On Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, music magazine NME held their annual music awards at London’s Brixton Academy.

At an event brimming with rock legends and of-the-moment artists, as well as gin and attitude, we fought to keep our feet on the red carpet to steal some moments with the hordes of talent swarming the entrance to the awards ceremony before heading in for a night of entertainment and accolade-giving.

Alt-J, who won Best British Band and gave a glimpse of their infectious sound with a short performance to the star-studded crowd, and spoke humbly of how they never expect to receive such appreciation.

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Craig David stopped to tell us about the revival of his career and the new chapter he has embarked on with artists such as Bastille, a collaboration that won him an award later that evening.

The lovably handsome and charming Loyle Carner who went on to scoop Best British Male Artist told us about the whirlwind kickstart he has had to his career with debut album Yesterday’s Gone.

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Magazine editor Mike Williams spoke passionately about how the current movements for social change and in particular for calls for great gender balance and empowerment of women across the music and other industries had made their way even more prominently into the magazine in the last year.

The wonderfully new age hippies HAIM hit the stage to collect Best International Artist, urging women not to ever feel intimidated whether they step into a music studio or guitar shop, but to know they are exactly where they should be.

Other awards were dished out to non-attendees Lorde for Best International Solo Artist and Charli XCX got Best Track for Boys and thanked the crowd with a tongue-in-cheek video.

J Hus, won Best Album for Common Sense and Boy Better Know took the Innovation Award.

Stefflon Don was named Best New Artist and opened the show with a high-energy performance of Ding-A-Ling alongside Skepta, The Big Moon took Best Video for Sucker and Pale Waves were selected as NME’s Under the Radar act.

Kasabian won Best Live Act, Michael Eavis came up in his shorts to collect the award for Best Festival for Glastonbury and the consummate performing professionals Muse were named Best Festival Headliners.

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Notoriously mouthy Liam Gallagher picked up the coveted Godlike Genius award, only, ahem, 12 years after his brother, a situation he did tell us could have been avoided had they both been given the award the at the same time. Introducing the award, editor Williams joked self-deprecating about the magazine’s mild obsession with the of-another-era rock star (he’s graced their covers an incredible 67 times). Gallagher didn’t disappoint, though, and indulged the audience in an absolutely classic parka-clad-despite-the-heat performance that included  (What’s the story) Morning Glory? and Cigarettes and Alcohol.

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But the night really belonged to Shirley Manson of Garbage fame, collecting the Icon award, and whose introduction included quotes from the whole generation of stars who cite her as an inspiration, such as Lady Gaga. Before heading into the ceremony she stopped to speak with us about how strongly she feels that it’s about time harassment and unfair treatment of women ended and that music producers, particularly festival promoters, support women equally in the music industry. Truly an icon, the award couldn’t have been more deserved and recognition of Manson’s impact on the music landscape and those that have emerged in her wake could not have been more timely.

By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 15th February 2018.
Photo: Filippo L’Astorina

The annual NME Awards took place at Brixton Academy on 14th February 2018. For further information visit the website here.

The complete list of NME Awards 2018 winners:

Best British Band supported by Zig-Zag – Alt-J
Best British Solo Artist supported by VO5 – Loyle Carner
Best New Artist supported by Vans –  Stefflon Don
Best Live Artist supported by Nikon – Kasabian
Best Track supported by Estrella Galicia – Charli XCX – Boys
Best International Band supported by 19 Crimes Winery – HAIM
Best Mixtape supported by Bulldog Gin – Avelino – No Bullshit
Best Album supported by Orange Amplification – J Hus – Common Sense
Best Collaboration supported by VO5 – Craig David and Bastille – I Know You
Best Festival supported by ID&C – Glastonbury
Best Film supported by Zig-Zag – Baby Driver
Best Music Video supported by Princess Yachts – The Big Moon –Sucker
Under The Radar Award supported by HMV – Pale Waves
Best Festival Headliner supported by Anna Valley – Muse
Best International Solo Artist – Lorde
NME Icon – Shirley Manson
NME Innovation Award – Boy Better Know
Godlike Genius – Liam Gallagher
Best Book – Wiley – Eskiboy
Best TV Show – Stranger Things 2
Best Reissue – Radiohead – OK Not OK
Best Small Festival – Festival Number 6
Music Moment of The Year – One Love Manchester
Best Music Film – Gaga: Five Foot Two
Hero of the year – Ariana Grande
Villain of the year – Piers Morgan