The music industry’s most raucous night – sorry, not sorry – we know how to throw a party, and a mighty, messy one at that. Crashing into tables, disturbing fancy dress, and two hospital visits in one night for one unlucky guest is just the start of it…
With 2020’s ceremony fast approaching, we take a look back at some of the most iconic, legendary and downright batshit moments from ceremonies years.
- Want to get in on the action? You can snap up a ticket for The NME Awards 2020, which will take place at Brixton’s O2 Academy on Wednesday February 12, here.
1The Beatles play their final UK concert
Back in the day, the NME Awards was a lot more straight-laced than the carnage that goes on now, meaning there were far less weird and wild occurrences. But one pretty mad thing went down in 1966. The Beatles, the biggest band in the world, the biggest band… ever, did their last ever UK live performance at our bash. How nice of them.
2Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s silent speech
In 2003, BRMC were awarded the gong for Best Video, and the band dutifully made their way to the stage to collect it. Things took a turn for the weird when upon accepting the trophy drummer Nick Jago stood in silence and stared blankly at the audience for seven painstakingly awkward minutes. Why didn’t anyone stop him? We’ll never know, but we’ll never forget it.
3The Libertines get poetic
In 2004, The Libertines collected their Best Band award in true Libertines style – with Pete Doherty and Carl Barat swapping lines from the poem ‘Suicide In The Trenches’. Never has Siegfried Sassoon seemed so edgy.
4Russell Brand starts beef with Bob Geldof
The NME Awards also played host to one of the weirdest beefs of all time: Russell Brand vs Bob Geldof. Things got heated at the 2006 ceremony, with Brand deciding to taking a pop Sir Bob as he presented Geldof (collecting for Live 8) with an award for Best Music DVD. “Please welcome to the stage Sir Bobby Gandalf everybody”, he scoffed, to which Geldof replied with “Russell Brand, what a c**t.” The beef didn’t stop there. When Brand returned to the stage, he quipped: “Really, it’s no surprise that he’s such an expert on famine. He has been dining out on ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ for 30 years.”
5Dev Hynes turns up from a galaxy far, far away
Back in 2008, when Dev Hynes was still operating under his Lightspeed Champion moniker, he brought a touch of sci-fi to his awards performance. Not only did he dress up as Darth Vader, but his band also included a big, furry Chewbacca. Don’t believe us? You can watch the performance here.
6Foo Fighters won’t stop playing
For our Godlike Genius award, the recipient closes out the ceremony with a handful of songs, an annual tradition that started with New Order in 2005. When Dave Grohl picked up the most honourable of titles in 2011, the Foo Fighters launched into celebratory set, but continued to play for two hours, totalling up 23 tracks including a complete run-through of their then-new album, ‘Wasting Light’. A surprise Foos set? No complaints from us.
7Oli Sykes crashes Coldplay’s table
There’s crashing a table and then there’s crashing a table. During a performance of ‘Happy Song’ at the 2016 awards, Bring Me The Horizon’s frontman Oli Sykes sauntered through the audience before hopping on top of Coldplay’s table, much to the band’s amusement. It also happened to be the year that Chris Martin & co took home the coveted NME Godlike Genius award, but Sykes claimed that the stunt was “in no way a protest against Coldplay” when speaking to NME a few days after…
8Ryan Jarman’s near-death experience
Sykes’ attempt at table crashing were nothing compared to Ryan Jarman’s tumbling at 2006 awards. After Kaiser Chiefs were handed the award for Best Live Band, The Cribs’ frontman clambered onto Kaiser Chiefs’ table, knocking over everyone’s glasses and bottles, injuring himself in the process. To the A&E ward he was sent and stitched up, but ever-faithful to the sesh, Jarman returned to the afterparty before he was sent back to A&E again due to excessive bleeding. Hospitalised twice in one night in the name of Rock n Roll? Mr Jarman, we salute you.
9Fat White Family deliver one of the weirdest speeches of all time
Well, their friend did, anyway. The south Londoners picked up the Philip Hall Radar Award in 2014, but frontman Lias Saoudi barely said a word. Instead, he left it up to unofficial spokesman Patrick Lyons who told “it like it is” as the singer stood silently next to him. At one point he compared the band to “the wild American prairie” and said they might “just save America with their music”. Even Lias looked slightly bemused.
10The ultimate supergroup
In 2017, the NME Awards got collab-y when members of (*deep breath*) Peace, Black Honey, Slaves, Years & Years, Swim Deep plus Charli XCX and Pixie Geldof joined forces to play as Bands4Refugees. In ‘Choose Love’ slogan tees, the supergroup performed a lively cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Gimme Shelter’ in aid of Help Refugees. Such good eggs.
11Welcoming… Loyle Corner
When tasked with presenting the award for Best British Solo Artist at the NME Awards in 2018, Big Narstie had one job: to announce the name of the winner. That is all. He proceeded to mistakenly bellow out “Loyle Corner!” with total confidence.
12A false start for Charli
When it came to filming a clip for her acceptance speech for ‘Boys’, winner of Best Track at 2018’s NME Awards, Charli XCX offered some sound advice: “Go party, get fucked up, see you later.” Not all was cool, though. Multiple takes of the clip showed her goofing off, struggling to start up her open-top sports car and hopping the curb, proving that even uber-famous pop stars have their moments, too.