NME Awards Tour 2016
Venue: Nottingham Rock City
Line Up: Bloc Party – Drenge – RAT BOY – Bugzy Malone.
NME gigs are always so quick fire; artist gets on stage plays set, clears stage and then the next artist is on within 10 minutes, just enough time to refresh your pint. This year we see the return Indie rock veterans Bloc Party return to smaller stages alongside two piece Drenge, Rat Boy and grime artist Bugzy Malone.
It’s a bit of a mix bag but NME usually make it work and if all else fails at least we know we can count on Bloc Party right? Bugzy Malone was most memorable for whaling himself around a stage shouting “waste man.” The first act of the night and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, at one point I thought I recognised one of his tracks but instead I confused it with Stormzy’s ‘Shut Up’ Is it me or does all grime sound the same?
Rat Boy who normally wreaks havoc at a gig seemed quite docile to start with considering a herd of his squad were ready assembled at the front. Opening with new single ‘Move’ everyone was having a groove and following his every move. It didn’t take long for him to liven up as he gestured for the crowd to part ready for mayhem during the hook in ‘Left 4 Dead.’ Ending with ‘Fake ID’ things really hit the next level with crowd surfers being ejected from the building.
I’m on such a high after Rat Boy’s set, buzzing for Bloc Party but we still have an act in-between, Drenge. Their sound is incredibly tense, loud rock and roll but after Rat Boy’s set I felt like I was on the worst comedown ever. I begin to notice the time, the pain in my back, how tired I was, these are not good signs. Don’t get me wrong they played technically well and sounded great but were visually tedious. Nearing the end of their set ‘Bloodsports’ turned the set around re-injected both the crowd and the Loveless Brothers with a new lease of life. It’s just a shame afterwards they ended the set with ‘Lets Pretend’ which I thought would never end. Let’s pretend that didn’t happen.
“Are you hoping for a miracle” I think Bloc Party were taking some of their own advice, hoping that the new material would have been better received. Hymns hasn’t even been out a week and they weighted the majority of their set with the new LP. What were they thinking! Their set peaked with ‘Mercury’, the crowd went mental. But it wasn’t long until Bloc Party flatlined again with another unwelcome new track. Their set was un-cohesive and was reliant on the old favourites like ‘Banquet’ and ‘Hunting for Witches’ to revive the set. At least the encore, or Part 2 as Kele referred to it, was amazing. Finishing up with an incredible light set up for ‘Helicopter’; the nostalgic sounds of ‘This Modern Love’ and ending on ‘Ratchet.’ However, it is evident that Bloc Party seem to have lost their way and are clearly having an identity crisis.