The weirdest and wildest moments in NME Awards history

From The Beatles last-ever UK show and Russell Brand starting a beef with Bob Geldof to an indie rock legend being sent to hospital – twice

It’s the music industry’s most raucous night (sorry, not sorry), and we know how to throw a party – 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.

The Beatles play their final UK concert

Credit: Cummings Archives/Redferns

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.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s silent speech

Nick Jago of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performs as part of the Download Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on October 06, 2007 in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

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.

The Libertines get poetic

The Nme Awards At The Hammersmith Palais, London, Britain – 12 Feb 2004, The Libertines (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

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.


Russell Brand starts beef with Bob Geldof

Russell Brand at the Shockwaves NME Awards 2006 during Shockwaves NME Awards 2006 – Inside Arrivals at Hammersmith Palais in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Richard Lewis/WireImage)

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.”

Dev Hynes turns up from a galaxy far, far away

Shockwaves Nme Awards 2008, Indigo2, London, Britain – 28 Feb 2008, Lightspeed Champion – Devonte ‘Dev’ Hynes (Photo by Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

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.

Foo Fighters won’t stop playing

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – FEBRUARY 23: Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters performs on stage at the Shockwaves NME Awards at Brixton Academy on February 23, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Annabel Staff/Redferns)

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.

Oli Sykes crashes Coldplay’s table

Credit: Caitlin Mogridge/NME

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…


Ryan Jarman’s near-death experience

Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME

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.

Fat White Family deliver one of the weirdest speeches of all time

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 26: onstage at the annual NME Awards at Brixton Academy on February 26, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

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.

The ultimate supergroup

Credit: Dean Chalkley

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.

Welcoming… Loyle ‘Corner’

Loyle Carner attends the VO5 NME Awards held at Brixton Academy on February 14, 2018 in London, England.

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.


A false start for Charli

Charli XCX performs on stage at The O2 Institute Birmingham on October 28, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

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.