After any awards show, there will always be a few disgruntled journalists bitching and complaining about how a) lame, b) irrelevant or c) self-indulgent the whole exercise was. They might also throw in boring, desperate, lightweight, old and frumpy, and whatever description best illustrates how stupid the whole thing is and how the writer, who is obviously way smarter and hipper than you, knows how lame it was and you can take their word for it.
Well, this goes very closely alongside what I've been saying about awards for years: most people think it's pretty dumb until someone they know wins one of those awards. Then holy smokes, it is the coolest thing in the world and they're going around telling everybody who'll listen that they KNOW somebody who won a (insert name of award here)!!!
The problem is that few of us actually know what goes on, and how the whole system works. We don't know if we're not in on it. And do we average people actually care to know? Most of the time we want to just watch, imagine how fabulous it all is, be wowed by the glamour. Or, of course, not watch and go on with life, unimpeded by the silliness of it all.
Anyways, Jethro and I did our annual trek to the Juno Awards this past weekend. You might be wondering why it's Wednesday afternoon and it's taking me this long to write about it. Well, it's like this... I was partying like/ with/ in the same building as rockstars, and the two of us have a bad habit of not knowing when to quit. We shut the party down. Every time. It's foolish. But it's what we do. At some point we look around, mostly sober, and go, "Oh hey... there's only us and five other people left. Should we turn in for the night?" And by that time, being on Music Biz Time Zone, it's not night anymore. It's four or five in the morning. I usually wake up around five or six. So let's just say, I need some recovery time.
Plus I have to debrief the kids as to who got fed and taken for walks and brushed and cleaned up after.
We figured we just wouldn't go this year, to avoid being parted with some money. But this is a work trip. Yeah it's fun, it's way fun, but it's about making and keeping those relationships with people who also make music for a living.
Besides, you'll work yourself to death in the music industry if you're not careful. Go ahead and throw yourself a giant party once a year. It's worth it.
So we filled up the tank with diesel, loaded up the back seat with snacks, stuck a few suitcases in the trunk, and went on a road trip. Totally worth it. Two albums he worked on won awards, and one of Our Guys (former protege) won the Juno for Engineer of the Year. We wouldn't have wanted to miss that! In this business, if you're a colleague, there's a good chance you're a friend. Gotta stick together.
The televised awards concert is always fun. I recommend it if you get a chance to get tickets. You get to see all behind the scenes stuff, like the crew frantically tearing down and setting up stage sets during commercials. You get to see the guy that pumps up the crowd before going back on the air. You'll probably experience real live Nickelback. We were on the opposite side of the arena and I am not exaggerating, we felt the heat from the pyro. I had beads of sweat on my forehead. Nickelback will literally melt your face.
Now here is where I bring this thing around to TelePrompters and bored hipster critics.
From where we were sitting, we weren't just in full view of the main stage. We could also see the TelePrompter, right there in front of the secondary stage where all the presentations were made. Names of the person speaking in red, words in white. Difficult names spelled out phonetically to cut down the chances of mispronunciation.
I could read every word said off the screen. It was all there. Everything. The newspapers and blogs were so quick to heap it on, without stopping to think that those words were carefully scripted last week.
It has to be that way. It costs truckloads of money to produce a show like this. Two hours of live broadcast with multiple performers and people running back and forth across the arena and up stairs, all those microphones and amps, all those cameras, directors at the back with a screen for each of those cameras...
You know, I'm a Nobody. I'm just a chick married to a guy who slaves away in a room with a bunch of switches and dials and knobs and wires. But I have paid enough attention to figure out that it's pretty darn easy to be critical when you can't be bothered to consider what it's really like in the industry you're ravaging verbally. I don't expect everybody in general to know or care, but I'd think it'd be prudent for critics to actually know what they're critiquing.
And on that happy note, here are the standouts of the show according to me:
-Hedley. Always, always, always, solid and awesome.
-Dallas Green aka City and Colour. Oh my gosh, with just himself, a guitar and a pedal, he brings the house down. I almost wept, he was so... stunning.
-Nickelback -- first act of the night, full of pyro and big fat power chords and yell-vocals freakin' fireworks. (Even if you don't like them, you gotta hand it to them.)
-Feist. She plays guitar, she sings, she's cool. What more you want?
-Blue Rodeo. Just because they are.
-Deadmau5, who closed the show. It's not just because my favourite kind of mouse is a dead mouse. It's not just that he wore his party mouse head. It's not just because Lights sang (live, I add). I don't get why I like what he does. I don't even think I'd be able to pick something out and go, hey that's Deadmau5. I just dug it right then and there and it was crazy fun stuff.
-Jian Ghomeshi is brilliant. (look up his radio show on Youtube - he's interviewed all kinds of interesting people. Including Kermit the Frog. Be sure to catch the Billy Bob meltdown. Dude handled it!)
I like the Juno Awards.
Also... Bill Shatner collaborations anybody? Nickelshat? Oh yes. Please yes.