Live Review: NME Shockwaves Awards Show at Rock City – 08/02/11

Although the Shockwaves NME Awards Show at Rock City was completely sold out and filled to capacity, it’s hard to say which band was the most popular. The show was headlined by Crystal Castles but also showcased three other groups: The Vaccines, Everything Everything, and Magnetic Man.

First up were The Vaccines. They were popular with the teens in the audience and managed to get the crowd avidly ‘moshing’. However, I nearly ended up on my face from being pushed over by crazy crowd pushers, hindering my enjoyment somewhat. They were fun but sounded all too like The Killers.

Everything Everything were next; their funky videogame-ish electro-pop sound was extremely original and fun. Their biggest hits ‘Photoshop Handsome’ and ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ were instantly recognized and responded to well by the audience. My appraisal for the band was probably exaggerated slightly because I appeared to be standing next to their biggest fan, an extremely enthusiastic 50-year-old lady. This aside, they were entertaining and it would definitely be worth seeing the band again.

The final act before the headliner took to the stage were Magnetic Man. Self-proclaimed as the “coolest pop act” of 2010, they certainly didn’t disappoint. The heavy, thumping dubstep atmosphere was heightened as the MC made the set interactive, using the whole, “When I say Magnetic, you say Man” line. The DJs moved with a funky attitude while they mixed their sound, which reverberated throughout Rock City and was definitely well-received by the heavily perspiring audience.

Last, but certainly not least were Crystal Castles. Finally the mixing tables were switched, a drum set was brought on, and I remembered why I had come to the show in the first place. Before coming on stage it was announced that lead singer Alice Glass had broken her foot but was going ahead with the show anyway; what a trooper. Drunkenly hopping around on crutches and attempting to balance on one foot whilst giving every song her all really added to her charismatic nature as a performer. Crystal Castles were of an entirely different calibre than their forerunners, with a sound that is simultaneously unique and catchy. Their music truly puts a good name to the nouveau electronic sound that has become so significant to our generation’s culture. The band kept their audience dancing, and big hits such as “Celestica” and “Air War” were greeted with extra cheers.

All in all the show displayed an interesting mix of music, but very enjoyable nonetheless. From the punk-rock of The Vaccines early in the night; onto the airy, refreshing pop sound of Everything, Everything; to the dubstep of Magnetic Man; and the intense, penetrating sounds of Crystal Castles; the NME Shockwaves Awards Show showcased a diverse and exciting range of music. 



Alex Knoll



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