Arts and Entertainment

Pity the poor bassist who leaves a band for a solo venture on the eve of his former group’s big breakthrough. For such is the fate of Gabriel Stebbing, frontman of Night Works and former bass/keys man in thoughtful, wonky electropop merchants Metronomy.

Thom Yorke, performing with Atoms For Peace

Thom Yorke's Atoms For Peace announce soundhalo broadcast for London Roundhouse dates

Radiohead frontman last week hit out at Spotify, accusing them of prioritising shareholders over artists

Pulp, Brixton Academy, London

"Do you remember the first time?" Jarvis Cocker pleads on Pulp's opening number? I do. As a gob-smacked audience member witness-ing a libidinous Cocker perform "Underwear" – one of Pulp's best live numbers and sensational tonight – on TV's The White Room in 1995, on a bill shared with Portishead. Forget the dismal Blur vs Oasis debate, the two P-bands were the most spine-tingling acts to emerge from these shores since The Smiths. If Portishead evoked J D Ballard's dystopian science-fiction, then Pulp were more reminiscent of Alan Sillitoe's kitchen-sink dramas, particularly Tom Courtenay's lanky rebellious teen in The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner. Only with added smut, oodles of added smut.

Morrissey, Brixton Academy, London

The last time I saw Morrissey at the Brixton Academy, he was in The Smiths and lines of horse-backed police awaited our exit. The police are out in force in nearby streets as I arrive tonight, and the singer alludes to the weekend's unrest, wondering if David Cameron has ever been to Tottenham and pointedly playing "People Are the Same Everywhere". But Morrissey always carries a self-provoked micro-climate of trouble.

Death Cab for Cutie, Brixton Academy, London

All hail this thrashing joy ride

Suede, Brixton Academy, London

Many old shots of Brett Anderson posing coquettishly as a self-regarding dandy have been published in recent weeks, though none can prepare us for the sight of Suede's singer with arms heroically stretched out, encompassing his fans' adulation. And this is during "Breakdown", one of the less memorable tracks from their debut album, which now closes with a punishing coda to replace the original's yearning close.

David Guetta, Brixton Academy, London

On an altar-like raised platform, a French DJ is making the walls of Brixton Academy physically move. David Guetta leaps onto the decks, standing with his hands stretched towards the ceiling, so all that is seen is a silhouette of a man against glowing lava-red light as a powerful baseline makes the audience yelp with delight.

Japan Disaster Benefit, Brixton Academy, London

Boasting a line-up more suited to the Glastonbury main stage than the Brixton Academy, Liam Gallagher, Paul Weller and Primal Scream were among the cream of British rock acts who performed a one-off gig in aid of relief efforts for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Primal Scream, Screamadelica, Brixton Academy, London

When Primal Scream played their iconic 1991 Screamadelica album in its entirety last November, they probably weren't expecting to be announcing two more London dates. But such was the success of the one-off homage the band paid to their groundbreaking album to accompany its re-release 20 years later, that they took the show on a full UK tour this month.

The Levellers, Brixton Academy, London

Global recession, violent protests in central London, war in foreign countries – pretty unthinkable these days, of course, but 20 years ago it was the milieu that fed into Levelling the Land, the high-water mark for Brighton folk-rockers The Levellers. It was a collection of songs beloved by the indie fraternity, and treated with cynicism by the music press, who saw that the same hordes who bellowed back the band's righteous protest anthems and endorsements of a simpler way of life would just as happily have pulled on their Doc Martens and thrown themselves about to Kingmaker or (hurray) The Frank and Walters before catching the last train back to the suburbs. It was always a pedantic, rather patronising standpoint, and one put to the sword by the pogo-ing mass here to watch the band storm through the album – as earnest, two decades on, in their pursuit of a communal bounce-about as in their embrace of The Levellers' social message.

Crystal Castles, Brixton Academy, London

A wall of dirty synths and intense strobe lights descends upon the crowd as vocalist Alice Glass hobbles onto the stage. It seems that a broken ankle – sustained in Tokyo in January's segment of the tour to promote the Toronto duo's second eponymous album, Crystal Castles (II) – is not enough to hold her back.

NME Awards 2011 - the winners

Last night saw the 2011 NME Awards ceremony held at London's Brixton Academy - by all accounts an explosive affair, celebrating the best in alternative music both British and international.

Manic Street Preachers, Brixton Academy, London

The savage rip in the Manic Street Preachers' life was, of course, the disappearance and likely death of Richey Edwards in 1995. The loss of their friend and bandmate still brought Nicky Wire close to traumatised tears when he spoke of it last year. Musically too, there was the rupture of the giant stadium-filling singles they wrote afterwards, the almost guiltily ironic achievement of the subversive dreams they and Richey had. Tonight's tremendous, happy gig shows that that scar is healing over.

The Pogues, Brixton Academy, London

Off to the right of the stage, marked out in fluorescent tape, is a broad pathway leading into the wings of the Brixton Academy, with a couple of large taped arrows pointing stagewards. It's probably there to guide the roadies when they're humping gear in, but it's put to good use tonight when Shane MacGowan shuffles onstage uncertainly, as if an arrow might keep him on the straight and narrow. His bandmates have been greeted like homecoming heroes as they assemble, but that's nothing compared to the roar that rolls round the room when Shane staggers on. He's the drinking man's drinking man, someone blessed with the gift to wring beauty from what is clearly a tragic affliction.

Skunk Anansie, Brixton Academy, London

It's enough to to give you the willies. Silhouetted against a screen that stretches across the entire stage, three figures appear with the menacing shapes of a gangster, a vampire and some kind of bat/crow hybrid. The figures, when the screen drops, turn out to be the majority of Brit-rock veterans Skunk Anansie.

The National, Brixton Academy, London

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