Raph @ The Brits 2004 - On-site Report
You sit down, your wristband is tightly irritating your arm and you quickly realise that you are sitting amongst a dichotomy of lottery-culture-educated non-entities and bloated musical fat-cats. Yes, you are at The Brits, held at Earls Court in London, and you quickly realise a long night is in store.
Forget the poppycock they feed you about how the show cannot be aired live in case Johnny Rotten or Janet Jackson cause offence again, because that isn’t the proper excuse. No, the fact is The Brits needs about at least ten minutes of boring stage management and Cat Deeley retakes before the proceedings reach professional level. The Brits started at four o’clock this afternoon and lasted for nearly three and a half hours, and it felt like the whole day. A ceremony which used to be watchable purely because some Jarvis Cocker / Chumba Wumba incident would regularly occur, has now failed to deliver its only appealing factor. It either is detrimental to the music industry, or to the event’s producers that The Brits can be upstaged in the controversy stakes by the world’s most sanitised event - The Superbowl. The only contenders for offence tonight were Busted’s fake-rock take on Teenage Kicks, or the car-crash duet of Love Cats between Jamie Cullum & Kati Melua. At times, you’d wish you were sitting in a Russian leisure centre and that the roof would fall on everyone’s head.
Yes, that was a tasteless joke, and yet everything on show tonight is completely tasteless to anyone who claims to cherish music. For a start, The Brits did more tonight to promote American artists than actual ‘British’ musicians. Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and OutKast have all won multiple Grammys - an award ceremony that somehow carries a decent level of integrity, thus suggesting that the artists honoured have already saturated their target levels of exposure, and yet they are still paraded whilst Blur, Will Young and countless other successful Brits watch on. At times, you feel like you are trapped in a live concert of Now That’s What I Call Music….58, and they say this is the British Musical Oscars? The joke is that some people have paid up to five hundred pounds on Ebay for the privilege of going to Earls Court tonight, and that’s a depressing thought. Presumably, they paid that extortionate amount so they could tell their friends/family/colleagues the next day all the Brits anecdotes they obsessively stored up, because they could not have paid expecting to enjoy the show tonight, primarily because it was one of the most boring ways to ever spend three hours of anyone’s life.
When you go to a gig, the majority are fans of that particular artist and so most people share a common vibe. The Brits just felt like a very large pompous social club, where a band played in the background whilst corporate swines pat themselves on the back and laugh at how they have made more money than any of the musicians in the room. After a while, you feel angry that this isn’t a video game and you can’t pull out that sniper rifle. This isn’t a joke, The Brits brings out the serial killer in anyone who can see above this shallow charade. It takes the biscuit when these same aging businessmen start clapping along to The Darkness singing I Believe In A Thing Called Love, because you then realise you are in the town hall of Music Sell Out City. Don’t mention the legions of pretty girls on display, dressed in their best scant clubbing gear deluding themselves they are important because “so many other important people are here tonight”. They seem genuinely pleased when an artist they like, more accurately Justin Timberlake, wins an award. So much so they text their friends because the friends are so unfortunate they will have to wait an hour or two before the recorded highlights are shown on television.
Get that sniper rifle ready, because Neil Fox comes on to present an award and patronisingly informs us that “he’s been watching from backstage and this is the best Brits ever”. Bang. Lucky us, we also have to deal with minor celebs Dermot O’Leary and Kerry McFadden amongst others. The latter having to participate in a painful telephone exchange with Daniel Bedingfield which lasted far longer than the edited television version. You lucky viewers! Cat Deeley hyped up the Beyonce / OutKast collaboration that was nothing more than the two doing their songs back to back, albeit separately.
Muse rocked and were actually very good, and The Darkness were arrogant enough when accepting awards to provoke a slight smile. Thankfully, the organisers shifted the Duran Duran oldie slot to before Justin and co so that the alcohol-deprived executives wouldn’t disrespect Mr. Le Bon and walk out to their own Mecca - the jolly trolley. Speaking of backstage, it was split into two sections, Heaven and Hell and appropriately decorated. Hell was more fun, with lots of devilish girls handing out free shots of Sauza Tequila. They should have renamed the backstage party ‘Temptation Island’!
So that’s it for another year. If you know anyone who went to The Brits tonight simply DO NOT be fooled by their blatant attempts to convince you that ‘they’ are now the cool ones in life, and think twice next time you pay five hundred quid on Ebay. Raphael Pour-Hashemi, reporting for CD Times, listening to Lambchop’s Aw C’mon / No You C’mon in order to clean his ears out, and his soul.