The NME News Music Tour kicked off tonight (May 6) at Bristol University.
Getting the show underway, Howling Bells played a stirring and spohesticated set including ‘Wishing Stone’ and ‘Low Happening’ from their self-titled album, which is released on Monday (May 8).
“We would have loved to have played the whole tour,” frontwoman Juanita Stein told NME.COM, alluding to the fact her band play only the first three dates of this year’s tour, “but we’re just going to enjoy ourselves as much as we can while we’re here and it was great. I was really surprised so many people turned up at 7.30 to see us play.”
Next up, wearing their regular question mark T-shirts, Leeds‘ iForward Russia! launched a sonic assault on the sold-out crowd, blasting songs – all given numbers rather than conventional titles – from their album ‘Give Me A Wall’, including track ‘Seven’ which witnessed this tour’s first crowd surfer.
“It’s great that new talent is given an opportunity like this,” guitarist Whiskas said. “It’s such a good chance to show people what we all do.”
Following on, The Automatic heated up the already baking venue with sweaty and infectious set of electro pop bites, including the likes of ’Monster’ and ’Raoul’.
“This tour is going to be wicked,” guitarist Frost declared. “There were no nerves for us, we just couldn’t wait to get started and it was amazing.”
The gig then reached its climax with headliners Boy Kill Boy closing the night with a thunderous set that previewed songs their forthcoming album ‘Civilian’, including new single ’Suzie’, ‘On And On’ and ‘Civil Sin’.
“All the bands on this tour are fucking brilliant,” said singer Chris Peck. “Which means there was some pressure on us as we were headlining, but that’s good. It makes you better because you’ve got to match those guys.”
However the singer added the rivalry was all very friendly. “There’s been a really good spirit this afternoon,” he said. “We want to be good because we all want this tour to succeed.”
The NME New Music Tour continues with dates in Cardiff (May 7) and Wolverhampton (8), after which The Long Blondes will take over from the Howling Belles in Glasgow (10).
The full tour runs:
Cardiff University (7)*
Wolverhampton Wulfrun (8)*
Glasgow QMU (10)
Middlesbrough Empire (11)
Manchester University (12)
Portsmouth Pyramid (14)
Leicester University (15)
Cambridge Junction (16)
Norwich UEA (18)
Sheffield Leadmill (19) (No Forward Russia)
Liverpool Carling Academy (20)
Oxford Brookes University (23)
London Electric Ballroom (24)
*Howling Bells replace the Long Blondes