AIR Awards Review – Cameron MacDonald

The rain broke and fans and industry types alike descended on the Forum Theatre, Sunday evening, for the Australian Independent Record Labels Association Jägermeister AIR Awards.  A jubilant and chilled vibe prevailed through a thick fug of the freely-flowing sponsorship herbal elixir.  Cult festival All Tomorrow’s Parties’ ATP Recordings’ The Drones were honoured for their Best Independent Album of the Year, Havilah, and as Independent Artist of the Year; Sydney’s Bridezilla played a mini-set that demonstrated why they appeared on the bill for September’s ATP New York, curated by The Flaming Lips.  Art vs. Science got the nod for their self-titled debut:  Best Independent Dance Album.  Pez seemed genuinely stoked about his gong for Best Independent Hip Hop/Urban Album, A Mind of My Own – but there’s no need to take your half-full alcopop with you to the podium, is there, mate? Genre time-traveler C.W. Stoneking (Best Independent Blues and Roots Album:  Jungle Blues), reminiscent of a one-man Squirrel Nut Zippers (remember them?!) slowed things down for a bit from behind his banjo and smart little red bowtie.   Now that they’ve shortened their moniker, Dappled Cities don’t fly anymore, but they cranked out a mesmerizing rendition of The Night Is Young At Heart, resplendent in matching cosmic butterfly/multi-angel wing outfits.  Excellent live production of the punchy, electro-tinged percussion highlighted inspired and energetic sets by Breakthrough Independent Artist of the Year, Bertie Blackman, and groovy closers, Midnight Juggernauts.  Started early, ended early – good thing for a cheeky Jägermeister-soaked gig outing on a school night!

–          Cameron MacDonald


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