from Flagpole Magazine
Than PuppiesThe 2004 Flagpole
Athens Music Awards Show Reigns Supreme
it's as hot and humid out as it was on the night of Thursday, June 17,
there's absolutely no reason to get all pretty to go out on the town.
Absolutely no reason, that is, except for the Flagpole Athens Music
Awards, the annual event that signifies the official beginning to AthFest's
weekend-long musical bonanza.
its sixth year, the show provides audiences a chance to check out several
local bands, and for the first year featured the Athens Film Foundation's
screening of and awards for local music videos. The music awards are
chosen entirely by Flagpole readers in a month-long poll leading up
to the show, with the top three vote recipients listed as finalists.
Chambers opened the show, which took place at the historic Morton Theatre.
Backed by his band GOAT, Chambers performed two songs from his Southern
gothic repertoire. His banjo twang and whiskey-soaked gravel voice filled
the theater, and Goat's percussionist Jim Wilson was a crowd favorite;
he beat upon his "instrument" - hubcaps and other metal objects
attached to a small step-ladder - with an infectious, enthusiastic stomp.
a brief introduction from Flagpole bigwigs, Solponticello Records headman,
local musician and Flagpole contributor Erik Hinds presented the first
set of awards. The Artie Ball Swing Band's frontman James Cook made
a brief dash to the stage to accept the award for Jazz/Swing band. Violinist
Andrej Kurti, of the classical duo Viktor & Andrej, accepted the
award for Chamber Music. The always-gracious Kurti thanked his competitors
in the category (Audition With Max Reinhardt and the Georgia Guitar
Quartet) before announcing he's accepted a professorship in Louisiana
and will soon leave Athens. Garbage Island-s Craig Lieske accepted the
award for Experimental Music, and a representative for Bain Mattox accepted
the award for Rock Band and explained the band is currently touring.
boys of the Park Bench Trio - who would later on in the evening return
to stage to accept the Blues Band award - performed two of their Stones-inspired,
bluesy heavy rock tunes, after which Clay Leverett (Lona, The Chasers,
Now It's Overhead) made his way out to present a new batch.
took the Jam/Improv win; the band, which won the 2003 award for Cover
Band, has made inroads into the local jam scene this past year. Members
of the group delivered a forceful speech speaking to their love for
the local scene, and the benefit of being able to perform so frequently
with local acts. The Cover Band award recipients for 2004, Just These
Dudes, were unavailable to accept their award in person as they were
performing three blocks away at Wild Wing Cafe, where the band has just
set up a lucrative every-Thursday-this-summer gig.
soon-to-be-expat Chris Cates and his band Parakeet Nelson edged out
Ori and Entropy in the close R&B/Soul/Funk category. The first half
of the night's show wrapped with the Athens Film Foundation's presentation
of "Ratbot"; The audience at the prior night's music video
festival held at the 40 Watt voted, and the Audience Choice Award went
to the video's directors Brian Smith, Paul Nunn and Peter Keane.
a brief intermission, the entire Morton Theatre sat silent, captivated
by the trapeze performance by Canopy Studio's aerialists, who doubled
as the evening's stage assistants. The intricate, dizzying performance
of the piece "Palindrome" saw Andrea Fores and Nicole Mermans
intertwined, clad in pink, spinning on an suspended metal ring.
Noon and Lily Wolfe, the snappily-dressed duo known easily as Parker
& Lily, presented the first set of awards of the show's second half.
Dan Geller and Amy Dykes of the electronic disco-pop act I Am The World
Trade Center accepted the award for DJ/Electronic. (This year's award,
designed as in years past by local artist Pattiy Torno, should make
a fine addition to the duo's growing collection.) Bain Mattox took the
Singer/Songwriter award in absentia again, and the guys from Guff won
the award for Punk Band.
Film Foundation - and the apish 8-Track Gorilla - presented the judges'
choice for best local music video - Josh Borger and Stewart McAlpine's
direction for the Maserati song "Closer Than You Know How"
showed that the shadow of local filmmaker Jim Herbert stretches long;
the video took his use of multiple projections as a starting point for
its abstract visuals.
duo Fairmount Fair performed a brief song unhampered by distance - as
MC Fluff-N-Stuff is currently on tour with Elf Power in Spain, his image
and sounds appeared projected on a video screen with which MC Great
Games interacted. After Fairmount Fair's performance, David Zwart, the
Alpine frontman of Daisy and owner of Clocked, presented the next round
of awards. As Ishues wasn't on hand to accept his award for Hip Hop/Rap
(he's currently on the road with rapper KRS-One), local Dreaded Mindz
member Life appeared in his place. The band Modern Skirts (formerly
known as F.F.S.) won the Pop award, and perennial Athens favorites Drive-By
Truckers nabbed the Country/Americana/Roots Rock award, largely on the
merit of the recent Decoration Day. Ron Lewis, whose samurai-themed
artwork graced the cover of Ishues' album Reality Flow, took the award
for Favorite Album Cover Art.
night's final full performance came from garage pop act Murder Beach.
Though hampered by some iffy vocal mics on the band's first song, the
quick tempo and bubbly energy of the group's songs made up for that
night wrapped with award presentations from Timi Conley, Aqualove's
funky frontman. Dressed in a shimmery, sequined leotard, oversized sunglasses
and plush monster slippers, Conley handed the Best Up and Coming award
to Modern Skirts. Upon winning Strongest Supporter of the Music Scene
for the second year in a row, WUOG 90.5 FM staffers gathered on-stage
en masse while General Manager Allison Taffel gave words of tribute
to Athens music. Parakeet Nelson's Risky Biscuits album beat out tough
competition (scene favorites Drive-By Truckers and Ishues) for Album
of the Year - it was a nice moment for Cates, who's about to move to
Germany. The Truckers came back in force, though, with the award for
Band/Performer of the Year, and with another album slated for a fall
release, the band seems unstoppable.
the crowd stood to leave, Conley invited all award winners up on stage
and performed a glammed-out rendition of "We Are The Champions."
People hugged, people shook hands, people high-fived, people sung along.
It was a very "Saturday Night Live" wrap to the evening's
festivities, and the anticipation for next year was front and center
as the house music provided by the Dan Nettles Band escorted everyone
back into the open air, and back into another weekend of AthFest events.
Flagpole Athens Music Award Winners
- Artie Ball Swing Band
- Viktor & Andrej
- Garbage Island
- Bain Mattox
Band - Just These Dudes
- Parakeet Nelson
- Packway Handle Band
- I Am The World Trade Center
- Park Bench Trio
- Bain Mattox
Hop/Rap - Ishues
- Modern Skirts
Rock - Drive-By Truckers
Album Cover Art - Ron Lewis for Ishues- Reality Flow
Up and Coming - Modern Skirts
Supporter of the Music Scene - WUOG 90.5 FM
of the Year - Risky Biscuits, Parakeet Nelson
of the Year - Drive-By Truckers