Goddamn, it was *sweaty*
To beloved east London venue The Shacklewell Arms, where the walls are painted with a tropical mural and where the atmosphere was fittingly humid last night. That was down to the sheer number of bodies packed into the back room for the first night of the V05 NME Awards Shows, a season of special gigs in celebration of the V05 NME Awards 2018.
The ceremony itself will be held at Brixton Academy on Valentine’s night, and last night’s shindig was a delicious taste of the carnage to come. The proceedings were opened by Sheffield indie four-piece Sophie and the Giants, before snarling Welsh upstarts Pretty Vicious broke their own amps and incited a circle pit. Here’s a glimpse into the chaos that unspooled from the stage and into the lairy, larger-than-life audience.
Hot diggidy! If that vibey, millennial pink light box is anything to go by, we’re in for night of absolute bloody antics.
Combining the soulful vocals of Florence + the Machine with the muted pop sensibilities of London Grammar, Sophie and the Giants warmed us up good and proper with delightful ditties such as ‘Over the Moon’.
Singer Sophie Scott delivered impressive vocal acrobatics, while some of their pop confections ticked off finger clicks, plaintive piano chords and even a millennial whoop or two. Talk about a full house!
And then the scene was set for those rambunctious punks from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales…
If that set list doesn’t whet your whistle, nothing will.
Things were raucous from the start, with frontman Brad Griffiths’ mic collapsing, leading a bloke in the front row to dutifully hold it up for him. If he didn’t get a cut of their fee, he needs to talk to his agent.
And it wasn’t long before Griffiths proclaimed: “We’re too loud for this venue. I think we’ve blown loads of speakers on the stage.” If that ringing in our ears is anything to go by, he wasn’t far wrong.
Guitarist Jarvis Morgan whips his hair back and forth, he whips his hair back and forth. Meanwhile, Griffiths quipped: “All the monitors have fucking gone. I don’t know where they’ve gone – to another pub, probably.”
Soon there was a circle pit to the band’s crackling anthem ‘Down My Way’. Nothing could stand between these lads and the absolute time of their bloody lives.
That circle pit became a kind of whirling human rat king, its participants locked together while they spun around as one teeming entity.
Griffiths handed out guitars pics to the front row and teased: “Still got one, though, haven’t I? One more song…” Yes, the band bowed out with massive fan favourite ‘Cave Song’, which was met with a thunderous roar of approval.
Aww! This guy had a real moment with his hero. And, as the NME Awards Tour steamrollers into action, you could soon be in for a similarly massive night.