Andrew WK/Lostprophets/BRMC/The Coral : Portsmouth Pyramid Centre

Job done again as the NME Carling Tour draws to a close...

So, as they've made clear in interviews, the bands on this year's NME Carling Awards Tour don't get along. No matter. Because, while that might make for a fractious touring atmosphere, as they attempt to outshine their rivals it's wholly to our advantage.

First up, hooded and spar-boxing, James Skelly leads Coral through their habitually eclectic attempt to flummox at least half the audience. Still, while they might not be making any friends on the tourbus, in bringing sea-shanty psychedelia into port, they leave Pompey with a clutch of new admirers.

As do Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, taking to the stage in clothes so black they look like a Tolkien subsect. They start slowly but, by the time their splatters of white noise and precision-sharp riffing reach full-propulsion for 'Spread Your Love' and 'Whatever Happened To My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)', they are hypnotically jack-knifing together Iggy And The Stooges, Velvet Underground and Madness. If you need to brush up on your classic rock reference points, there's no better place to start.

From the very start of their set Lostprophets inspire rabid crowd euphoria with their Brit-flavour Nu-Metal. Coming at their chosen genre in peculiar fashion, they might cram songs with quieter moments and wild tempo changes, but crucially they have the muscle to get away with it. Whether they can compete with the US big guns remains to be seen, but tonight they are run-away crowd favourites.

Which only leaves rock's biggest doorstep challenge. Dressed in customary off-whites and looking aww-shucks-pleased to be here, Andrew WK immediately polarises the crowd. Half are so utterly appalled they spend the next 40 minutes raining cans onto the stage. The rest, meanwhile, are insanely trying to wave lighters during an ear shattering 'I Get Wet' and following all his instructions about partying till they vomit their rectums. They have a point. After all, the best rock is always inherently ridiculous and gloriously stupid, hugely entertaining stomps like 'Party Hard', 'I Love NYC' and 'Don't Stop Living In the Red' are no exceptions.

Leaving Portsmouth baffled, challenged, entertained and sweaty - and that's probably just Andrew WK - the NME Tour rumbles on. Job done again.

Jim Alexander

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