If last year's NME Tour returned bands to the forefront after recent intrusions by hip-hop and dance acts, then this year was even more indebted to past glories. The result was an evening heavy on machismo-scented guitar bands, in a venue well short of capacity.
The opening slot fell to Circa Waves, who played the sort of jittery guitar-pop the magazine is most associated with. It strove to be excitable, but was so generic, like a historical excavation of Britpop's more banal acts, that it was forgotten almost immediately.
Brighton duo Royal Blood were more striking. A two-man set-up may instantly suggest the Black Keys, but their loud, hard-hitting sound displayed a debt to Black Sabbath and sludgy, primordial noise. They battered through songs sounding like an explosion in a fireworks factory, and swaggered around with assurance.
The dreamy pop of Temples struck the lightest note, although they also dipped into sprawling psychedelic jams to go with hazy melodies, and Keep In The Dark crunched along, reminiscent of Spirit In The Sky. Yet their stage presence was frustratingly timid, making the set all too passive.
Lastly came Interpol. A group gearing up for their fifth album headlining a tour devoted to fresh music seemed odd, even if they did drop three new songs in.
The best, undoubtedly, was My Desire, with a strutting drumbeat and seedy guitar work, but the sharp-suited New Yorkers mostly ran through old tunes, with C'mere and Obstacle 1 suitably driving.
The remainder, though, were simply efficient, and Paul Banks's voice was often submerged, even on Slow Hands, their hit from 2004 that sparked the biggest crowd response.
The shock of the new seemed awfully far away though.