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Whilst often overshadowed by the presence of the Grammys, the Brits celebrate everything that is great about British music and remind us why the UK music industry has come to dominate the global charts. The night was somewhat eclipsed by Madonna’s infamous fall down the stairs, allegedly caused by a cape tied too tight, although there has been some speculation of a publicity stunt to raise the profile of an otherwise hopeless single. Ant and Dec took on the reigns from James Corden and apart from a failed selfie attempt with Kim Kardashian, their chuckle brother style of hosting was somewhat lacking Cordens’ thoughtful asides and tactful humour.

 

Judging by pictures of Ed Sheeran’s night, he certainly made the most of celebrating winning two awards, including the coveted best British album of the year with X. Although evidently already slightly pissed at this stage, Ed made a rather poignant speech where he praised British music and highlighted the value of ticket sales and album charts in comparison to ‘just a statue’. A brave performance of his latest single Bloodstream with a single guitar and a couple of mics, accompanied by one hell of a light show, gave the track a more anthemic feel. Predictably Sam Smith cleaned up winning 3 awards and even causing Simon Cowell to make a snarky comment about how he couldn’t win them all when accepting One Direction’s (crucially voted for by the public) award for best British video on their behalf. Sam gave a flawless performance of Lay Me Down, which was soulful and backed by strings accompaniment, proving that he was more than worthy of his wins.

 

Other than that, a surprise performance from Kanye West was relatively uncontroversial, and apart from the obvious apocalyptic predictions of Kanye and Taylor Swift being at the same awards ceremony, Kanye’s performance was a mix of blanked-out swearing and fire. T Swizzle, on the other hand, performed the self-deprecating Blank Space, dressed like a terrifyingly alluring CEO and ending with a downpour of glitter. George Ezra gave a rather predictable and safe performance of Budapest, unfortunately not taking any risks to distinguish it from the studio version. Royal Blood provided something a bit different from the otherwise thoroughly mainstream show, with the duo performing a stripped back version of Figure It Out and adding some rock and excitement to the evening.

 

Overall, a pretty safe Brits this year, but a testament to the strength of British songwriting at the moment. For me, the real excitement comes from the promise of what’s to come; with James Bay winning the Critics choice award for 2015 and set to release his album in March, there has never been a better time to be in the British music industry.

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Imogen Thom

St Andrews

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