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When the Shockwaves NME tour arrived in Cardiff, the great hall was flooded with teens, students and too cool to move indie rockers. This is what I can only imagine a ‘Skins’ party would look like. The NME awards tour has become a yearly tradition and the tour is developing a reputation of showcasing the next big thing and rightfully so after previous performers breaking into mainstream success, previous band have included; The Cribs, The Maccabees, Florence and the Machine and Glasvegas. This year is no different with the tour’s opening band, The Vaccines, being hyped as being the future of rock ‘n’ roll. The London based band that only formed last year opened the show and went into song after song giving no room for the crowd to breath. The band should have been given a longer set because before you know it their performance was over. The Vaccines gave the crowd a great conversation starter, discussing if the hype is right for the newly formed band. Next up was current MTV and Radio 1 favourites, Everything Everything, who gave an exciting performance, stepping up the pace from where The Vaccines left. ‘Photoshop Handsome’ is a clear crowd pleaser and is one of those songs that you fight to get out of your head after another short set. Switching between guitars and keyboards .This is a distinctive new sound that if you were to hear on the Radio you wouldn’t get confused between other bands because Everything Everything have a uniquely clear sound.
Magnetic Man immediately have the great hall crowd in their hands from their bass destroying intro. It’s a safe bet to say that the great hall attendance seemed to enjoy or admire Magnetic Mans party starting performance. The summer hit “I Need Air” blinded the audience with an amazing light show and an incredible echoing sing-along that really did capture the vibe of their performance. This was a step up from the previous indie rocking bands that performed previously, NME set up the line up with the clear intension to end the night with a bang. Blinding bursts of strobe lighting and deafening screams from the crowd, Crystal Castle’s electro rock madness is a unique set up of just a singer and electro keys that somehow give one of the strongest stage presences that I have seen. Singer Alice Glass is on crutches for the NME tour due to a recent incident during a show in Spain. Famous for their energetic and quite frankly insane performances the American headliners had a lot to live up for in Cardiff. Bursting into their reel of hits, “Alice Practice” and “Courtship dating” get the majority of the crowd worshiping the band. Alice Glass simply don’t care if some of crowd don’t particularly enjoy their Nintendo sounding performance as she downs a bottle of Jack Daniels through their entire set. As the NME tour goes I think this may have been a desperate line up for the brand in comparison to previous years but it certainly was value for money!

Words: Mike Lewis