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01 December 2023

Arcade Fire burns competition at Brits

Arcade Fire are still regarded by many as an underground act. (REUTERS)

By Reuters

Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire have stolen the show at the Brit Awards, grabbing two awards at the UK's answer to the Grammys.

Arcade Fire, surprise Grammy winners earlier this week and still regarded by many as an underground act, won awards for best international group and best international album for their critically acclaimed LP, The Suburbs, at the revamped Brits.

"We're called Arcade Fire - check it out on Google," the band's lead singer, Win Butler, said.

But it was not such a good night for Australian talent.

Kylie Minogue lost the best international female solo artist prize to Rihanna, while teen singing sensation Justin Bieber beat Australian band The Temper Trap to the best international breakthrough act.

The event, long written off by critics as an industry back-scratching event, featured blistering acoustic performances by UK singer Adele and folk act Mumford and Sons but also gave the usual nod to mainstream acts like Rihanna and Take That.

Rapid changes in the way audiences listen to and buy music in recent years have forced a rethink at the heart of the industry, giving a bigger platform to home-grown talents which rise to the top without huge major label investment.

Mumford and Sons received the coveted album of the year award for Sigh No More, beating Take That and Tinie Tempah in a shock choice for an event that tends to reward sales over quality.

The audience, stuffed with music industry executives, artists and hangers-on, also enjoyed an explosive medley from Tempah, arguably the last year's most memorable mainstream artist, who grabbed two awards on the night.

In the running for four gongs, the south London rapper, responsible for tracks such as Pass Out, received the breakthrough and best single awards.

Rapper Plan B grabbed best male artist, surprising critics who had expected a clean sweep for Tempah.

Plan B's album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, has been a slow burning success story, catapulting him from underground rapper to radio star over the past 12 months.

Take That, who opened the show with a troop of dancers dressed as riot police in a nod to recent student protests over higher tuition fees, won best British group.

Jessie J, the latest British pop artist to hit number one, won the critics' choice award while Cee Lo Green grabbed best international male solo artist and closed the ceremony with a fireworks-enhanced performance of his hit single, Forget You.