Dave Grohl earned his Shockwaves NME Godlike Genius Award last night with an epic two-hour set that left the awards ceremony in the shade.
Grohl, dedicated his NME gong to former Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994, and let rip with his band, the Foo Fighters, at the O2 Academy in Brixton, playing the band’s upcoming album Wasting Light in its entirety, followed by a string of past hits.
Whipping up the crowd into a head-swooshing frenzy, Grohl said, “Sorry, we’re not going anywhere. In fact, we’re probably going to stay until you turn out the lights.”
The audience, including Juliette Lewis, the cast of British TV programme, Skins, John Lydon and veteran rocker, Roger Daltrey, of The Who (who performed Mose Allison’s Young Man Blues with the Foo Fighters on stage), approved with enthusiastic whoops of delight.
“I know there’s posh bars out there where all the celebs are hanging out right now, but fuck that shit,” he exclaimed to his audience, torn between catching the last Tube and witnessing an epic performance from a man regarded as one of the most hardes working and down to earth in modern rock music.
Grohl, who started off as the drummer in Nirvana before forming the Foo Fighters, is the first non-Brit to be presented with the Godlike Genius award.
NME editor Krissi Murison described him as “one of the most important rock stars alive today”, while a number of stars, including Josh Homme and Jack Black, appeared in a video paying tribute to Grohl.
“You guys realise they gave this one to a drummer, right? This one’s for the drummers!” he told the crowd.
US rockers My chemical Romance, who performed Vampire Money, clad with balaclavas and jet black suits, scooped two NME awards on the evening for best international band and best video for Na Na Na.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling was named Best Solo Artist.
Muse were crowned NME’s 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 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.”
Justin Bieber fell foul of more than half a million voters at the awards, with the 16-year-old Canadian voted least stylish, and his record, My World 2.0, taking the worst album prize.
Lady Gaga was acclaimed as Hero of the year with Prime Minister David Cameron picking up the Villain award.
Highlights from the NME Awards 2011 will be shown on Channel 4 on Saturday from 11.20pm.
Get more info: nme.com/awards