Carlos Santone (Blue King Brown)
Welcome to the best awards ceremony of the year… it’s just a shame the weather wasn’t going to help proceedings. The inaugural AIR Awards took place last night in Sydney at the beautiful Blacket Hotel (it’s hidden away so I never knew how great a hotel it is). AIR is the Australian Independent Records Labels Association, and last night was organised to honour those Australian independent artists who had achieved so much in the past year. It would have all been perfect had the weather not decided to change and catch everyone completely off-guard. After sweltering in the Sydney heat for the past couple of days, the mercury dropped by about 10 degrees Celcius and a strong wind blew up as well – not helpful when the ceremony is held in an outside courtyard 9 storeys above the Sydney CBD.
Aside from the weather, everything else about this ceremony was fantastic. It was a great crowd and I met some lovely people. The food and drinks were top-notch – I ate my fair share of kebabs and drank quite a few beers. Former Triple J and current Vega FM radio DJ Angela Catterns was the host of the awards and although she didn’t say a lot, she did a pretty good job. It’s also the shortest awards ceremony I’ve been to – ever! I think all awards ceremonies should take a leaf out of AIR’s book!
We were also treated to some amazing live performances from Gotye and The Basics, two of Who The Bloody Hell Are They’s favourite bands (check out Jerry’s review of last week’s Gotye/The Basics Melbourne show here). It was great to watch two quality acts in such a small venue. Gotye was amazing as always, treating us to some songs off his album Like Drawing Blood during the middle of the awards. He was very relaxed and joked with the crowd. He played solo most of the time (just Wally on the drums and a backing track) but was joined by members of The Basics for the final song of his four-song set.
Once the awards were completed, The Basics, in all their 60s pop glory, entertained us with their catchy tunes, and they may well be the best dressed band in Australia. I was hooked when they opened with ‘Rattle My Chain’; just a fantastic way to open a set. I was worried that the small PA and high winds would have affected the sound, but there was no problem at all. I got to meet Wally (aka Gotye) and Kris from The Basics, both of whom were fantastic guys. For anyone heading to Homebake on Saturday, seeing both Gotye and The Basics is a must.
Congrats to all at AIR for putting such a great awards ceremony. No doubt it will continue to grow over the years, but selfishly I hope it doesn’t because it works so beautifully on a small scale. Anyway, here are the winners:
Best Performing Independent Album
Hilltop Hoods – The Hard Road
Best Performing Independent Single/EP
Blue King Brown – Blue King Brown
Independent Artist Of The Year
Most Outstanding New Independent Artist