for the electronic music group with a Mercury Music Prize nomination for their third studio album “The English Riviera” This album has transformed the group from an electronic experiment to one of the “most visionary pop groups in the country.” The groups success have provided a number of live performances and first headlined in 2008, their performance was not just superb musically, it appears the boys are good dancers and bring synchronized light shows with them to the stage. They may have lost the audience at dull points but the delivery of the songs and the crowd favourites “HeartBreaker” and “The Look” were amongst the highlights of the entire evening. Metronomy are just out to have some fun and Mount has plenty of talent to back it. I look forward to their next gig here in Birmingham as they are one of those bands who can fill a set. The group are so successful because they are so unique like the groups influence, the “Funkstorung” producers. Put it this way, who else can convert former girls aloud singer Nicola Robert’s music to become bearable?
Now it was time for the group everyone had come to see. Two Door Cinema Club have done alright in two years since their debut album and have been highly active on the performing circuit. The transition from local support slots for The Maccabees to headlining the NME Tour in such a short space of time makes them worthy top spotters tonight.
The crowd knew all the words and the catchy hooks and lively melodies provided an energetic performance. Just when the crowd were getting a bit bored, TDCC came out to save the day. The group are obviously used to the stage but are not too egotistical. Though headlining they were modest and to top it off actually have the talent, they are a very interesting new sound. They stray away from the NME hype and have grown through their high number of supporters. The band brought back memories from summer festivals, as the academy could sing the words back to the group. The words and songs are catchy and easy to remember.
TDCC seemed so overwhelmed with the position they were in, they couldn’t stop thanking the crowd. Not much happened on stage, but it didn’t need to as every song received a rupture of applause. Everyone knew the words and everyone loved the band. The only thing that distracted me from how good this band were is that some of the guitar riffs sound the same. You start listening to “What You Know” and it sounds suspiciously like “I Can Talk” which then sounds like “Something Good Can Work.” This isn’t a bad thing of course because the songs are so popular, but it seems that this genre of alt-pop does get repetitive which is precisely the thing that puts me off indie music. But TDCC have that oomph that differs them from the rest and provided a great hour of entertainment with two encores.
With another album on the way TDCC previewed new material and recent tracks like “TipToes” and “Sleep Alone” which went down well with the crowd but not as well as previous hits. The group sound excellent recorded and even more so on stage.
I look forward to a Two Door Cinema Club headline event, and hopefully they continue to write songs as high quality as they do, not album fillers like Tribes obviously have. An eventful night with plenty of fresh talent, bring on the NME Tour 2013.
Review – John Kirby
Photos – Katja Ogrin