The latest Lock-In ended with glitter, crowd walkabouts and a spot of dancing on the bar
When most people claim to be “working late at the office”, it’s an excuse for illicit trysts, gambling habits or secret double lives as a vigilante superhero. At NME, though, it’s an excuse to rock our subterranean place of business clean out of the ground to the sound of the country’s finest rising talent. It’s called the NME Lock-In, when the actual NME office is turned into a venue called Minus 2 (it’s two floors underground, y’see) and we invite lucky competition winners in for a night of fiery rock’n’roll frolics. Last night (May 3), in association with 19 Crimes Winery, we saw Uxbridge grunge heroes Bloxx and indie pop saviours Sea Girls blowing minds, stealing hearts and dancing on our in-office bar. Here’s what happened…
From 3pm, the desks are cleared and the NME office becomes the swankiest pop-up gig venue in London.
Imagine 60 Minute Makeover, but with substantially more wine.
Never has there been a greater incentive to work late at the NME...
As the doors opened, the lucky few who'd bagged a ticket on NME.com started loading up for the night ahead, thanks to a couple of free drinks tokens each...
And the 19 Crimes began to flow (drink responsibly, kids).
It was a pretty hi-tech evening, broadcast live over the internet and full of opportunities to use the 19 Crimes phone app to learn about the real-life criminals and ex-cons adorning their labels. No Pete Doherty yet, though.
And the stage was set for the wildest Lock-In yet.
First up, Uxbridge's Bloxx hit the stage for half an hour of scorching atmospheric grunge pop, channelling Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and Wolf Alice.
"You can moshpit if you want," singer Fee Booth told the crowd ahead of 'Coke' - a kind of Pixies rom-com theme - and the crowd obliged.
"Bit hot in here," Fee grinned, launching into their luscious next single 'Second Opinion', a major hit with anyone that remembers Madder Rose.
Latest single 'Novocain' took a funkier turn, setting the dance floor alight with the evening's first official disco strut.
And the crowd went pleasantly dizzy to their occasional Smiths-ish spangle-riff.
They closed with fan favourite 'Your Boyfriend', having invented what we've decided to call dream-grunge. You're welcome.
Between acts, the crowd hit the bar...
...grooved on down to the Dee-Liteful sounds of NME's Dan Stubbs on the decks...
...or checked out the magical things their phone could do around the venue, before the main event.
"Sea Giiirls! Sea Giiirls!" The terrace chant went up as the nation's greatest nu indie act took the stage, and certainly one chap seemed as happy as watching West Ham win away.
Sea Girls are notorious for stirring up insane crowd antics (Manchester, apparently, is still recovering), and early single 'Call Me Out' had the crowd bouncing like maniacs.
And the spellbinding romance of 'Heavenly War' was met with such a euphoric response you'd think they'd just cancelled Brexit.
The riot pop of 'Lost' was a high-point of a set full of canyon atmospherics, sky-grabbing melodies and arena rock ambitions - these guys are sure-fire superstars-in-waiting.
Ans they might not have to wait too long, if the summery shimmer of the forthcoming 'Too Much Fun' is anything to go by. Singer Henry Camamile (no, seriously) even claims he can feel the love emanating from the internet stream.
Come the driving pop epic 'Adore', Henry was off the stage and dancing on the NME's bar, very much the sort of scenes we see down here at 6pm most Fridays.
Piling into the crowd, Henry was showered in golden confetti...
...bonded with his public...
...and was roared back onstage for the Lock-In's first ever encore.
It was so unexpected they had to play 'Call Me Out' again, another great opportunity to wonder why nobody had previously thought to sound like both The Kooks and The Maccabees at once.
An incredible night all round, and these are the sort of leftovers we like to find lying around the office in the morning. Cheers!