The NMG Awards, in case you don’t know, are the New Music Generator Awards which celebrate music in the East of England. This year was Grapevine Magazine’s first involvement with the awards where they sponsored the ‘Indie’ category – with no fewer that sixteen acts nominated for the award. Based on our experience last night, it may well not be our last.
The Apex in Rock City BSE was the venue for this, the 7th Annual NMG Awards – and what better way to start proceedings than with a cracking live performance by Cambridge based rockers Hollowstar. This band have been on my must-see-live bucket list since they won the 2018 Breakout Award and they did not disappoint.
All of the night’s live performers are by now well used to playing to a crowd, but when that crowd consists of your fellow musicians… how daunting must that be? But the night was not all about live music, there were prizes to hand out and speeches to be made. This you might expect to be where the performers were out of their comfort zone, but no, these young men and women were good – most managing to observe the no swearing convention. (Of course it would be the Grapevine sponsored Indie Category winners who would be the first to slip up!) We will leave the roll call of winners to the end.
There was a very special atmosphere in the room, most of the musicians knew each other from playing at the same venues or simple by just being fans of each other’s music. Tonight, was a chance to chill, have a drink and enjoy without having to load up the van before driving home.
Ellie Dixon was the next live act, a former winner of the Female Solo category in 2017 and 2018. She made a very good point which I have never had to consider. Walking onstage barefoot, she explained that playing a loop pedal in heels never ends well. Who knew? This confident young lady from Cambridge has a voice like dark chocolate – rich and comforting, seek her out on instafacetube etc.
The format of the evening was proving quite clever, mixing presentations and performance ensured no jarring transformation between musical styles. After Ellie’s solo performance we had Indie band Among The Citizens. This band were new to the Grapevine team. Breakthrough winners at the NMGs in 2018, they have progressed to festival appearances and we predict you will be hearing more of this young quartet very soon….
Just before the interval we had a performance collaboration between singer Ffion Rebecca and DJ Mackenzie leaving us in no doubt that if you don’t try these things you’ll never know if they work – it worked! Well, apart from the bit where they hid Ffion’s mic stand at the end!
Following a short break to enable everyone to replenish their prosecco (OK, mostly it was larger, but this is a posh do, so a little poetic licence please!) Onto the stage came 4th Labyrinth and a switch to what I would describe progressive rock – but what is a label? It was good rock music, whatever the flavour. We learned from keyboard player Marcel Kunkel that the backstage facilities at The Apex are excellent, including mirrors in the gents so you can… maybe there is such a thing as too much information!
Hertfordshire is a county not visited by Grapevine, perhaps we should because next up were Riviera who hail from Bishops Stortford. Another blistering performance, proving what almost everyone was saying on the night – the live music scene in the East of England is very, very healthy.
Once the final speeches concluded it was time for Gaffa Tape Sandy to let rip on stage to wind up the NMG Awards 2019 whilst the audience took to the floor – bass player Catherine commented “Wow – surfing in suits, we have so gotta make that a thing”
So then, who won what? Drum roll please….
- 18 & Under Solo Artist: Gabby
- Best Producer: Jake Day
- Best Male Solo: Dan Bond
- Breakout Artist 2019: Gaffa Tape Sandy
- Breakthrough Artist 2019: Salvador
- Small Venue: The Hunter Club
- Indie: Among The Citizens (see, we predicted you hear more about them soon!)
- Female Solo: Sophie Winter
- Track of 2019: Silence & Company
- Acoustic, Folk & Roots: Elizabeth & Jamieson
- Rock: The Extons
- U18 Band: Riviera
- Audience Choice Award: Pink Lemonade
Results subject to confirmation by NMG
We cannot close without a shoutout to Tim Willett – Mr NMG himself. What he has produced in NMG is a much-needed showcase for local talent. There is a wealth of talent in the east, a lot of it under one roof tonight. If we who love live music cannot sing its praises, no one else will. Thank you, Tim.
Click here for images from the night by tonybell.PHOTOGRAPHY