The annual NME tour is known for attracting big names, and up and coming acts, and has helped bands such as Arctic Monkeys to reach stardom. This year’s line up was a cracker, The Vaccines, Everything Everything, and Magnetic Man supporting Canadian electronic duo Crystal Castles.
The Vaccines’ short, sharp twenty minute set was filled with favourites. As well as a cover they crammed in hits such as Wrecking Bar, Blow It Up, and new single Post Break Up Sex. The London quartet was as tight as you might expect, and their memorable choruses made it easy for even a complete stranger to their music to sing along. The fact that most of their songs are less the two and a half minutes meant they didn’t overrun, but the set did seem somewhat rushed, and was over almost as quickly as it had begun.
Everything Everything were next to the stage, their ‘art rock’ synth tunes invited audience particaption, but at the same time, the chilled atmosphere of the songs meant that the audience was free to stand back and enjoy the music. It would have been nice to see some more of the synth parts played manually, but in relation to vocals, the hard to reach notes were hit perfectly, and their set fit together nicely. They played all main hits from their debut album, finishing with the popular Photoshop Handsome.
Having released their widely successful debut album at the back end of last year, dubstep super group Magnetic Man took to the stage to sample and mix their top tunes for a 40 minute set. What the crowd witnessed was a dubstep assault on the audience, showering the crowd with hits early on such as Fire and I Need Air. With an MC on hand to make sure the audience didn’t get completely lost in the huge basslines, it felt as though the crowd and the artist were as one. The sonic free for all ended in style with hit Pefect Stranger featuring Katy B.
Crystal Castles’ eagerly awaited headline spot was nothing short of crazy. Fifteen minutes late, Alice Glass hobbled out to the stage on crutches. Crouched over, appearing to be protecting her injured limb, singer Glass looked like a frail old widow, singing towards the floor. However, as the first hypnotic notes of baptism came from Ethan Kane’s synthesiser, the mood changed as Glass erupted, hopping round the room on one leg with a crutch in the air. The audience reciprocated the change in mood on stage, and the set was a cracker. New single Not in Love impressed and as Glass took what seemed like forever to leave the stage on one leg, that could have well been all. But almost instantly, the pair reappeared along with their session drummer, and by standing two speakers on their side, Alice made herself a platform for the encore. When the pair eventually left the stage for the final time, Ethan walked quickly out of sight whilst Alice crawled off, a fitting way for her to go. Even on one leg, Alice Glass has a scary ability to control an audience.