Mercury prize 2019: Dave wins for Psychodrama, plus all the action as it happened

Last modified: 09: 43 PM GMT+0

Streatham MC beats Idles and Slowthai for the most prestigious award in British music – follow our coverage here

And that’s it for another year. Dave is a victor in a really strong field, full of artists who stepped up and articulated what it is to live on a burning planet, in an absolute socio-political mess, while staring at your phone. Like you are now, perhaps. But thanks for following along nonetheless! We’re off to bulk order some foul-mouthed Slowthai merch.

It’s a hugely, hugely deserving winner of the 2019 Mercury prize. Psychodrama straddles so much ground, zooming from grand black historical narratives to ultra-intimate stories of lives lived hand to mouth on the streets of south London. Written after he had already become famous, he seems wretched amid his success, traumatised by the poverty he’s only just stepped up from, and jaded by the sex and money he’s stepped into. And all of it with such pinpoint exactitude to his flow, such clear-headedness even when the road ahead seems fogged. It’s often heavy going – a totally different kind of catharsis to the Idles or Slowthai albums for instance. But it’s another British rap classic anointed by the Mercury judges, that is certainly the equal of former winners like Dizzee Rascal’s Boy in Da Corner or Skepta’s Konnichiwa.

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Dave shares his moment of triumph with his mother.
Dave shares his moment of triumph with his mother. Photograph: Ian West/PA

Dave looks ecstatic as he hugs anyone in his vicinity, and steps up. “I don’t know what to say,” he says. “I want to firstly thank God. I want to invite my mum up on stage.” She comes up in a fabulous print dress and looks so chuffed. “I want to thank everyone that made this happen, I want to thank all of the exceptional musicians who performed tonight... I respect you all so highly.” He picks out Little Simz, Slowthai and Nao for special mentions, and thanks, “my mum, my family, my friends”. And then finally pays tribute to his brother, who is currently in prison – a phone call from him closes out Psychodrama, and it’s incredibly moving every time you hear it. “Even though you can’t be here today, I know you’re watching this bro. I’m so grateful.” He picks up the mic again for another performance of Psycho.

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And the winner is... Dave!

IT’S DAVE! For his album Psychodrama.

Annie Mac says: “What a privilege it is to be in this room... what an exceptional list... The winning album showed remarkable levels of musicianship, artistry, courage and honesty.”

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Ok... Lauren Laverne is building the tension, and says the judges have reached a decision. Getting the feeling this might have been one of the years where they’re deciding right until the end.

Now recapping the performances – they really were all excellent this year. Still vibing off Anna Calvi’s vocal power and Dave’s exactitude. And Slowthai and Idles’ two flavours of punk.

Laura says that what you missed on BBC Four was Slowthai saying: “Fuck Boris Johnson, fuck everything, and there’s nothing great about Britain.” Holding up a decapitated Boris head.

Idles’ guitarist goes one up on Slowthai by starting their performance of Never Fight a Man With a Perm shirtless, rather than ending it that way. This is one of the Bristol band’s biggest anthems, railing against coked-up toxic masculinity by using the energy of a coked-up toxic man. “You look like a walking thyroid!” Joe Talbot lashes out at the crowd, stepping about like a cartoon spider and staring like the lights have just come on in the club at 7am. He gives a handshake to Slowthai down in the crowd, who then gets up on stage to hug out a tremendous pair of closing performances.

“Fuck Boris!” That’s how Slowthai’s performance of Doorman begins. He’s straight down amid the tables, taking off his extremely nice cardigan to reveal the aforementioned slogan T-shirt. You getting the theme yet? His nomination gong quickly becomes a phallus for some lewd gestures, then the T-shirt comes off too. And then BBC Four cuts it off in its prime. “Slowthai, with his own views there,” says a droll Laverne.

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Nao now, performing Another Lifetime. The bookies don’t think Nao has a chance, and I’m afraid they’re probably right – her album, Saturn, has made a pretty light impression with only one week in the Top 100. Its airy sensuality and loose cosmic framework means it kind of orbits the rest of the decidedly earthbound shortlist, and so would be a truly outlying choice for the win. But even if it sits alongside Foals and Anna Calvi in the second-tier records here, she is a magnetic live presence. In fact, serious live chops are something shared by the whole shortlist this year.

FYI: Slowthai has put a “Fuck Boris” T-shirt on pre-order in his web shop and it is magnificent. He’s up next...

