Arctic Monkeys named best British band at Brits

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The Independent Culture

It was the first time they have turned up to the Brits – and they did it in style – dressed in tweed jackets, plus fours and flat caps, possibly a nod to their native Yorkshire.

Last night, the Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys were crowned best British group at the UK's biggest music awards ceremony. Favourite Worst Nightmare, their second album, was named best British album.

Going up on stage to collect their awards – presented by Sir Ian McKellen and Vic Reeves – the Monkeys looked as though they had been enjoying the evening's entertainment to the full. The lead singer, Alex Turner, declared: "We are the Arctic Monkeys and we are the most fantastic."

The Yorkshire rockers were rivalled by a group from across the Pennines, and a good decade their seniors. As Take That scooped awards for best single for "Shine" and best British live act, Jason Orange twice reminded the audience that he had reached the grand old age of 37, while his band mates are also in their late 30s. "We appear before you bruised and battered, but dead chuffed," said Orange.

But it was a much-older pop star who stole the show. Having been presented with an award for his outstanding contribution to music, the former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney proceeded to thrill a packed Earl's Court with renditions of "Live and Let Die", "Hey Jude", "Lady Madonna", "Get Back".

After being denied the opportunity to appear in person at the Grammys, where she won five awards, Amy Winehouse performed two numbers, even though she wasn't nominated – "Valerie" with Mark Ronson and "Love Is A Losing Game". Looking nervous to begin with, Winehouse relaxed and even allowed a brief smile to cross her face, to cheers from the audience.

The theme of this year's Brits was glam vs punk, and it seemed that glam definitely won. The Lebanese-born singer Mika, who performed a duet with The Gossip's Beth Ditto, including a rendition of his hit "Grace Kelly", won best British breakthrough act.

Kylie Minogue was named best international female – necessitating a quick wardrobe change from the gold-sequinned dress in which she performed "Wow" to a Marilyn Monroe-style, black cocktail dress. "I'm just extremely grateful and thankful," said an overcome Minogue.

Despite spending most of his childhood in the US, Mark Ronson was named best British male solo act. Thanking his collaborators, Winehouse, Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and Ol' Dirty Bastard, Ronson said: "I've lived in New York since I was eight years old, even though my parents are British. Just to be recognised by the British recording industry, nothing means more to me."

It was a good night for Croydon's Brit School, many of whom were in the audience. One of its star former pupils, Kate Nash, was named best British female solo artist. The school, which receives funding from the Brit Trust, the main beneficiary of the Brit Awards, also nurtured the talents of fellow Brit winner Adele Adkins, recipient of the Critics' Choice award, and Leona Lewis, who performed her hit "Bleeding Love".

"I want to say hello to the Brit School because I went there. It's really important to have art in education," said Nash.

Foo Fighters, the US rockers led by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, were named best international group and also won best international album for Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Neither they, nor Kanye West, who won best international male solo artist, were present to collect their awards.

BRIT AWARD WINNERS

Best British Male: Mark Ronson

Best British Female: Kate Nash

Best British Group: Arctic Monkeys

Best British Breakthrough: Mika

Best Live Act: Take That

Best British Album: Favourite Worst Nightmare: Arctic Monkeys

Best British Single: 'Shine': Take That

Best International Male: Kanye West

Best International: Female Kylie Minogue

Best International Group: Foo Fighters

Best International Album: Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace: Foo Fighters

Critics' Choice Award: Adele

Outstanding Contribution: Sir Paul McCartney

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