Watch the epic performances from the BandLab NME Awards 2022

Bring Me The Horizon, FKA twigs, CHVRCHES & Robert Smith and more all graced the Brixton Academy stage

After two years away, the BandLab NME Awards 2022 returned to the musical Mecca of Brixton Academy last week, and to make up for lost time, we brought the most exciting names in music along with us.

Across the night, the hallowed stage saw performances from revolutionary singer-songwriters (Sam Fender, BERWYN), bands taking their sound to the next level (CHVRCHESRobert Smith, Bring Me The Horizon), pop stars flipping the script and writing their own futures (Griff & Sigrid, Rina Sawayama) and FKA twigs, a Godlike Genius who defies categorisation altogether.

While we wait for the 2023 Awards, re-live the action from a stunning night at Brixton below, with all the fantastic live performances from the BandLab NME Awards 2022.

Griff & Sigrid, ‘Head On Fire’

The first of two world exclusive live premieres on the night, Griff and Sigrid hit the stage together for the very first time to perform ‘Head On Fire’ early on in the evening. On the red carpet ahead of the show, the pair told NME that their “genuine” friendship made the collaboration a success, and the insatiable chemistry that fizzed throughout their performance proves the claim wonderfully true.

Separately, Griff and Sigrid are on similar trajectories to arena level stardom. Together at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, they presented a tantalising portrait of the bright future of pure, perfect pop music.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance 

CHVRCHES & Robert Smith, ‘Asking For A Friend’, ‘How Not To Drown’, ‘Just Like Heaven’

As they revealed on the BandLab NME Awards 2022 red carpet, CHVRCHES only met The Cure‘s Robert Smith for the first time the day before the Awards at rehearsals. He and Lauren Mayberry’s voices are tailor made for each other though – enough for us to name ‘How Not To Drown’ Best Song By A UK Artist – and this artistic telepathy between the pair made for a spine-tingling performance.

Like Griff and Sigrid before them, Mayberry and Smith ducked and weaved around each other’s vocal lines on the 2021 track, before coming together with immovable force on its expansive chorus. Then, another world exclusive followed, with the pair running through a note-perfect rendition of the timeless ‘Just Like Heaven’. This meeting of minds may never happen again, and the performance duly felt like a once in a lifetime experience.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance here

BERWYN, ‘ANSWERS’

Award ceremonies are vibrant places, buzzing with the constant hum of conversation and drinks clanking. It takes a song and performances as special as BERWYN‘s rendition of ‘ANSWERS’, then, to reduce a room of half-cut revellers to stunned silence. Across three minutes, the East London-based songwriter, producer and rapper poured his heart out on naked rap verses, plucked virtuosic guitar solos, crooned melodic choruses and roared the house down. “When you love someone, you give them a weapon to hurt you,” he gasped at one point, a devastating line to stop every single person inside Brixton Academy in their tracks before he himself was reduced to tears.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance

Rina Sawayama, ‘XS’

There was a reason we awarded Rina Sawayama with the Best Live Act award at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, you know. Just an hour or so after collecting the award, Sawayama proved just why we made the right choice. In a sub-four-minute performance of ‘XS’, she was everything that the best pop stars should be: dramatic, brilliantly fun, confrontational, groundbreaking and showstopping. With genre-blurring instrumentals that pointed to the future and choreography that honoured the past, it was the complete performance.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance

FKA twigs, ‘Meta Angel’/’Tears In The Club’

For sheer depth of performance and ingenuity of creative direction, FKA twigs‘ live performances are unstoppable. Just after she became NME‘s youngest ever recipient of the Godlike Genius award, she put in a truly captivating performance for the crowd.

Playing ‘Meta Angel’ – along with a snippet of Weeknd collaboration ‘Tears In The Club’ – from new mixtape ‘Caprisongs’, twigs was flanked by masked dancers and complete with other-worldly butterfly wings, which she ended up shedding for a more clubby, pop-orientated final minute. Musically innovative and conceptually daring, this was a feast for the senses.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance

Bring Me The Horizon – ‘Parasite Eve’, ‘MANTRA’, ‘Can You Feel My Heart’, ‘Throne’

To close the night out, Bring Me The Horizon played a massive six-song set that was brutally heavy, massively fun and touched on the vital issues of the day: basically, everything you want an arena rock band to be.

“If Kyiv does not survive, international peace as we know it will not survive,” Oli Sykes told the crowd before ‘Throne’, gesturing towards drummer Matt Nicholls’ Ukrainian flag-embellished drum skin. He then called on this room “full of influential people” to “use their voice every single day until this crisis is over.”

At the end of a six-song set that proved why Bring Me The Horizon are one of the biggest bands on the planet, and a night that showed the power of live music and communal spirit, it was a sobering but deeply necessary note to end on.

– Read NME‘s full review of the performance

Check back for the latest news, interviews, winners and more from the BandLab NME Awards 2022.

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