Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was declared a God-like genius at the Shockwave NME awards and dedicated the prize to former Nirvana bandmate Kurt Cobain.
NME editor Krissi Murison described Grohl, the first non-Brit to win the award, as "one of the most important rock stars alive today" before introducing Who frontman Roger Daltrey to hand over the award at the event at the Brixton Academy in south London last night.
Grohl, who found fame as the drummer in grunge rockers Nirvana, told the crowd he first came to the venue 20 years ago to watch the Pixies.
He said: "I hoped that one day I could be in a band that was big enough to f***ing play the Brixton Academy."
Paying tribute to Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994, he said: "This one's for Kurt, thank you very much" before joining Daltrey on stage to kick off his set.
American rockers My Chemical Romance started the night with a performance of their track Na Na Na which later won an award for Best Video.
The New Jersey-based group also picked up the prize for Best International Band.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling was named Best Solo Artist.
Muse were crowned Best British Band ahead of Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.
But they lost out on the Best Live Band award to Biffy Clyro, who broke off from their US tour to attend.
Synthpop duo Hurts were named Best New Band and Arcade Fire won the Best Album award for the critically-acclaimed The Suburbs.
The Canadian rockers were not at the ceremony but recorded a jazz inspired musical video message from studio where they are recording their next album.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker presented the John Peel award for Innovation to Crystal Castles with television presenter and model Alexa Chung.
Cocker, who recently announced the Britpop veterans were reuniting, said: "Innovation is very important. Without it there would be just some old men getting back together again and you don't want that do you?"
Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon presented the award for Best Television show to teen drama, Skins, and asked the crowd for a round of applause for his step daughter Ari Up, the singer of post punk band The Slits, who died last year aged 48.
The founder of the Glastonbury Festival, Michael Eavis, picked up the Best Festival award after coming on stage to the sound of Beyonce's Crazy In Love - the US singer was recently unveiled as one of the headliners at this year's event.
The ceremony, hosted by comedian and Shooting Stars regular Angelos Epithemiou, also saw awards for Best Track go to Foals for Spanish Sahara while Professor Green won the Best Dancefloor Filler award for his single Jungle.
The Philip Hall Radar award for new talent, named after the late Manic Street Preachers manager, went to the Naked and Famous.
The Teenage Cancer Trust Outstanding Contribution to Music award went to PJ Harvey.
She said: "I still feel like I'm just beginning. Maybe I'll be back in another 20 years time."
Less welcome awards included two for teen sensation Justin Bieber, who came out on top in the Least Stylish and Worst Album categories.
Lady Gaga was acclaimed as Hero of the year with Prime Minister David Cameron picking up the Villain award.
Highlights from the night will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday from 11.20pm.