The awards ceremony formerly known as [b]The Brats[/b] returns after a year's hiatus...

The NME Premier Awards return this year on February 1, the day after NME's week-long series of Premier Shows at the London W1 Astoria from January 25-31.

The full line-up for the NME Premier Shows is nearly complete and now boasts Beta Band with support from DJ Iceberg Slim, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Sigur Ros (January 25), Feeder, Terris, A and My Vitriol (26), Asian Dub Foundation, Regular Fries and Invasian plus guests (27), Embrace, Ooberman and Doves (28), Elastica, Fridge, Zan Lyons and Contempo (29), the NME Premier Tour final date with Shack, Les Rythmes Digitales, Campag Velocet and Coldplay (30) and January 31 sees Radio One's Steve Lamacq Live with Ash, Angelica, Muse and guests.

All shows are to be webcast on - keep checking here for further details.

This year's awards takes place at the London EC4 Mermaid Theatre and will be presented by Steve Lamacq and Mary-Anne Hobbs.

NME editor Steve Sutherland said: "When we started the NME Awards six years ago, it was our intention to celebrate and promote as much great new music as we could through every media available."

"Back then, the climate was pretty hostile to innovative talent and opportunities were few so we introduced the NME Awards and, from the very get-go, it was an amazing success, helping change a sterile musical climate into the glorious upheaval that was Britpop."

"But times change. And not always for the better. Over the past year it's become pretty obvious that we're back in the same boat we were in 1993.

"Great new music is being ignored for the sake of get-rich-quick pop and low investment back catalogue."

"I wish I had a quid for every conversation I've had this year with people in the music industry which went along the lines of: 'We need the awards now more than every - the scene's in a terrible state - who's gonna break all the new bands.

"So NME Premier Awards are back once again: to excite, entice, bully, co-erce, force and schmooze anyone who's in a position to recognise the new music talent that's around just waiting to be discovered."

The NME Premier Tour, featuring Shack, Les Rythmes Digitales, Campag Velocet and Coldplay, calls at Glasgow QMU (January 17), Leeds Metro (18), Newcastle University (19), Leicester De Montfort University (21), Manchester University (22), Sheffield University (23), Cardiff University (25), Bristol University (26), Oxford Brookes University (27), Norwich University (29) and London WC1 Astoria (29).

For tickets, go to the Ticketshop - click here[/url]

Or call the 24-Hour NME Virgin Cola Ticketline on 0870 1 663 663. Calls are charged at national standard rate.
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