Where to even start… what an amazing night at The Phoenix! From the first note of the first band, I was all in. Yeah, there were awards, and they were cool, very cool but the performances, they were incredible!
First on the stage was Modern Space, they were up for the New Artist award and I’m not sure anyone in the audience would have thought this band could lose. They were great! Amazing energy, fun musical hooks, technically tight and super fun to watch.
And then it was time for the first award, New Artist! Vying for the win were Attica Riots, Banners, The Dirty Nil and Modern Space. And the winner was… Banners!
Gracious and humble, Banners’ Michael Nelson accepted the award with a big smile on his face and if that isn’t the best way to start off an evening, and get an artist hyped for their performance, I don’t know what is. And yes, that is a #HotDogMel making an appearance beside Michael. Turns out Mel had a baby last week and this was her first time missing the award show, so her coworkers wanted to make sure that Mel was representing. Nice job guys!
I loved the way the show moved, great organization, quick changes between, great banter from the on-air personalities and Molson Canadian girls throwing t-shirts at the crowd whenever they got a chance.
Next, we were treated to a performance by Darcys. It was a fun, solid set which left us pumped for the next band but also looking forward to their next Toronto show, WayHome For The Holidays, featuring Darcys & Guests on November 23rd.
And then it was on to the next award, Favourite New Song! And what a tough category, nominated for the award were Wintersleep – Amerika, Arkells – Private School, July Talk – Push + Pull, Banners – Shine A Light and The Strumbellas – Spirits. And the winner was… July Talk for Push + Pull, sadly for us they were not on hand to accept their award but they’ll be in town October 28th and 29th at The Danforth Music Hall.
The third act of the night was Banners. Dressed all in white with a win under his belt he put on a great set and charmed us all.
The next award was for Favourite Sugar Beach Session, now if you’ve never seen a Sugar Beach Session, you should! They’re amazing, small, intimate and like nothing else. Nominees in this category were Arkells, Darcys, July Talk, The Strumbellas, USS, and Wintersleep. And the award went to… Arkells!!! I was thrilled, this was definitely one of my favourites. The boys were not there but they did send a video to say funny stuff and thank you.
Fourth on the bill, Finger Eleven and my only question was, how had I never seen this band live before? Scott Anderson looked like he was having the time of his life and the rest of the band were 100% invested. Watching James Black and Rick Jackett kill it on guitar was amazing. We caught up with these guys during the CCMA Music Week when we talked with them about their side project, Blackie Jackett Jr. My favourite moment was the mashup of Paralyzer with Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two, complete with full audience sing along. It was spectacular.
The final award was for Favourite New Record and the nominees were… Billy Talent – Afraid of Heights, Wintersleep – The Great Detachment, City and Colour – If I Should Go Before You Go, The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem, and The Zolas – Swooner. Now with no disrespect to any of the other nominees, I really didn’t think anyone could beat The Tragically Hip but the winner of this award was Billy Talent – The Great Detachment, nicely done boys! Billy Talent are out on an International tour and were not there to receive their award.
Next, in a surprise move, Josie Dye took a few moments to talk about The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie. She’s a fan and a friend and her words were eloquent and well-received. Earlier in the year, 102.1 the Edge had asked fans to come in and share their thoughts with Gord and the rest of the band. They had put together an amazing print which they presented to Sam Roberts, who will be passing it on to the band. I’m sure they’ll be touched.
And then it was on to our headliner, Sam Roberts Band! With a mixture of a little old and a little new, the Montreal band brought positive energy and ridiculous musical talent to the stage. It was a privilege to see them in such a small venue.
A quick thank you to the Edge for inviting us, it was an amazing evening and an apology to all of the drummers at the show, who never made it into a single shot (except for the one above). I’m sorry!