Ah The Brits about as Rock and Roll as a toothless old crone being drip fed into oblivion…but enough about Geri Halliwell…read on.
The focus of last night’s telly for most people will have been ITV’s coverage of the annual pop spectacle that is The Brits. A long established industry shindig that has in previous years played host to some rather memorable rock and roll moments while giving us all a snapshot on the state of the music industry.
If anything while the quality of the show may vary from year to year the snapshot usually remains unerringly accurate. This was the case once again this year as in some ways we witnessed the passing of the old guard (finally) and witnessed the domination (for better and worse) of the latest crop of pop legends in the making.
Peter Kay had the unenviable task of compering the evening and his time away from the spotlight has not necessarily been spent honing his material. The odd quip here and there found the mark but for the most part his presenting was uninspired and he looked uncomfortable on the stage. Being a live event ITV were taking a cautious approach by muting the sound every time someone of note or notoriety took to the stage. Understandable of course but this did lead to a frustrating degree of overkill in some cases, I mean really how threatening is Ellie Goulding.
One of the more annoying aspects of the early part of the show was the incessant appearances of Geri Halliwell and Mel B from The Spice Girls. Geri (looking sprightly at 60) thought she was being controversial having a pop at Kula Shaker, for God’s sake love it was over ten years ago, please do us all a favour and never darken our screens with your vapid fucking presence again, there’s a good girl.
Liam Gallagher turned up to collect a frankly hokey award celebrating the best album of the last thirty years (most nominees were from the last ten which made the whole thing suspect…I mean Rockferry by Duffy…behave). He proceeded to shamble about doing his prolapsed chimp walk before throwing his award into the audience, ah it was like watching his career drain away like bathwater (kudos to Kay for his “what a knobhead” quote, because lets be fair it was right. You ain’t rock and roll mate, you ain’t even got a band).
The night also seemed to be in some cases about righting previous Brits award injustices, Lily Allen and Dizzee Rascal both walked away with gongs after previously being overlooked after being nominated (Lily wasn’t so quick to slag off the awards ceremony when they bunged a prize in her sweaty little mitts, hypocritical eh?). Mr Rascal’s award was however justly deserved, he’s shown his mettle and strode forth as a first rate representative of his genre while still armed with a deft populist touch (as proven later that evening with his performance with Florence Welch).
Live performances were a mixed affair with Lily Allen sounding competent enough but not particularly inspired. Kasabian took to the stage with a bit of pyrotechnical wizardry (it looked like a chip pan fire) but the sound seemed a bit off with Tom’s vocal drowning the rest of the band a bit. I got the impression they need a few tracks to warm up. JLS were of course all about the slick brainless pop that the likes of Simon Cowell offer up, insipid at best and pretty much a negative reflection on the state of the music industry as a whole.
A great deal had been made of Lady Ga Ga’s performance, after all making a spectacle it would seem is what she does best and she took to the stage dressed in a few wispy bits of lace and a mask to essentially perform what can only be described as a dirge (yes, it was dedicated to the late Alexander McQueen). She then shifted things uptempo a little and started playing a weird big theatrical guitar/MIDI controller combo…badly. It was all accompanied by some frankly twattish dancing and the whole experience was disappointing considering the build up. She cleaned up in the international awards though, so she must be doing something right.
Cheryl Cole took to the stage dressed in a militia style Michael Jackson outfit (complete with shades) to perform her recent hit ‘Fight For Your Love’, it was a fairly stiff and clumsy performance complete with lip synching and a very messy mix into the old school dance anthem ‘Show Me Love’. Still the poor love was probably wondering if hubby Ashley was sat at home taking photos of his bits and sending them to more models, so she was probably suitably distracted.
Jay Z and Alicia Keys were as polished as you could expect and coasted through an effortless performance of ‘New York’ that was pretty much record perfect. The award must carry a bit of clout abroad to draw such a big name as Mr Z in from the states. Someone should have told him it was a decidedly average affair.
The live highlight was the now traditional “who would have thought” style duet with Florence Welch and Dizzee Rascal teaming up for a recut of her somewhat over exposed ‘You’ve Got The Love’ but fair play both delivered faultlessly although the red ticker tape drop in the middle of the track looked dangerously close to choking Flo at one point.
Finally Robbie Williams collected his lifetime achievement award and performed his customary “look at my eyes, am I or aren’t I on coke” style set. He played out with a medley of all his stuff that was a touch too exuberant and relied a little too much on crowd participation. A bit more restraint and a more cohesive set of tracks would have gone down better, oh yeah and while you’re at it…relax.
All in all it was a somewhat toothless affair, wanting desperately to recapture the raw nervous appeal of its former glories as I said during the intro the show reflects where music is at any given time. Right now we are experience the continuing popularization of hip hop and the rise of other urban genres. Elsewhere the likes of Simon Cowell continue to manufacture their pop models for the teen market while across the pond the likes of Lady Ga Ga come equipped with a deliberately crafted set that lays claims to being “edgy” but is in truth contrived. In that respect you can’t really blame the show, its merely a looking glass into an industry that remains in a difficult state of flux.