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Cassie Kinoshi of SEED Ensemble: ‘There needs to be more funding for jazz’

SEED Ensemble

Matty and George from the 1975 send a message from Australia – they say they considered cancelling the tour to be at the Mercury prize, but didn’t because they remembered the fans who put them and everyone on the shortlist where they are. While we get a video of a live performance of theirs, let’s catch up with Cassie Kinoshi from SEED Ensemble, who was speaking to Laura on the red carpet.

Laura: What did you want people to take away from this record?

Cassie Kinoshi: I think the some of the most important things was the stuff on British politics, a lot of the stuff I feel needs to be continually discussed and highlighted. The track Wake is there to make sure that we continue to keep Grenfell at the forefront of people’s minds. And the first track on there, The Darkies is about what it means to exist as a black British person in society where you’re treated as an other.

Laura: I feel like the existence of the record is political – so many of you got started with the Tomorrow’s Warriors collective, and funding for British music has been cut so badly. I feel like we need 10 Tomorrow’s Warriors – is there enough funding?

Cassie Kinoshi: Yeah, I think there needs to be more. They do a great job, they’ve done a lot and not just in jazz, but other genres, for example, the guys who play in Jorja Smith’s band.

Laura: In the UK, a lot of people are waking up to jazz for the first time and it’s written about as if it’s all the same. Can you talk about the specific sounds and traditions you drawn from?

Cassie Kinoshi: It’s very influenced by what we’ve all grown up listening to – jazz is a genre that’s really evolved over time and always picked up influences. So it’s not one thing.

Laura: What does this nomination mean to you? It feels like real recognition of a community.

Cassie Kinoshi: Yeah, I think it’s great in the way it’s giving a platform to the band for people outside of the jazz community.

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Black Midi didn’t do the red carpet apparently – divas! Their debut album Schlagenheim has been absolute Marmite on the Guardian’s music desk – I love it, Laura hates it, and Alexis was someone in the middle with his 3-star review. I will admit it is very clever and in a way that could potentially be annoying, like a Mensa-affiliated nephew who keeps reciting pi to a thousand places during Christmas dinner. There’s lots of faffing with time signatures, silly voices, squalls of improvised noise, and so forth; they’re as well-drilled as you’d expect a crop of Brit-schooled musicians to be. But I think this debut album absolutely hangs together and ends up transcending all this aforementioned stuff, to become something really vital and exuberant. In an extremely strong field, they are also the best live act on the shortlist. The likelihood of the entire judging panel uniting around their shared love for it is extremely low, but then again I expected my mum to hate it at a festival this summer and she was happily nodding along, in a cagoule, in 5/4 time, so you never know.

Their live performance turns out to be a very free-form take on Bmbmbm, with Geordie Greep in maximum creep-vocal mode. They turn left into an epic noise-punk meltdown, complete with acrobatic front flips, and then a cute little funk coda. They could have done something much more crowdpleasing, even by their standards, but where’s the fun in that?

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Dave now, with his “socially conscious and unflinching lyrics” celebrated by presenter Lauren Laverne. He takes on Psycho in a lime green Stone Island tracksuit. Where this is really trudging and grim on record, he brings more musicality to his flow when delivering it live, his band giving him silence and space to shout out his native Streatham. The halfway-point switch up is expertly etched by some on-point backing vocalists, as sax swims round the climax – and then it’s back to mournful piano-driven clarity. A brilliant chapter to the Psychodrama.

Cate Le Bon

Cate Le Bon now, looking quite a lot like a supply art teacher who asks you to interpret your dreams using broken ink cartridges. Me and Laura were discussing this album – Reward – earlier today, and she said it was the only one that she could imagine listening to in years and years’ time. It’s a good point – compared with the rest of the shortlist, it doesn’t feel as rooted in the cut and thrust of political and social life of the UK in 2019, but that is absolutely one of its strengths. If you haven’t checked it out yet I absolutely implore you to – it is a magical blend of Broadcast, Vashti Bunyan, 60s girl group pop, scrappy post-punk and much more, i.e. something that only she could have come up with. Easily in the two or three best albums here, and it would be a wonderful curveball winner – but it just doesn’t feel enough of the moment, perhaps. The song here was Home to You, home to some quality mallet percussion and a maypole-worthy chorus.

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So Laura, who is at the ceremony which is happening a bit further ahead of the broadcast, has said Slowthai held up a decapitated and bloodied Boris Johnson head during his performance, and shouted: “Fuck Boris!” repeatedly. Incoming! Let’s see how much BBC Four show of that, eh.

