Live review: The Queensland Music Awards – The Powerhouse, Brisbane – 30/3/15

blank realm

Blank Realm

THE talent-rich sunshine state celebrated another fantastic year of music and creativity at the Queensland Music Awards at Brisbane Powerhouse in New Farm last night, with big wins for Violent Soho, Sahara Beck, Bobby Alu, The Amity Affliction and Airling.

Hosted by six-time veteran Sarah Howells of triple j and the wonderfully hilarious Fred Leone of Rival MC and Yarwah fame, the event – moved from its normal September slot to avoid clashing with BIGSOUND – proved to be another fine showcase of the outstanding range of quality music coming out of Queensland in recent months.

While Violent Soho bagged album of the year for Hungry Ghost, freakishly-talented teenager Sahara Beck deservedly grabbed the gong for most popular female, and a laidback Bobby Alu picked up the most popular male award, leaving last year’s winner Jeremy Neale empty-handed.

The Amity Affliction accepted their award for most popular group with a video message from somewhere on tour in the northern hemisphere, while Airling not only performed her excellent track ‘Wasted Pilots’, but also snagged the pop award for the same song.

In an unfortunate yet sweet set of circumstances, The Grates’ pair Patience Hodgson and John Patterson were unable to accept their award in the rock category as they had to put their infant child to bed, while The Vernons not only won the regional gong for ‘To The Sky’, but also the hearts of a packed room with an acceptance speech including the words “My parents will be filthy they didn’t come tonight.”



The excellent The Medics deservedly picked up an award in the Indigenous category for their track ‘Wake Up’, with singer Kahl Wallis giving thanks in poetry form, while country rock ‘n’ rollers Halfway nabbed gongs in the country category and for song of the year for ‘Dulcify’.

With live performances from Yarwah, Halfway, Sahara Beck, MKO, Airling, Katie Noonan + cln, Blank Realm (who were, by far, the outstanding live performers of the evening) and We All Want To, the Queensland Music Awards for 2015 proved to be another celebration of everything that’s great about music in the state, with every nominee deserving of being a winner.

A special mention has to go to host Fred Leone, who not only performed with his excellent band Yarwah and helped introduce the #notON campaign aimed at stamping out violence against women, but was a constant source of hilarity throughout.

“I’m getting on towards middle age for a black fella,” he said, at one stage, to awkward laughter. “I’m 36 and we die around 50.” At another point he had the room in stitches while, after listening to Sarah Howells talk about and thank her dressmaker for a bit longer than was perhaps necessary, he uttered the immortal words “And I would like to thank Trade Secret at Chermside for these pants – $30.” What a dude.

Full list of winners:

Song Title: ‘Days Of Doom’
Writers: Saskia van Iperen, Alistair Marsden

Song Title: ‘Wasted Pilots’
Writers: Hannah Shepherd, Tom Iansek, Graham Ritchie

The Grates
Song Title: ‘Holiday Home’
Writers: Patience Hodgson, John Patterson

Leanne Tennant
Song Title: ‘Bearing The Crown’
Writers: Leanne Tennant

Song Title: ‘Dulcify’
Writers: John Busby, Chris Dale, Ben Johnson, Elwin Hawtin, Luke Peacock, John Willsteed

Song Title: ‘None the Wiser’
Writers: Joel Alexander, Terry Cassels, Paul Watson, Paul Donehue, Jeremie Nagabbo, Mikael Strand, Nick Torpy, Billie Weston

Quintessential Doll
Song Title: ‘Live Like I’m Dying’
Writers: Steph Linsdell

Song Title: ‘Enfants du Chemin’ (Children of the Road)
Writers: Pauline Maudy, Greta Kelly, Jordan Stamos, John Robertson, Stephen Cuttriss, Chloe Ann Williamson

Song Title: ‘Closing Time’
Writers: Kylie Southwell

Michelle Xen
Song Title: ‘Short Term Plan’
Writers: Michelle Oxenham

Guards of May
Song Title: ‘Numbers’
Writers: James Harden, Keita Neralic, Richie Harvey, Damian Saloman, Levi Russell

The Kangagang
Song Title: ‘Hungry Crocodile Chomp’
Writers: Carolyn Simpson

The Kite String Tangle
Song Title: ‘Arcadia’
Writers: Daniel M Harley

The Medics
Song Title: ‘Wake Up’
Writers: Kahl Wallace, Jhindu Lawrie, Andrew Thomson, Charles Thomas

