Ah, the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards. Held this year at Revolt in Kensington, the steampunk-esque venue is swimming with musos, critics, majordomos and fanboys and girls, all treating to their tongues to some fuzzy Jagermeister and hors d’oeuvres.
The gallery area is adorned with awesome photos of the nominees by shooters like the brilliant Kane Hibberd; once into the main room, we are greeted by our host, the palatable Dylan Lewis. Also, anyone else notice the Freudian slip in the third paragraph of that last link? Hm?
After Calling All Cars open the proceedings, the awards come thick and fast: the frenetic My Disco take out Best Hard Rock/Punk Album for Little Joy. A new award has been instated to include dance and electronica artists- who more often release singles rather than full albums- and Tommy Trash and Tom Piper featuring Mr Wilson (All My Friends) tie with Seekae (Blood Bank) for the win.
Billy Russell from Channel V came on to present Best Dance Album and, as the crowd assumes, Pnau win with Soft Universe. There is video thanks from half of the act, Peter Mayes (no sign of Nick Littlemore, despite the bar tab) before Aussie hip-hop act Illy performs It Can Wait with adorable songstress Owl Eyes.
Wagons win Best Country Album with Rumble, Shake and Tumble and front-man Henry Wagons accepts via a recorded message (“I’ve just watched Bridesmaids for the fifth time”) from Nashville, Tennessee. Recently retired ABC Radio legend Derek Guille helps present Best Jazz Album (as well as happily giving big-ups to local band Flap! who, I must agree, are amazeballs) which went to Sandy Evans with the lovely but rather naff titled When the Sky Cries Rainbows.
Best Hip-Hop Album went to Drapht with The Life of Riley; Drapht accepts via video, giving us double-thumbs-up about sixty times. The crowd cheers like madness when Best Blues and Roots Album goes to Gurrumul with Rrakala. Peter Wilkins from fellow nominees Blue King Brown accepts the award on behalf of the touring Gurrumul, who he calls “one of the most pure artists.” Dylan Lewis admits to becoming emotional after listening to Rrakala; “I cried, even though I’m a tough man.”
Emma Louise performs her huge, dark hit Jungle, then has to march right back onto the stage to accept her award for Breakthrough Artist. Louise is short and adorable, much like her speech. Much of the crowd wants to pop her in a teacup and whisk her home.
Shannon Quinn, brand manager for Jagermeister, presents the Most Hunted Award, the consumer-voted gong. Beating The Jezabels and Little Red was hip-hop artist 360, whose imbibing of the liqueur in question seemed to have been fruitful, saying, “We beat Bliss ‘n Eso, so that’s good”. He recounts bar tales of his previous few hours; “I asked for a Jagerbomb. They said they don’t do Jagerbombs. I said, can I get a Jager and Red Bull. That’s a Jagerbomb.”
The Holidays perform the driving Broken Bones and Taka Honda from Little Red helps present Best Single or EP, which goes to The Jezabels, as does the Dan Sultan-presented award for Best Artist. The much-coveted award was met with a Jezabels video message, wherein the foursome sat stoic and seemingly bored; one member scratches her arm in her sleeve, two other stare off into vacancy. It was as if the Sydney band had been told that they had to present an oral presentation on tax returns.
The final award, Best Album. From the cheers during the announcement of the nominations, it seems there is already a clear favourite…the much-deserving Adalita wins the award and accepts in honour of deceased Magic Dirt bandmate and friend, Dean Turner. Many are stifling tears, including me….shut up. The ceremony ends with Adalita performing Fool Around; you know when Johnny Cash or Tom Waits perform, and they just bring some kind of beautiful energy into the room? Adalita is like that.
Skipping the Cherry Bar after-party, I’ve no juicy gossip or insider trading to pass on…but if the ceremony itself was anything to go by, it would’ve been a boozy, cheery, raucous celebration of independent musicians, the importance of the Australian music industry and which Aussie hip-hopper could drink which MC under the table.
Words: Lisa Dib
Stonefield and 360 and Pez photos by Carbie Warbie