Gig review: NME Awards Tour, Glasgow

Ten years after they first appeared on the NME tour, Interpol are back. Picture: Greg Macvean
Ten years after they first appeared on the NME tour, Interpol are back. Picture: Greg Macvean
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THE annual NME Awards tour has star-spotting form, having given acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers some early exposure en route to their subsequent festival headlining status. But in its 20th year, organisers have broken from the traditional quadruple bill of newcomers, contenders and wildcards to book a previous alumnus as headliner.

NME Awards Tour - Academy, Glasgow

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Interpol first appeared on the NME tour in the class of 2003, a time when all eyes were trained on their native New York. More than a decade later, the zeitgeist has long since moved on and Interpol could now, at a push, be regarded as elder-indie statesmen or, more realistically, as fairly popular guitar grafters back on the touring trail.

Was there simply no suitable upcoming act to fit the bill on this occasion? The respectable but by no means capacity crowd would bear out the suggestion that these are leanish times for guitar bands – or maybe the fans just didn’t feel like showing up for these particular groups.

Opening act Circa Waves failed to generate any heat with their pleasantly perky but utterly derivative indie pop, while Royal Blood are another of the many post-White Stripes guitar/drums duos doing the rounds, adding nothing new to the template but at least rocking some sustained heaviness.

Temples, pictured below, have been cited by renowned musical conservative Noel Gallagher as the best new band in Britain – a cross to bear on two counts. They could be said to have the look – that look being the regulation stick-thin, black-clad, long-haired, indie-rocker style handed down the centuries by Velvet Underground via Jesus & Mary Chain, and teamed here with a light dusting of psychedelic pop, nothing too heady nor mystical, just a resolutely non-trippy configuration of reedy vocals, fuzz guitars and some passable melodies.

Interpol came bearing some new material but it was their recognisable back catalogue which did them all the favours on the night, along with a certain practised poise. They hit the ground running with Say Hello To The Angels and barely let up on the driving momentum. Initially this attack mode was enough to maintain interest in their designer gothic sound but as the set progressed even Daniel Kessler’s clanging guitar and Paul Banks’s booming baritone failed to distinguish the thundering din.

Seen on 18.03.14