The Grammys are a very serious affair. Major streets in Downtown Los Angeles are closed, so much hairspray has been used that the whole area is now a fire hazard and there are hoards of serious-looking police officers milling around The Staples Center, the enormous sports arena where the event takes place. Fingers crossed there was no actual crime happening anywhere else in this town, eh California?
NME managed to wangle itself a ticket to the music industry’s biggest day of the year to watch the majesty and insanity unfold right in front of our eyes. This year’s live performances are some of the finest the event has ever played host to. There’s Frank Ocean and his pre-taped running legs, a heartfelt tribute to the late, great Levon Helm of The Band from Alabama Shakes, Mavis Staples, Elton John and Mumford & Sons, and Jack White in his sequinned peacock Nudie-style suit *possibly* singing the word fuck and definitely channeling the spirit of a sexwizard.
Talking of swearing – and this year’s ceremony was expletive-ridden to say the least – the UK does itself proud, with Adele squealing that she’s “shitting” herself about performing at the Oscars in the press room, to stunned looks from US journos (“what did she say!?” asks more than one baffled hack) and Mumford & Sons getting bleeped by the censors during their acceptance speech for Record of the Year before repeatedly telling the press room how “fucking awesome” it is to win, whilst swilling plastic glasses of whisky over the stage. Good lads.
However, not every performance is as compelling as the aforementioned turns. It faux-rains on Fun. during the mediocre band’s live outing, which frankly is the least they deserve for their utterly bland synth rock. The group’s win for Song of the Year does see a new entertainment industry power couple anointed, with Lena Dunham and Fun.’s black-framed glasses dude stepping up as 2013’s most successful twentysomething lovebirds. After giddily tweeting “OMG I HOPE JACK WHITE IS THERE FUCKKKKKKKKKK”, Tyler, The Creator sees his wish come true, and Instagrams a picture of himself with the former White Stripe. Tyler also gets points for possibly the best celeb tweet during the show, asking as ‘The Weight’ is played: “TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR FANNY, AND PUT THE LOAD ON ME? WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SONG SAYING HAHAHA.” I mean, we’ve all thought it, haven’t we?
Though NME spends most of the pre-Grammy’s on covert ops, sneaking around the Staples Center and seeing how far we can get with totally the wrong passes – more to follow in next week’s issue of the magazine – we do manage to catch a bit of the pre-Grammys. You see, about 8,745 of the awards are handed out before the actual televised event, including the Best Producer gong. This year The Black Keys’ frontman Dan Auerbach scoops the prize. We’re sure that grandmothers across the nation are just as appalled as we were to see him chewing gum during his acceptance speech. Shocking.
Keeping things more fittingly rock ‘n’ roll is Jay-Z. NME sneaks a peek inside famed snapper Danny Clinch’s special onsite photo studio to see Hova pouring cognac inside his Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Grammy for ‘No Church In The Wild’ and then sipping from it, all dandy-like, worrying not about rusting his new trophy. We soon realise that this is the best spot in the house, and hang around to see Taylor Swift slink in and play about with her rhinestone iPhone and see a number of other interchangeable blonde female country singers grin wildly and shake their hair extensions whilst looking misty eyed, probably about Jesus.
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A selected list of Grammy Awards 2013 is as follows:
Best Album: Mumford & Sons, ‘Babel’
Record of the Year: Gotye featuring Kimbra, ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’
Best New Artist: Fun.
Song of the year: Fun featuring Janelle Monae, ‘We Are Young’
Best pop solo performance: Adele, ‘Set Fire To The Rain (Live)’
Best pop duo/group performance: Gotye featuring Kimbra, ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’
Best pop vocal album: Kelly Clarkson ‘Stronger’
Best dance recording: Skrillex featuring Sirah, ‘Bangarang’
Best dance/electronica album: Skrillex, ‘Bangarang’
Best traditional pop vocal album: Paul McCartney, ‘Kisses On The Bottom’
Best rock performance: The Black Keys, ‘Lonely Boy’
Best rock song: The Black Keys, ‘Lonely Boy’
Best rock album: The Black Keys, ‘El Camino’
Best R&B performance: Usher, ‘Climax’
Best urban contemporary album: Frank Ocean, ‘Channel Orange’
Best R&B album: Robert Glasper Experiment, ‘Black Radio’
Best rap performance: Jay-Z & Kanye West, ‘N****s In Paris’
Best rap album: Drake, ‘Take Care’
Best country album: Zac Brown Band, ‘Uncaged’