An unexpectedly morbid start to proceedings this year, with White Lies playing 'Death' ("I picture my own grave/Because fear's got a hold on me..."), before host Mark Watson implores us to "Enjoy the NME Awards. You might as well because we'll all be fucking dead soon".
It's not quite "Scream for me, Brixton!", is it?
Still, jet black opening aside, everyone agrees that the atmosphere is far better than it was at the sterile Indigo club last year. Perhaps that's because the Academy feels like familiar territory to London gig-goers - a home fixture.
Already, people are clambering over each other, moving between tables, visibly loosened up and having a good time, just minutes into the ceremony.
From my vantage point in the wings I think I just saw Jamie Reynolds - although it was hard to tell because he was partially obscured by La Roux's vertiginous quiff.
Next up: Elbow, doing 'Grounds For Divorce' with a great big fuck-off orchestra. Sounds colossal.