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My boys Fontaines DC now, with Boys in the Better Land. This is an absolutely rollicking track touching on the current wave of anti-British sentiment in Ireland – can’t imagine why! Such a satisfying wall of sound – the kind of thing that other bands would make sound extremely leaden, but Fontaines keep buoyant and insouciant.

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SEED Ensemble now, a 10-piece UK jazz outfit led by Cassie Kinoshi, using that sumptuous, big-hearted post-Kamasi style – those six brass players out front generate such a warm front of sound, and the drummer gets a chance to do some extremely nimble fills.

There is some really uplifting melodic writing on their record Driftglass, but I kind of wanted them to break out of the smooth lounge mood a bit more – for me, their track WAKE (For Grenfell) didn’t have the unhinged ferocity it needed. You could equally argue, however, that such anger would have been too on-the-nose. Anyway, if Sons of Kemet couldn’t win the prize last year with their even more politically incendiary Your Queen is a Reptile, this probably won’t make it either – but credit to the Mercury for continuing to champion London’s vibrant young jazz scene.

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Little Simz on the red carpet: 'I feel like I’m coming into myself a lot more'

Laura also caught up with Simz to discuss the reaction to her album.

Laura: What kind of response did you get to the album?

Little Simz: That’s the thing about music – once it’s out in the world it’s out and you can’t take anything back. And I don’t wanna take anything back, I’m super proud of it. I said everything I wanted to say, I got a lot off my chest. The reception has been crazy. I’m happy it’s connecting in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of. I think it’s let my fans know that they’re not alone. Whatever it is, I still deal with the things that they deal with because I’m human and a young woman in today’s society and I go through the same things.

Laura: You’ve been outspoken about not getting support from the industry in the past – this must be really meaningful.

Little Simz: Yeah, yeah, super meaningful. Even with that, I just think it was timing. I think maybe I wouldn’t have been ready to deal with all that at that time in my life. Now I feel like I’m coming into myself a lot more – I’m more strong-minded, I feel like I’m ready for whatever life’s gonna throw at me. I’m a lot more confident in myself, making the music I really want to make.

Laura: It’s so exciting to have you, Dave, Slowthai, they all make really striking statements about what it means to be young, black and British. Are those messages reaching the mainstream or is there more of a way to go?

Little Simz: I think there’s a ways to go. But I think we’re getting there. Even outside of music, like Top Boy [which Simz stars in], that represents something that is bigger than ourselves and that will hopefully ignite change and make people really aware of and understand issues in gang culture and London. I think we’re doing that through London as well. I feel like everyone’s on the same mission.

Laura: Do you have any hope that politicians will listen? Or will they keep demonising young people?

Little Simz: I don’t know, man. I don’t pay attention to politics like that. I just hope that it is representing so many people – I hope they pay attention but who knows.

Laura: What should have been nominated?

Little Simz: Do you know what, I think they got ’em all in the bag! There was a lot of great albums but – removing myself – the 11 nominated are great. I really like Dave’s album.

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Little Simz

Little Simz here, whose red carpet accessories created a crazed sort of equilibrium – that awful fat tie belongs at a New Jersey funeral but those socks and shoes absolutely pop. She is the most technically gifted MC in the lineup – not for nothing has Kendrick Lamar praised her as one of the best out there – and her album Grey Area is her best yet, with some beautifully hook-y choruses. Her actual lyrics are perhaps less impressive than their delivery, however – but that delivery! Hers is interior music, compared with the exterior music of Slowthai; Dave stands on the threshold between the two. As a trio they make a great showcase for the health of British rap, which is as stylistically broad as it’s ever been.

She changes into a white suit along with her band for her live performance of Selfish – the best and most instantly appealing track on the album – beginning on the piano before stepping up in a pair of amazing flares to bring the rapping up a gear, absolutely crushing the second verse. The propulsiveness of her flow paired with the smoother neo-soul backing is a perfect combination.

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Anna Calvi

Deploying eyeliner to almost Batman proportions, it’s Anna Calvi, performing Don’t Beat the Girl Out of My Boy. Her album is actually my least favourite on this list – there’s a sturdy sense of songwriting, but to these ears her melodies staying on a well-marked, brightly lit bit of tarmac rather than straying off on more interesting paths. She’s been nominated for all three of her albums, but I can’t see this one pushing ahead of the competition here. That said, it has its fans, like the Guardian’s Michael Hann, who gave it a five-star review on its release. And this was an awesome live performance – gorgeous guitar tone to her soloing, and spectacular hollering at its climax. Lauren Laverne calls it “truly magnificent”, and she ain’t wrong.