The Vernons
Song Title: ‘To The Sky’
Writers: James K Nikiforides, Jonathan K Nyst

Sahara Beck

Bobby Alu

The Amity Affliction

Song Title: ‘Dulcify’
Writers: John Busby, Chris Dale, Ben Johnson, Elwin Hawtin, Luke Peacock, John Willsteed

Violent Soho
Album: Hungry Ghost

For The AU Review

Live review: Queensland Music Awards – The Tivoli, Brisbane – 13/8/13


There are two headlines you will already have read concerning the 2013 Queensland Music Awards: the first is that the night ‘belonged’ to Best Female award winner Emma Louise, and the second that Ball Park Music are still pretty damn good. Both these things are at least partly true, but a large percentage of the following also happened.

My own evening starts with an exasperatingly winding taxi tour of the Valley, as a ludicrously dated so-called community festival is taking place at the RNA Showgrounds and there are road closures all over the joint. Upon arrival at the Tivoli, it seems that most of the rest of the guests must also be having confused taxi-driver syndrome, as only around a third of the seats are taken. Ah well – on with the show.

First up is Zimbabwean-Australian Blaq Carrie; the young rapper performing her debut single ‘Let There Be Hope’. It’s a pretty good start, but not as good as Thelma Plum; who looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth with her sweetly shuffling introduction and cute ankle socks, and while a few rounds of “fuck-yous” in her song ‘Dollar’ may be amusing or mildly shocking to some, it’s really no big fucking deal.

It’s around this point that it becomes apparent that there’s a fairly large amount of people who have arrived at the Tivoli this evening with the aim of standing at the back in their probably-expensive-yet-tacky-looking frocks/suits and chattering amongst themselves like a bunch of schoolchildren who need delivered instantly back to an era where corporal punishment was de rigeuer – these clowns simply need several wheel braces to the spinal column. What the fuck is the point in coming to an awards ceremony and ignoring the vast majority of the evening’s proceedings, while rudely and loudly babbling shit to each other during all the important parts? If you’ve paid big money and a band is putting in a dismal performance and turning you off, I get it – vent your dissatisfaction with all the bland self-important fury your tranquillised-to-the-eyeballs hedge fund manager parents bequeathed you, but for fuck’s sake shut your useless traps when Mick Hadley’s widow is presenting a video tribute to him and accepting his Lifetime Achievement award on his behalf. Makes sense when you think about it, wouldn’t you say? Dickheads.

Meanwhile, Pigeon put in a typically fantastic performance that has host Sarah Howells marvelling at their ability to get stupidly sweaty in the space of a couple of songs (they are surely one of Brisbane’s best live acts right now), and Seja Vogel follows with another sweet burst of tuneage from her seriously synth-heavy new album All Our Wires.

Now, there’s another sticking point right here. Let me start by saying The Trouble With Templeton are a fine band and their debut record Rookie is an excellent and worthy piece of work; I highly recommend adding it to your collection and songwriter Thomas Calder and his band deserve awards and recognition in spades. However, when Q Music give them the Rock award, then allow Violent Soho to put in the best rock live performance of the evening by far (and I include The Trouble With Templeton in that), we have a rather disconcerting, head-scratching moment. But, what the hell; most of the audience aren’t paying attention anyway. Did I mention those fuckheads up the back?

Violent Soho

Violent Soho

Country Award winner Harmony James then puts in an entertaining short performance, showcasing that fine country vocal twang she’s got going on, and then another highlight flits in and out of tonight’s proceedings: a trio of new songs from The Jungle Giants, with Cesira Aitken putting in the axe-wielding performance of the evening with a series of quick-fingered, Fender-based riffs – beautiful.

The Jungle Giants

The Jungle Giants

After an epic giant-slaying of David and Goliath proportions that sees Jeremy Neale gloriously beat Bernard Fanning to the coveted crown of Best Male, it’s time for The Trouble With Templeton to show why they are considered to be such a strong new force on the Brisbane music scene. Their song ‘You Are New’ is particularly great addition to the evening’s entertainment, and after another win for Emma Louise and a by-now fairly hammered Ball Park Music, it’s time for Brisbane’s only (?) Afro-Cuban salsa group Chukale to play to a by-now practically empty Tivoli.

All in all, it was a great evening and very important part of the Queensland musical calendar; one in which the bands and artists we witnessed showed what a high standard of music is being made in the Sunshine State. All the winners were worthy and live performances were across-the-board outstanding. Now, I’m off to find a wheel brace…

The Trouble With Templeton

The Trouble With Templeton