The Sheepdogs win everything, Treble Charger is inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Rich Aucoin turns the show into Grade 5 gym class.
The 12th annual SiriusXM Indies took place Saturday night, ending the festival of local musical talent that is Canadian Music Week. The awards show was held in the large Canadian (that’s what it’s called) room, at the hub of CMW, The Royal York Hotel. My photog colleague and I sat down at a table in the media room and had a quick look around. A woman with faded pink highlights and a striped blazer glared at us, and said she would need the entirety of the table very shortly. Meet the drummer of Pack A.D., one half of the hardcore rock duo that was set to perform later on in the eve. We quickly obliged and quietly snacked on mini Aero bars and Smarties until the show started.
A mix of bands and industry people, were spread evenly throughout the room, glancing around to see who’s who. It was hard to point out who was who, as most of the nominees in the room were modestly styled, mild-mannered and keeping to their own group – aka Canadian. And then The Sheepdogs walked in. Long-hair, skinny flared jeans and guitars slung over their backs, they sauntered in and sat down at the table behind us. I`d heard about the hype, like everyone else, when they made headlines as the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone magazine last August. But to see them walk into a room was like a refreshing time trip back to the 70’s. No antics or gimmicks, just raw talent and rock and roll swagger.
Some subtle gawking and a Diet Coke later, I took my place in the media pit at the side of the main stage, watching Pavlo, a four-piece Mediterranean band open the show, with a lively guitar and percussion performance. They sounded like an older version of The Gypsy Kings, so it was good to see host Jeff Leake, director of music programming of Sirius XM radio, take the side stage shortly afterwards.
The aforementioned female duo, Pack A.D. was next up for the second performance of the night and truly brought the hard rock fix with strong drums, electric guitar and dark vocals that reminded me of the awesome punk band The Distillers. “Haunt You” was a crowd favourite, and the vid is pretty cool, too. Two members from Walk of The Earth – that band that covered Gotye`s Somebody That I Used To Know ala a viral YouTube video – appropriately presented Favourite Video of The Year and awarded it to Mariana`s Trench for Haven`t Had Enough.
Young Empires were up next, performing two songs from their latest album, Wake All My Youth. The lead singer sounded a bit like The Cure’s Robert Smith, with modern techno beats accompanying the lead singer’s high-pitched drawl.
Brendan Canning from Broken Social Scene took the side stage afterwards with an amazing, spacey introduction for Treble Charger, that he clearly free-styled while up there. The guys from Treble Charger were the guests of honour that night, as they were inducted into the CMW Hall of Fame. They reunited to perform fan favourite American Psycho (in Converse!) which sounded great, as everyone got a healthy dose of nostalgic pop rock for the evening.
Dan Mangan was up next, who was obviously the unofficial Indies poster boy, as the crowd turned Bieber-fan-crazy as he performed a few tracks off his folky album. He was also the surprise guest at the Arts and Crafts CMW showcase a few days earlier.
I personally thought I was most looking forward to Passion Pit’s performance, until, again I was slightly hypnotized by The Sheepdogs. They came on and performed I Don’t Know and it was over for me. Who Do You Belong To was up next and I was so into it, I forgot to tweet about how much I was into it. Paul Rogers was a surprise guest, who came out to perform a song with the band and later the infamous “Alright Now”, which put a song to the rock star’s face, if anyone in the crowd didn’t know who the eff Rogers was.
Rich Aucoin took the stage next, opening his performance with a large video montage displaying various inspirational messages. Think Baz Lurhman’s “Sunscreen” video with a CMW/SXSW twist. I’d never heard of Rich Aucoin before The Indies, so was kind of blown away by his unique stage presence. Rich constantly addressed the crowd with positive shouts, while mixing random viral YouTube clips with hard, upbeat techno sounds. He crowd-surfed, managed three outfit changes, shot confetti into the audience and encouraged the crowd to “get out of their heads”. Halfway through his set, he threw a large multi-coloured Grade-5-gym-class parachute into the audience and instructed everyone to get under it while he did the same to finish his performance. There were some critics in the crowd, but I personally admired his successful effort at interacting with his fans and making the show an unforgettable experience.
Boston-based Passion Pit closed the show with an energetic set including hits Sleepyhead and Little Secrets. Graham Wright from Tokyo Police Club was on keys for the evening, giving them the honorary Canadian stamp of approval to play at The Indies.
The show was a perfect close to an amazing week of fresh Canadian music, all yours to love and discover! See ya next year.
See below for a full list of award winners.
Favorite Pop Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Jazz Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Blues Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Folk/Roots Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Country Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Children’s Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite World Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Video of the Year
Marianas Trench - Haven’t Had Enough
Favorite Rock Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Single of the Year
The Sheepdogs - I Don’t Know
Favorite International Group of the Year
Favorite International Solo Artist of the Year
Favorite International Breakthrough Artist or Group of the Year
Young The Giant
Favorite International Single of the Year
AWOLNATION - Sail
Favorite International Album of the Year
Adele - 21
Favorite International Video of the Year
Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra)
Favorite Solo Artist of the Year
Hall of Fame Inductees
Favorite Francophone Artist or Group of the Year
Coeur De Pirate
Favorite Electronic Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Urban Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Alternative Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Punk/Hardcore Artist or Group of the Year
Favorite Metal Artist or Group of the Year
Protest The Hero
Favorite Live Artist/Group of the Year
Group of the Year
SiriusXM Emerging Artist of the Year
Favorite Album of the Year
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life