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Foals speak on the red carpet: ‘There’s a genuine thrust of more political music as a response to the current climate’

Foals

Foals did a laudable protest on the red carpet, holding a banner reading: “No music on a dead planet”, following on from fellow nominees the 1975, whose forthcoming album will open with a speech from Greta Thunberg. Laura spoke to the band on the red carpet.

Laura: Do you agree with the critical view that this year’s list shows a rejuvenated political focus in music, or has it always been there and people have only just woken up to it?

Yannis Philippakis: I think that there’s a genuine thrust of more political music as a response to the current climate, whether it’s to do with British social issues or more of a general feeling that we’re entering into more of a dystopia. I certainly can say, speaking from our experience, that there’s no way we would have written this album five years ago. It’s in direct reaction to what we perceive as the perils of the time, and I think that probably defines a lot of the records on the list.

Laura: You have always been politicised in interviews – why not in music?

Yannis: I don’t know – maybe partly I felt that, at the time, I wanted to write lyrics that were more interested in my internal landscape. Maybe because it’s our fifth record and a lot of that quarry’s been mined already. I remember feeling that, certainly with the lyrics on these two records, I just wanted the lyrics to orbit the idea of the outside world and try to make the record more communicative and more direct.

Laura: Has it changed the way fans talk to you, what they talk to you about?

Yannis: It definitely changed the nature of interviews. And I think that a lot of fans, when we discuss with certain fans, the feeling is that they appreciate that the record is acting as a bridge between us and them, using social fabric as the … I was actively desiring using the things that unite us in a negative way as a bridge.

Laura: What are you writing about on part two of this pair of albums?

Yannis: Part two takes place in the aftermath of part one – the last couple of songs on part one are apocalyptic, essentially, and part two is about the individual trying to pick themselves back up and find a sense of purpose in the world. And then the second half of part two kind of goes into space. The last refuge!

Laura: How have you found that sense of purpose?

Edwin Congreave: I haven’t. It’s been hard on tour because we’re in America and I’m reading the news and I feel so disconnected from what’s going on in the UK. In the last few weeks I’ve been at home, and just through hanging out in my neighbourhood, I feel more rooted. I think it’s really about connection.

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The live show kicks off with Foals playing On the Luna. They’re one of the properly big, successful names on the list – four out of five of their records have reached the UK Top 3, and three of them have been nominated for the Mercury prize. They’ve reached cruising altitude, both in terms of popularity – reliable festival headliners, one of the few convincing arena bands in the UK – and, to my mind, in terms of creativity. Big, muscular songs like 2013’s Inhaler were such a step up for them; they’ve now settled into this as their chief mode, and their songs are now just a little bit unremarkable as a result. But the likes of this, Exits, White Onions and In Degrees off their nominated album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt 1 still have plenty of heft to them, even if their shape is familiar.

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Fontaines DC
Fontaines DC Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

As for my personal favourite, it’s Dublin band Fontaines DC and their album Dogrel, which is just full of great tunes, top to tail: fast ones, slow ones, wry ones, sad ones. Like Slowthai, frontman Grian Chatten leans into his accent, and like Idles they face social ills head on – but with undoubtedly more sophistication and poetry. I think that were the jury to rally around a guitar record though, they’d go for Idles, for their sheer populist vision and breakthrough success.

There’s always one bloke who makes absolutely no sartorial effort at all and this year it’s That Guy On The Right from Fontaines DC, in tie-dye T-shirt and Adidas joggers. It’s actually quite fashion in the end – he’s probably been mood-boarding this for weeks.

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Idles in conversation: 'The more we display violence in a beautiful way, and the more mindful we become'

Laura Snapes caught up with the Idles boys on the red carpet:

Laura: Your live shows are so rowdy, and the record is so personal and political – have people always understood the message in the music? If that matters?

Joe Talbot: It’s a language, it’s very idiosyncratic to us. It’s a democratic process, five voices come together and make one message, and it’s still gonna be misread. We can only control us and our behaviours. The reason this was written was to be as mindful as possible with our message, our language, our narrative, but we can’t lose sleep from that, we gotta keep going and enjoy ourselves.

Laura: I’m curious about the kind of things fans say to you about the record, and particularly men.

