NME Tour: Goodbye guitars, hello harps
Simon ParkinThe NME Awards Tour is frequently a barometer of where music is heading, and this year's indie guitars are out and electro and pop - the quirkier the better - is in. SIMON PARKIN reports.Simon Parkin
The NME Awards Tour is frequently a barometer of where music is heading, and this year's indie guitars are out and electro and pop - the quirkier the better - is in. SIMON PARKIN reports.
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Having been graced by everyone from Coldplay to Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys to The Killers, the line-up of the annual NME Shockwaves NME Awards Tour has a habit of catapulting bands to stardom.
Either that or the promoters have crafty knack of spotting artists who are obviously months away from a major breakthrough to put on the bill.
- 1 Caroline Flack's mum to open 'grief café' in Norfolk
- 2 Bookshop to close with clothing store set to move in
- 3 Bus routes affected by driver shortages in Norwich
- 4 See inside renovated 1950s Norwich factory apartment for sale for £350,000
- 5 Calls to stop major development in expanding village
- 6 Siblings slam council for 'backtracking' on council flat
- 7 Streets in Norwich close for car-free day
- 8 Police appeal for witnesses after pedestrian struck by car on A47
- 9 Have 'murder hornets' been found in Norfolk?
- 10 Part of A47 closed due to crash
Whichever way it works - and it's worth noting there are as many who've disappeared without trace as hit the big time, Campag Velocet anyone? - the four band line-ups are always a barometer of what's setting pulses racing at the cutting edge of music - or least music you'll see in the NME.
This year the big news is that, after years of domination, indie guitar bands are having a tough time. A slew of unremarkable indentikit bands - memorably dubbed 'landfill indie' - have wearied the gig going public into seeking something a little more adventurous. So this year's bill boasts not a single conventional guitar band.
Furthest from that convention is opener Florence and the Machine who favour harps, percussion and the Kate Bush-meets-Kate Nash warbling of singer Florence Welch.
White Lies really need no introduction having already hit the number one spot with their self-titled debut album, a mixture of booming bass lines and synth that harks back to the likes of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen.
Friendly Fires do use guitars, but only as a accompaniment to their cowbell bashing indie dance-funk party tunes. And they're on that most noble of missions to wean indie ears back on to horn sections.
Most conventional - loosely speaking - are tour headliners Glasvegas who having been one of the most hyped bands of last year don't really qualify as ones-to-watch. Their mix of Jesus and Mary Chain shades and feedback with pure Spectoral pop make it a diverse line-up - and all the better for it.
t Shockwaves NME Awards Tour is at the UEA on Thursday. Return tickets only. 01603 508050. More details: www.nme.com/awards