Glasvegas, White Lies, Friendly Fires, Florence and the Machine

Paul Cook 12/02/2009

The line-up for this year's NME Awards Tour is the strongest it's been for a while. 2006 was probably the last really strong tour line-up. The past few years have only given us a handful of dazzling new talent such as CSS back in 2007 and The Cribs last year. Thankfully 2008's lineup features some great young up and coming talent as well as headline band Glasvegas.

Opening the show was recent Critic's Choice Brit Winner Florence and the Machine with her delectable voice and infectious rhythm. The prospect of a solo female artist with such a powerful, effortlessly beautiful voice is fantastically exciting. Twinned with a band that have a great sense of how to perform on stage to rally the crowd Florence' are a deliciously appetizing prospect to go on to really big things in 2009. Highlights of the set included Dog Days are Over and Kiss with a Fist accompanied by a sequin filled drum which upon Florence's huge thumps produced an explosion of glitter.

White Lies were the next band on the bill and certainly showed a great deal of improvement in their live act since witnessing them on the New Noize Tour early last year. Lead singer Harry McVeigh's flawless vocal performance gave the set real purpose and went some way to explaining the success of debut album. Singles like To Lose My Life and Death went down a storm with the sell-out crowd inside Norwich's LCR as did album tracks Farewell to the Fairground and From the Stars. Best of all though, and arguably evidence of Florence's rapidly rising popularity, was a duet performance of Unfinished Business. At the midway point it had been a great live show.

Friendly Fires although having some catchy and likeable tunes simply didn't make the cut attempting to follow Florence' and . A less than impressive live performance, utilizing a sound-deck/backing track machine far too much instantly took something away from the set. Singles Jump in the Pool and Paris were popular but were also plagued by the presence of that obvious backing track. Add an extra member, not a machine. Disappointing.

Headliners Glasvegas came on stage to a huge applause from the crowd, Ray-Bans firmly on lead singer James Allan's face, as per usual. It was a fairly standard run down of the band's tracks from their eponymous debut album. The soaring ballads like Geraldine, Lonesome Swan and Daddy's Gone were great to see performed live but the slower, soulful material, although good in it's own right, wasn't as much a joy to behold as one might have hoped. Overall a good line-up with an outstanding opening act in Florence and the Machine destined for success in 2009.