NME writers give their opinions on the live chops of the six shortlisted acts
Live music has the power to change your life, to spur you on to achieve great things, to bond you with friends new and old. There’s a reason why people collect old ticket stubs and festival wristbands – they’re souvenirs of some of the greatest nights of our lives. The nominees for Best Live Band supported by Nikon have been voted by you, the NME-reading public, as the six best creators of those nights. Now, you’ve just got to whittle them down to just one winner…
Whether they’re playing tiny venues or gigantic arenas, Bastille know how to put on a show. Stripped back on the production front, they let their bountiful anthems do the work. With more space and budget to work with, they build new worlds and game-changing backdrops. On their arena tour last November, they expanded their sinister WWCOMMS corporation into a whole, all-encompassing show, from CCTV feeds accompanying ‘Blame’ to the newsreader/politician figure from ‘Fake It’ popping up before, between and after every band on the bill. Bastille are a band who couldn’t ever be accused of being complacent or resting on their laurels – they’re one of the hardest-working groups around, constantly thinking up new ways to excel on stage.
Rhian Daly, writer
Bring Me The Horizon
There was only one thing anyone could talk about after the last NME Awards: Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes smashing up Coldplay’s table good and proper. Glasses smashed, wood cracked, Chris Martin looked aghast. Well, don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from, as the metalcore five-piece pack their live shows with energy, unpredictability and buckets of bile and punk spirit. Last year saw them headlining arenas, which is just as it should be: their sound really is that massive. Just don’t invite Oli round your mum’s house for dinner afterwards – he’s bound to make a mess of the table.
Jordan Bassett, staff writer
Christine And The Queens
Héloïse Letissier (aka Christine and the Queens) is the all-singing, all-dancing pop star the world needs right now. Her magnetic stage presence and Michael Jackson-esque dance routines electrify audiences, while her shimmering electro-indie can also make them cry. She’s the perfect antidote to any post-Trump blues. I was lucky enough to catch her at London’s Roundhouse last May and the pansexual, alt-pop singer was a revelation. At the end of her set, Héloïse gave her now-familiar speech where she holds up a bunch of flowers and compares herself to the broken stem in a bouquet of Beyoncés and Rihannas. It’s an endearing statement, but one that doesn’t ring true anymore. Forget Beyoncé, 2017 is all about Christine.
Alex Flood, staff writer
Slaves don’t do anything by the numbers. Instead of cordial niceties with the crowd, witty rebukes to crap chants are a regular fixture. Longwinded epics? Nope. They’ll play a song that lasts a grand total of 15 seconds if they want to. So, if you end up seeing the Tunbridge Wells duo thrash through some punk hits on festival main stages or perhaps down your local pub, know that their live show is an unmissable, intense and often hilarious experience. And don’t expect them to shut up and play the hits.
Thomas Smith, editorial assistant
What was it about The 1975’s shows this year that was so, so good? Was it the jaw-dropping cityscapes on their now iconic illuminated totems? Was it their setlists which opened with the self-pillorying banger ‘Love Me’ and went on to draw on both EP deep cuts and their breakthrough anthems like ‘Sex’? Or was it frontman Matty Healy himself, who wore slippers to The O2, dressed up like Jesus at Glastonbury and spent most gigs smoking, drinking, and making lengthy speeches full of anti-Brexit zeal? Probably a combination of all three, to be honest, but please let’s not forget those ridiculous sax solos. They were brilliant too.
Larry Bartleet, staff writer
A few years ago, Wolf Alice were a band full of potential and promise – good, but still with work to do. In 2016, they accelerated away from that version of themselves faster than you could start a mosh pit to ‘You’re A Germ’. Sets on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage and topping the bill at Margate festival By The Sea proved them to be the greats you always knew they could be, deftly slipping from roaring ragers (‘Fluffy’, ‘You’re A Germ’) to delicate beauties like ‘Blush’ and ‘Silk’. All that and they’re still only on album one. A terrifying, overwhelmingly exciting thought.
Rhian Daly, writer