This week the New Zealand Music Industry - aka the Auckland Music Industry - will pat itself on the back with the Vodafone NZ Music Awards.
And some new initiatives were planned this award season. First, a "critics choice" prize...the winner was supposed to be a band that did not have an album out at the time of judging. Two of the three finalists released their albums within weeks of the judging. The winner was Street Chant - good on them, I like their album - but it's a strange award.
It seems odd to have music critics choosing an award-winner when an album is not part of the judging. Most music critics mostly review albums, after all.
There were also meant to be two showcase gigs - one in Wellington and one in Christchurch. A chance to take a part of the awards show on the road, to take it out of Auckland; in the end these shows never happened. So we can all tune in for Ben Hurley's "jokes" and the annual Auckland backpat later this week.
You don't think it's a backpat? Last year Brooke Fraser won an award for international success - basically a way of reminding Kiwis she still existed in a year or two without an album and her taking off to sing church music in Australia. The award was presented to her by her manager - the organiser of the awards - whom she then thanked during her speech while he stood on stage. Sick-making.
This year the Auckland Music Industry/New Zealand Music Industry will be celebrating Dane Rumble, no doubt - he is up for five awards. You might think he is up for the Best Worst Haircut, Best Worst Lyricist, Best Biggest Sellout, Best Desperate Second Shot at Fame After Already Fronting a Band That Got Nominated for Some Awards and Disappeared Swiftly on the Back of Empty Hype and Best Worst Album with a Chance To Win an iPhone in the Cover awards. But apparently he is not. Apparently he is up for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Breakthrough Artist, Pop Album and Best Male - what a joke.
This year the part of Ladyhawke will be played by Gin Wigmore. She arrives back in time to no doubt sweep a bunch of awards - fighting it out for the most part with Dane Rumble (Wigmore obviously nominated in the Best Female rather than Best Male category).
In a stroke of perfect timing - what a coincidence - Wigmore returns to New Zealand in time to sweep whatever awards are handed to her, having hardly ever made her home here. She will then go on a victory-lap national tour. Her ecstatic record label will have the press release already typed out - just waiting to add in the number of awards.
Gin Wigmore should be forced to listen to her own dreadful Under My Skin song whenever/however she travels around New Zealand on this tour. She has made the annoying part of flying - listening to the same safety announcement despite subtly, every aircraft being different - even more annoying.
It's my hope that The Phoenix Foundation will win a few awards - they've already won three technical awards; these are apparently too boring to present on the night. A shame given that two of the awards were for Engineer and Producer, rather crucial to the sound of the music I would have thought and therefore worth reminding people that a record producer and engineer is a hugely important part of the process; but no.
Hopefully Phoenix Foundation will win the Best Group and Best Album categories - in a victory for common sense.
This is the sort of band we should be honouring; they have created a) something original and distinctive, something that stands apart from the pack - a sound and b) a career. These guys are practically veterans. Along with Shihad and Anika Moa they are the "oldies" in a crowd of nobodies that will be gone next year.
Where is Ladyhawke now? What did all those awards do for her? Those awards were crucial to the record company's plans for a "deluxe edition" repackaging of her album. And that's about it. She has probably sold a few of them on Trade Me to buy up some more Pat Benatar B-sides to rip off for album number two.
A deluxe edition of Gin Wigmore's album has already been prepared. The press-release has gone out but it will be rewritten for first thing Friday morning to include much crowing about the tour and the awards. The represented album will be represented again.
Once again I was asked to be one of the judges - along with however many other people. I do it because I figure that someone has to try to keep the likes of Rumble, Gin and Kids of 88 out of the running. I see looking at this list of this year's nominees, released weeks ago, that it didn't work.
And we get nothing for it. I'm not saying we should. But they offer you a half-price single ticket to attend the event. No travel, no accommodation, no extra ticket, no actual ticket - just a discount.
It doesn't bother me, I know I italicised to make it sound like it does, but I just want to highlight how lame the offer is. I don't ever want to go to the award ceremony because I don't believe in these awards at all. I do my ticking of internet boxes, sure, and I don't expect anything for it. But somehow being told that I can reserve a discounted ticket to the event and pay my own way seems like even less than nothing - it seems like an insult.
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