VO5 NME Awards 2017: The best live performances from the ceremony’s history

Who'll be added to this list after February's big show?

Aside from all the trophy-giving, drunk rock stars being mischievous and the chance to see all your favourites in one room, one of the best things about any NME Awards ceremony is the live performances. Over the years, tons of greats have entertained the masses between acceptance speeches, from Foo Fighters and Blondie, to Kasabian and The Beatles. Relive some of those moments below and keep an eye out for the line up for the VO5 NME Awards 2017, which takes place on Februay 15 at London’s O2 Academy Brixton. Voting is still open so have your say here and grab tickets for the ceremony while you still can.  

NME Awards 2017

New Order

In 2005, New Order were crowned Godlike Geniuses. To celebrate, they put on one heck of a mini set, including a mash up of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ and their classic track ‘Blue Monday’. If that wasn’t enough, there was also Bernard Sumner’s fantastic dad dancing on show.

Foo Fighters

Why play three songs when you can play for two hours? That seems to have been Dave Grohl’s thinking when he picked up the Godlike Genius award in 2011. With a little help from his Foo Fighters bandmates, the nicest guy in rock gave back to the O2 Academy Brixton crowd with a mammoth set of hits that proved his heavenly status.


Whatever you thought of Coldplay receiving the Godlike Genius award in 2016, if you were in the room when they took to the stage that night all your cynicism and preconceptions were immediately blown away. Their performance was truly unifying, with guests, icons and NME staff up on the chairs and tables and roaring along to every word.

The Libertines

With Pete Doherty back in the band following his first stint in prison, the boys in the band turned up at 2004’s ceremony to play a revved up version of ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ and remind everyone it was the music we should be talking about.

The Beatles

Pete and Carl might be synonymous with close-quarters mic-sharing, but John and Paul did it way before them. Here, with a legion of screaming fans in the background, the pair, George and Ringo run through a masterful version of ‘Baby’s In Black’. Sublime.

Manic Street Preachers

Another stellar Godlike Genius performance came from Manic Street Preachers in 2008. How could a set that included an absolutely epic ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ not be included on this list? The Blackwood trio also invited Catatonia’s Cerys Matthews on stage to join them for a gorgeous ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’.


There are few better ways to open an awards ceremony than with Kasabian’s bombast and Noel Fielding throwing decapitated heads into the audience. That was the scene in 2010 when the Leicester group teamed up with their comedian mate for a performance of ‘Vlad The Impaler’. Pure twisted fun.

Damon Albarn & Graham Coxon

Perhaps one of the most emotional live performances in NME Awards history. The Blur twosome reunited on stage for the first time in nearly a decade at the 2009 event and played this heart wrenching version of ‘This Is A Low’. Proof you don’t need to go in all guns blazing to make a lasting impression.


Celebrating 40 years as a band and their newly crowned Godlike Genius status, Blondie looked and sounded as exciting as you’d want from one of the world’s greatest bands. Debbie Harry’s performance was as iconic as ever, while guitarist Chris Stein looked hella cool in his long white lab coat. True legends.


Jarvis Cocker was busy at the 2012 Awards. As well as hosting the whole event, he also took a “break” to perform with Pulp. This rendition of ‘Mis-Shapes’ is as good as any you’ll hear, urgent and flawless.

Johnny Marr and Ronnie Wood

If you can’t get Morrissey and Marr back together, what’s the next best thing? Pair the former Smiths guitarist up with a legend from another band, of course. So it came to be that Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood joined Marr on stage at the 2013 ceremony. A dream pairing, if ever there was one.