Mark Bowen: We get people on social media and come up to us at the end of shows talking about how the album for them has been a form of catharsis, and they’ve been able to open up more and talk more and that’s had a positive effect on their lives. That’s literally what’s happened with us as well, that’s how the album came about. It’s nice to have that shared experience going from closed off, especially in my case, to being more in touch with our feelings and being able to share and move forward.

Joe: We aimed at men cos we were aiming at ourselves. We were voicing our experiences of improving as individuals – my experience of going to therapy and learning about my masculinity as kind of like a stoic gag, and where I wanted to be, and realising how much weight I was carrying and how dangerous that was. In addiction, in silence, in all sorts of ways that it often comes out with men. Portraying that is holding up a mirror to people and giving you an opportunity to see that and change over time. The idea of having a violent show on stage – and it is a violent show – it’s not, like, physically abusive but there is a violence there, violent brushstrokes, whatever that is, and that portrayal is a delicate balance. Sometimes we get it wrong and people in the audience have been awful, and we’ve had to react to that and try and stop it. But over time, the more we display violence in a beautiful way – and the more mindful we become as a mirror – as something to hold up to them, hopefully the conversation will change over time and people will treat themselves with a bit more respect.

Mark: The conversation about masculinity has been aimed at the inappropriate use of catharsis through that use of violence by men, and what we’re trying to do, through what we’re learning as a band, is how to use that catharsis in a safe, positive and respectful way.

Joe: For us, though. This is us. We constantly need to learn how to open up and improve as a group because we travel together all the time. And put everything we have into the live shows. And that’s a lot. Psychologically it’s a lot. Our mental health suffers, my cycles of alcoholism and drug addiction are there, and you have to stay mindful and improve on that. It’s not like I’m lecturing anyone, but I don’t know how to not be transparent because that’s the language I’ve learned over the last four years, and that’s been the most vibrant for me. We’re not trying to change the world, we’re just trying to show people you can be an asshole or not be an asshole.

Laura: Do you find it easy to communicate about feelings and hold each other to account when necessary?

Joe: 100%. That’s one of the first things we had to get through. Writing music, and a lot of people forget we actually write songs, it’s a democratic process, and that means really quickly having to be like, “that’s shit” and not just that, but, “that’s shit because…” We need to write what’s best for this part, what’s best for you, then you’re like, OK, cool. And you work beyond that. That goes into our emotions. Two days ago we [points at bandmate Lee Kiernan] were talking about how we hadn’t really connected recently for a couple of months, and then we get through this, then we’ll realign properly, because we love each other.

Mark: The reason for any relationship breaking down is poor communication, or negative communication or lack of communication. We’re always open with each other and always ready to hear each other.

Laura: The philosophy of the last album is “joy as an act of resistance”, but is anything guiding the next record?

Joe: It’s still joy as an act of resistance. Absolutely. It’s just – joy as an act of resistance was the opening of a conversation that we wanted to start in a very nursery-rhyme, overt way. Now this conversation has started, we’ve had reaction from the press, but from an audience that we wanted to engage. So now, they’ve responded, it’s now our response to that response. We’re always gonna stay momentary. There’s no point in trying to force anything else. We’re playing bigger rooms, talking to more journalists, spending more time with each other away from our families, so we have to start a new conversation.

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The Guardian's tip to win: Idles

Idles

Having said that … I think that tonight’s winner will be Idles. Another favourite with the bookies – most have them joint with Dave in second place – they are just as socially engaged as Dave but wear it all much more lightly. Their previous record, Brutalism, made their name with its reflections on grief and its savaging of the Tories over the NHS; nominated album Joy As An Act of Resistance adds even more besides.

They slamdance against so many of today’s worst ills – poor self-worth, toxic masculinity, class snobbery, xenophobia, the tabloid press – but with heads held high. Their sheer earnestness might irritate a few, but their big, honest emotion feels like a really necessary corrective to all the aforementioned awfulness. “My blood brother is Malala, a Polish butcher, he’s Mo Farah” – it’s almost cringeworthy, but we do need this stuff saying out loud.

They have made a bit of an effort tonight, too, with their blazers and stuff; loving the polo neck from frontman Joe Talbot, looking like Steve Jobs if the iMac hadn’t worked out and he’d become a stick-and-poke tattooist in a polyamorous relationship.

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The cover of Psychodrama by Dave.
The cover of Psychodrama by Dave. Photograph: PR Handout

The other much-fancied rapper – in every sense, just look at him up top! – is Dave, whose star is even higher than Slowthai’s. He’s collaborated with Drake, had a UK No 1 single, and created not one but two of the moments of Glastonbury 2019: when he brought on the surprisingly on-point bucket-hatted teenager Alex, and when he thanked Stormzy for everything he’d done for the UK scene, during the latter’s Pyramid stage headline set. Stormzy is on the voting panel this year and will no doubt be doing some extremely charismatic and persuasive gong-banging for Dave – but will the rest of the panel agree?

