Saturday the 21st of February saw the NME Awards Tour 2015 reach Newcastle with a galvanizing muster of acts deviating from last year’s line-up…
…including headliners Palma Violets and support from The Fat White Family, ‘Slaves’ and The Wytches, who kindly stepped in on the same day the tour began in replacement of The Amazing Snakeheads (who sadly had to cancel due to a disagreement involving their drummer). Every act graced the stage with vitality and exuberance, resulting in a crowd full of what seemed to be constant pulsating moshpits.
The Wytches, a surf-psych trio originating from Peterborough opened the night with feral, gritty vocals and gloomy bursts of distortion which definitely woke up the crowd with a shocker sample of how the night would proceed. Their half-hour set included best tracks from their recent album ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ such as ‘Digsaw’ and ‘Crying Clown’.
‘Gravedweller’ had the crowd screaming “You’re scared of the dark, you’re scared of the darkness” back at Kristian Bell, who sang through hair completely covering his face, adding to the persona of The Wytches. The band produced a shrouded mystery of heartbreak and angst-ridden lyrics throughout the night; ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is filled with injections of nostalgia and sing-a-long moments. I’d highly recommend giving the band a further listen as they’re sure to make a name for themselves over the following year, and yet with great competition hence being a fairly unknown act, potentially the best of the night!
We’ve heard a lot about Slaves recently, the Kent garage-punk duo who seem to have made a name for themselves with recent track ‘Feed The Mantaray’. Never to disappoint, the duo resonate the likes of Enter Shikari with their songs full of expressive lyrics and rhetorical questions:
“You’re talking to yourself on your knees on the floor, what will you do?”
With a new album arising in June, it’s clear the band will continue to spread their confronting, tongue-in-cheek vibe around the rock scene. Isaac and Laurie’s stage presence was a blessing to witness with their feral delivery of songs that they state to want “people to find meaning in…that’s what good music is about, people being able to feel their own individual way when listening to it”. Tracks such has ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Hey’ created chants such as “Hey watch out for those kids, they’ll tear you apart” that would slot in optimum place at Reading and Leeds Festival; we’ll soon see how their luck goes having already been announced for a few fests already.
The Fat White Family
Thirdly to the stage was the ever-surprising Fat White Family with their utterly fearless stage antics. The O2 academy instantly warped into its own psych, lucid world on the Brixton 6-piece’s arrival, with an incredible presence. As said in an interview, the band “want to make your skin crawl” with their seedy, sultry, clammy vibes. The opening what seemed to be acapella track ‘Lend Me Some Cutter’ was possibly the weirdest ever witnessed, complete with army attire. After a sudden blackout, the band cracked straight back into their provocative rock origins; tracks like ‘Nagasaki Dust’ and ‘Is It Raining in Your Mouth?’ can’t help but remind me of ‘No Waves’ and ‘Gimmie Something’ from FIDLAR’s self-titled album of raunchy, risqué group chants.
‘Touch the Leather’ was almost a literal manifesto of the band’s past stage antics with erotically suggestive lyrics such as “Me and my baby gonna touch that leather”. Fat White Family is definitely the kind of band that you gawp at for a while before they enthral you; evidently, this is a statement on how their new breed of music manages to capture an audience. ‘Cream of The Young’ suggests a shady, sombre tallith of a near sickening pensiveness, speaking the need for a ’15 year old tongue’ as Lias Saudi moans “I’m crying in the morning, I’m crying on my knees”. Whereas ‘Auto Neutron’ revels in bluesy licks and close to ethereal chants of “We are, we are auto neutron, auto neutron” that had the crowd bewitched before bursting into a psychotropic guitar solo.
Ultimately to wrap up the night, headliners ‘Palma Violets’ emerged to the stage with a blast of retro rock. The band opened with their usual ‘Rattlesnake Highway’, and on cue the crowd immediately burst into a pool of jumping fans crooning along to one of the band’s many chant-worthy lyrics “Unlike you, I have nothing going on for me ‘cos I love you”.
The Lambeth quartet was flawless, giving an absolutely thriving, dynamic finish to the NME tour, gathering together a monster slurry of phenomenal bands. ‘Step Up for the Cool Cats’ was another track which blooms with Summer tones and festival blues with virtually the whole venue incanting “You got me dancing in the sun”. Other killer tracks such ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Johnny Bagga’ Donuts’ are obvious Palma favourites and clearly, speaking can be kept to a minimum when you have an existence as dominant and as iconic as these garage-indie gods.
After a brief break, the exhilarating headliners sprung back to the stage to perform famed Palma classic ‘Best of Friends’; undoubtedly a highlight of the night. The room echoed with effervescence and the classic spark of the song’s hook “I wanna be your best friend, I don’t want you to be my girl” which is impossible not to shout along to given the constructed atmosphere from all four bands that featured on the tour itself. ‘Danger in the Club’ also shows the Violets coming to new lands with their ever-growing music style, as hopefully we’ll soon see in the future how this develops.
For anyone yet to see the tour; with a glorious line-up full of anthemic chants and feral riffs, it’s an outright triumph which shouldn’t be missed. With an exhilarating atmosphere and a crowd to match, you know you’re doing it right if you wake up the next morning with a tender throat and aching limbs. 10/10.