The Cure headlined the evening with a selection of their biggest hits
by Kev Geoghegan
BBC News entertainment reporter
The NME awards have always been a little different to the Brits.
They are on a smaller scale, the awards are all voted for by the readers of the magazine and website - and boozing and bad behaviour are actively encouraged.
This is the ceremony where Bob Geldof put Russell Brand in his place, using the kind of word on stage that would make Brits' bosses flee the country.
In 2006, Ryan Jarman of The Cribs had to be rushed to hospital after skewering himself on a table decoration.
But things have suddenly got a little tame at the ceremony, which was once dubbed "the Brats".
It seems every ceremony must have a theme nowadays.
Last week, the Brits stage was festooned with tents and cows as part of a summer musical vibe.
The NME has loaded Brixton Academy's stage with what looked like offcuts from a particularly brutal hedge pruning session.
Apparently the desired effect was of an enchanted forest. Nope, me neither...
Dizzee Rascal had some fans in the audience
After an opening from new indie boys White Lies, this year's host, comedian Mark Watson, had an early pop at Leona Lewis, saying she had "shrugged off accusations of being boring by covering a Snow Patrol song".
It would have been funnier if Lewis or Snow Patrol were at the awards - but the sentiment seemed to be appreciated.
There are always a few teething problems at awards like these and it is probably better to iron any kinks out early in the proceedings.
Enter Ms Grace Jones, dressed like an extra from a Mad Max film, with a strange hat / mask contraption covering half of her face.
There to present the award for best live act, she waited until after the video tape of all the nominees before announcing: "And here are the nominees..."
"See you all next year"
Dizzee Rascal provided the first memorable moment of the night when he accepted the award for best floor filler - for his number one single Dance Wiv Me.
The Londoner walked off with the presenters' mic and then stage dived into the crowd.
In the first of two duets of the night, Franz Ferdinand and newcomer La Roux performed an updated cover of Blondie hit Call Me.
The second collaboration saw Scottish band Glasvegas and Florence, minus her Machines, revamp Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds.
Michael Eavis cemented his lovable old man status when he thanked 2008 Glastonbury headliners Jay-Z and Kings Of Leon for helping the festival win best music event.
Even Pete Doherty was well behaved dedicating an award to 'his nan'
He then told the crowd, "see you all next year". Hopefully he meant at the next NME show - the Glastonbury weekend is actually a little over four months away.
Electronic disco-funk band Friendly Fires got everyone moving when they were joined on stage by a full chorus of drummers and a handful of scantily-clad, carnival-style dancers.
And so, on to the coveted best British band award. It's a biggie and who should win but Oasis... who were subjected to some pretty deafening boos from across the venue.
At least they would have been if they had bothered to turn up.
Their absence only served to increase the volume of booing to the point where host Watson had trouble trying to quiet the dissenters so that a video message from Noel Gallagher could be played.
Luckily, the boos became cheers as indie rock legends The Cure were presented with the Godlike Genius award.
After a genuinely heartfelt "thank you" from singer Robert Smith, the band played a lengthy, nostalgic set to bring the NME awards 2009 to an end.
Lets hope that next year, the brothers Gallagher join in the fun.
Then we can really expect some fireworks.