For me this album, Psychodrama, is spellbinding, occasionally flawed – the therapist framework is a bit cringe, and muddies the sledgehammer ending where his real-life brother calls him from prison to congratulate him – and actually much bleaker than it seems, coming as it does in the wake of Dave’s breakthrough fame. He seems to almost buckle under the weight of his concern for his peers, the trauma of his impoverished past and the history of violence against black people. Even when he’s rapping about getting head he seems to be staring into the middle distance. It’s an important, clear-eyed and devastating record, but arguably difficult to truly love – still, I think the bookies are mad not to have this as their favourite.

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The favourite: Slowthai

Slowthai

The bookies’ favourite – which never wins – is Slowthai with his album Nothing Great About Britain. This would be a worthy winner: quite apart from his lyrics, his voice is one of the most satisfying here. His broad east Midlands burr is another one of the strong regional accents that are currently keeping British rap so tangibly British – alongside Aitch, Jaykae, Jay1, Bugzy Malone et al – and he moves through his lyrics with the bobbing and weaving stance of a grime or garage MC, but there’s straight up punk and trudging hip-hop production too. Lyrically it’s really evocative – social realism blended with neat wordplay (“selling wraps to a mummy”) to make a portrait of working-class Britain that is neither moping nor moralistic. Drug Dealer also has one of the best disses in ages: “You’re mediocre like Katie and Peter.”

Laura says he has been the toast of the red carpet, storming up and down, beer in hand. He said that if he won, he’d spend the money on “stupid stuff! Like blow up a car! ... Nah, I just wanna have time to spend with my friends and family.” He also revealed that he has a special pair of pants for his performance this evening – this being a man who will get down to his smalls at the slightest provocation.

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The award tends to be decided on the night, with the judges reconvening one final time, so I don’t think nominees the 1975 will be winning – they can’t make it to the ceremony because they’re on tour in Australia.

Their album A Brief History of Online Relationships has been rightly lauded, and in some ways is the perfect album for two of the main tenets of the Mercury prize remit: “to recognise and celebrate artistic achievement” and “provide a snapshot of the year in music”. In blending new wave, disco, ambient techno, Big Music, and acoustic balladry – in the first five songs alone! – with powerful pop hooks, it absolutely nails the first, and by confronting technophobia, Donald Trump, addiction and more, it feels absolutely rooted in 2019.

But with two Brit awards earlier in the year, and no one to hand the prize to this evening, the panel will likely decide it’s better to give someone else a look in here. Every other one of the nominated artists will be performing tonight.

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Mercury judging panel

Here’s the judging panel. A bunch of industry people – of whom the most notable is the wonderful Tshepo Mokoena formerly of this parish and now editorial director of Vice – and some famous people too: Stormzy, Jamie Cullum, Jorja Smith, Gaz Coombes of Supergrass, and Radio 1 pair Clara Amfo and Annie Mac. You can expect the Sun to have employed a body language analyst to compare Stormzy and Jorja Smith within the hour.

Recapping the shortlist

The shortlist once again, with links to our reviews of the albums:

Welcome to the Mercury prize 2019 liveblog!

Welcome to the Mercury prize ceremony 2019! This is one of the strongest fields in the history of the prize, with none of the outright stinkers that have managed to sneak on to shortlists in recent years (Alt-J, Everything is Recorded, Glass Animals, etc) and plenty of records that really have something to say about the way we live now.

I’ll be liveblogging all the arrivals and red carpet lewks, and then the ceremony as it is screened on BBC Four from 9pm; deputy music editor Laura Snapes is covering news at the ceremony itself and will be sending back bits of goss. The winner will be announced at around 10.10pm.

Contributor

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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Brits 2019: who will – and should – win every award
Can Dua Lipa have a second successful Brits year in a row, or will George Ezra dominate the biggest categories? Ahead of tonight’s ceremony, we ponder the likely winners

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

20, Feb, 2019 @7:00 AM

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Mobo awards 2021: Dave, Little Simz and Ghetts top winners
Drill artist Central Cee and Nigerian pop star Wizkid win two awards each, as ceremony returns as a live event for first time since 2017

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

05, Dec, 2021 @10:00 PM