The 2013 Boston Music Awards In Review
Hating on the BMAs
Local booker Richard Bouchard gave a tongue-in-cheek welcome to Sunday night’s BMAs, declaring it “the least-complained about event of the year!” With enormous bands like Aerosmith, Dropkick Murphys, and Amanda Palmer nominated alongside the Boston little guys, voting almost posed an ethical dilemma – do you vote for Walmart or the Mom & Pop shop? Why are these artists even in the same category? When they announced the nominees and ran through the artists up for awards, nobody cheered for Aerosmith but folks went bananas for Bad Rabbits. Amanda Palmer’s name even warranted a “Boooooooo” that echoed throughout multiple floors at the Liberty Hotel. Eddie Japan frontman David Santos said at the beginning of his set that they were up against Aerosmith and the Dropkick Murphys for Best Live Artist, “so if you voted 6 million times we might have a shot.” Happily, it seems the voting community was ultimately more interested in the little guy, too – Eddie Japan went home with the win.
Supporting Boston Music
Certainly if a band like Bad Rabbits can trounce Amanda Palmer/Dropkick Murphys and Eddie Japan can dethrone Aerosmith, it was a relieving gauge of where Boston stands with its musical priorities. The evening’s best example of Boston Pride existed with the Tuesday Night Recording Club, a blog whose mission is to get local bands together to cover predominantly rock records. It includes Brian Charles, producer extraordinaire, Aaron Perrino, lead singer of the Sheila Divine, Annie Hoffman, bassist for the Field Effect, and local musicians Davina Yannetty & Kenji Ross on Keys/Vocals and Drums, respectively. For the BMAs, though, this band busted out all of the local stops, covering songs by numerous bands with Boston roots, and featured some big-name locals on individual songs – they opened with a Sheila Divine cover of “Hum,” but followed with songs by The Cars, Dinosaur Jr., The Pixies, Bobby Brown, and more, featuring guest leads by Doug Orey from the Field Effect, Chris Keene from Mean Creek, Sidewalk Driver’s Tad McKitterick dressed like a Pimp-style Santa Claus during “My Prerogative,” BMA producer Jake Brennan even guest-led for a stint, and they closed with Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz and Fuzzy’s Chris Toppin for a Scruffy the Cat cover, honoring the recently deceased Charlie Chesterman (the posthumous winner of the evening’s “Unsung Heroes” award). Ultimately, the evening was truly a success for the locals, and TNRC’s set was the highlight of the night.
Besides the Tuesday Night Record Club, nothing like funky solo guitar virtuoso Shun Ng busting out covers of MJ and Stevie Wonder. I’ll get to My Dick in a minute.
Backup Singers/Pinup-girl Hair/Matching Outfits
Or some combination therein, regardless of musical genre. New personal goal: own one part of an identical dress set. Happy to take those bowtie dresses off your hands, TNRC ladies…
Orchestra and Band instruments
Between Big D & The Kids Table, Moe Pope & Quills, Barrence Whitfield, and 11-piece Women of the World, I counted 1 Trombone, 2 Saxophones, 2 Violins, and a Flute. Women of the World also rocked a Euphonium, which may not be an orchestra/band instrument, but dammit, I’m counting that shit anyways.
About a third of the night’s acts featured some sort of live DJ as a part of their act – props to Soulelujah who closed the night spinning actual vinyl.
Getting off the stage and into the crowd
Because the stage just couldn’t hold the awesome. Or maybe because they got confused about what constituted the stage.
But seriously – why was the lighting so bad? Nearly all of the acts in the Esplanade Room were playing in a weird shadow that made it feel like you were in some sort of bizarre attic lair. Pro tip: a better lighting rig, and for god’s sake an air conditioner, would do wonders for this room.
Awkward Artist/Stage Match-ups
The labyrinth that is The Liberty Hotel makes it a little difficult to get up to the Esplanade room, so if they moved some of the bigger tickets to the downstairs it would’ve been less difficult to barrel through the Function Room. Considering Bearstronaut and Bad Rabbits are big enough to have played Boston Calling and won awards this year, Bearstronaut was beyond packed in the tiny Esplanade Room while Barrence Whitfield’s set looked a little lonely on the second floor, and it was impossible to permeate the Bad Rabbits dance party to get around from My Dick to Potty Mouth and Coyote Kolb. Also – My Dick, despite being rather silly, should’ve definitely been in the Liberty Ballroom – everybody wanted a piece of My Dick, and its audience was massive.
A band who does glorified karaoke by replacing every other word of famous songs with “my dick” never stops being funny. For the curious, their set included such classics as “My Dick” instead of “My Girl,” “Dancing in My Dick” instead of “Dancing in the Dark,” “Everybody Have Dick Tonight” instead of “Everybody Have Fun Tonight,” “Dicks of Gold” instead of “Fields of Gold” (personally I’d hoped for Fields of Dick instead, but they did at least sing about Dicks of Barley), my favorite – “Fast Dick” instead of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” (best line: My dick in a market as a checkout girl), and for our International friends, “Mi Pinga” instead of “La Bamba.” I’m really glad I got to see My Dick in the spotlight, since My Dick was quite the spectacle. It’s pretty easy to laugh at My Dick, and maybe My Dick’s performance was just mediocre, but I could’ve easily spent even more time with My Dick. Honestly? The whole room was pretty amped about My Dick too, chanting for My Dick to keep going, which in turn made My Dick go at it even harder, even though by the end My Dick was pretty hot and sweaty. All in all, My Dick had a blast, and so did everyone who got to experience My Dick in action. My Dick definitely gained a few fans after its performance, and I’m excited to spread the gospel of My Dick to the Boston music community.
Music Drives Us
Arguably the biggest winner from the night was for Music Drives Us, a local music non-profit that supplies grants for music programs for those in need. All proceeds from the event go toward the Music Drives Us Foundation, and while I have yet to see how much was raised for this year, last year they donated a walloping $65,000 to the charity. For all of the complaining people do about this event, ultimately the BMAs are fueling the local music scene with their charity work, and are helping the scene stay alive for generations to come. Now quit whining and go vote for Eddie Japan again – it’ll take a bit to reach 6 million votes by 2014.
Rock Artist of the Year: Deer Tick