Ah, The Brit Awards 2017. Or "The Woke Brits" as they are now known after several years of beef over their lack of diversity. It seems to be the law that The Brits get less and less interesting with each passing year, with most of last year's comedy coming from partial nudity, cross-dressing (it's funny because heteronormativity!) and James Bay's hat almost falling off. None of which was enough to prevent Father John Misty from taking a nap while they were announcing the winner of the only category he was nominated in. But this year will be better, right guys? Skepta is there (on purpose this time)! Living legend Robbie Williams will be confirming his status as a British Icon and will probably do something inappropriate like pop a ball out the side of his thong or cry! Dermot O'Leary, I guess!
As avid followers of Noisey dot com will know, we usually liveblog UK music's most lit televised event. However, it's 2017, the year of doing things differently. The year of fake news and alternative facts. So we're not doing that anymore. For one, we actually got invited, so your boy Ryan Bassil will be on the ground providing updates. You can find him on Twitter being a nuisance and complaining about sandwiches. The rest of us (Tshepo, Daisy and Emma) will be bringing you updates on performances from Katy Perry, Skepta, The 1975, Little Mix, Bruno Mars, Emeli Sandé and Stormzy's friend Ed Sheeran plus whatever weird shit happens in between.
So, as the old Facebook group name goes, crack open a cold one with the boys and strap in for what will surely be Premium Online Content from the biggest night in music (UK edition).
We've already gone into a fair amount of detail today on why Robbie Williams is basically an un-killable celebrity figure, who always retains some sense of relevance. Even when his actual music is just him pretending to be Frank Sinatra or doing corny pop, he pulls it off – it's bizarre and incredible. He came out with that signature pout and strut, unfurling into his onstage alter ego, and it … it worked.
Even when all he's doing is standing in the middle of a circle of dancers half his age, mean mugging then putting on as though he's waving bashfully at them, he has it. He is hard to dislike, mostly down to the honesty that's defined his brand since he ditched Take That before his solo career. With all of his arm waving, and wide-open-mouthed belting, he is so extra but also undeniably charming. "Come on the Brits, it's nearly over," he shouts, about halfway through, "you can nearly go home!" I really hope he retires before he fully can't reach these notes and starts to get embarrassing – but so far, he's still got it.
Who knew that one of the most successful musicians in the UK, perhaps even the entire world, in 2017, would be this cuddly hairy ginger dude who looks like everyone you've ever seen at an open mic night with a loop pedal in your respective local British pub. But you know what, I don't care: "Shape of You" is a legitimate banger, and I have never been more ready for the blossoming bromance that we have witnessed, and that we are currently witnessing, between Ed Sheeran and our boy Stormzy. Someone please look at me like Ed Sheeran looks at Stormzy. Someone please look at me like Stormzy looks at Ed Sheeran. Someone please look at me.
COLDPLAY AND CHAINSMOKERS
In what may be one of the worst things to happen to British music's biggest night, Coldplay have performed their new collaboration with Chainsmokers, a group who've found fame – and a Grammy – after naming a song "hashtag selfie." Chris Martin will probably go home tonight, take a long shower and cry one slow tear while he looks at himself in a mirror scrubbed lightly of mist afterwards, asking "how could I have gone from "Yellow" to this?" But this is aimed at the kids, and not at anyone who was actually buying physical Coldplay albums in the early 2000s, so when he jumps into the waiting arms of the front-row BRIT School students, what they're doing makes sense. This is the sort of set the Brits are all about, complete with Martin's silly dancing and tbh very on-point vocal (even when giggling about almost being eaten alive by the BRIT School crowd). Fair play lads, it's almost been two hours so whatever.
Two years ago, the only way Skepta was getting an invite to the Brits is if he was smuggled onstage by Kanye West. Now look at him, bouncing around in a tracksuit on the same stage he previously infiltrated bashing out a song he dropped just days after the event in 2015. As far as performances go, Skepta did what Skepta does best – go hard as fuck, alone, on a stage that can barely contain his presence. He could have done literally any track, but it's telling that he chose the one that contains a sample of the backlash provoked by that same incredibly censored Kanye performance from 2015, before Skepta was a big enough name to warrant his own. Now that's what I call meta, baby!
I watched that Katy Perry documentary last night on Netflix, and to be perfectly honest lads, I am still fuming about that greasy little wannabe revolutionary vanguardist texting her for divorce 730 days ago (don't worry Katy, he wears neckerchiefs). This isn't about him though, so let's put that aside for a sec, and chat about the performance… I'm not entirely sure how I felt about those bouncing houses, that fucking terrifying skeleton, and how she was dancing like me at the club five drinks deep (was it supposed to be a comment on Theresa May and the housing crisis? Is that what you got from this too?) – but props to her impeccable live voice and all the sidestepping she did down the stage without falling on her face.
Here they go, winners of Best British Group aka white Prince and friends aka Russell Brand the band aka alternate timeline Panic! At the Disco. A part of me desperately wants to root for them given that they've built themselves way, way up off the back of genuine originality and a level of unprovoked fandom that will never not be impressive and commendable. They're definitely very aware of their haters, judging by some common criticisms of their band flashing up like subliminal messages during their performance (cool!) But, like, also… :(
OK, so let's get a couple of things out of the way. I'm convinced that Emeli Sande might be a music industry plant, because she has managed to perform at basically every major event since she debuted in 2011. The Summer Olympics. In front of President Obama in 2013. Here she's doing the "standing in a black dress and singing" thing that works for Adele who, like Emeli, is not a choreo and vocals performer. She's about the songwriting, which is great, except can someone please tell me why she's the biggest female act in the UK right now? Anyway, watching Emeli feels a bit like being transported back in time, to an era when singers did just that: stood basically still, singing. Well, minus the *very emotional* clapping she did throughout, like a backing singer gone off the rails with the designated hand movements for the song. She looks incredible, her vocal is basically impeccable, and yet I worry I won't be able to remember this hook in about four days.
I understand that Bruno Mars is objectively exceptionally talented in the same way the floor is objectively very flat and the sea is objectively a liquid – I mean, that falsetto at the beginning of this performance fired goosebumps all over my body – but I just don't get him. Maybe it's because his music is so manically happy and smooth. Maybe it's because Uptown Funk has been played so many times in the past handful of years that the words "this" and "hit" and "ice" and "cold" make smoke come out of my ears. Or maybe it's because he is a very small man. That said, those runs were beautiful, I can't deny it. URGH! HELP!
I wish I entered every room the way Little Mix just entered The Brits i.e. carried on an enormous throne by a bunch of men who look like Jason Statham in all his hot bod 90s dance music videos. Over the last 24 months Little Mix have Pokemon evolved from a budding pop group that could easily have ended up treading water for a few years until fizzling into irrelevance, like Liberty X, to fully fledged British institution. Just in case you had any doubts they emphasised their status by reworking a chorus of "Shout Out To My Ex" into a football chant. Nice.