I was away on holiday with the family in Fiji last week - and it was lovely. Apart from splashing by the seaside and putting the occasional lap-top movie on for my little girl, Mia, in the late afternoon, I was in sunny solitary confinement when it came to all things entertainment. The only music I was listening to was kava-drinking guitar player Wame, who sang us his rousing and Nasally renditions of How Great Thou Art and Ain't No Sunshine When She Goes (yes that's how he sang it) at dinner most nights. Mia loved him and we bought his CD, Wames Rhythm (no apostrophe needed apparently, kind of like Fat Freddys Drop, I guess), before we came home.
So when we got back on Saturday I was keen to find out who won what at the New Zealand Music Awards - and while the winners were predictably predictable, what an amusing circus the fringe goings-on turned out to be. I tell ya, combined with Justin Bieber possibly being the father of a love child (surely he's not old enough to do that yet, is he?), Steve Williams' racist "joke" about Tiger, and Paul Henry being head-hunted by Australia (like Quade Cooper, they are welcome to him), it made for some mad and nutty reading after a relaxing week in the sun.
There were tweets being fired to and fro between musicians (Anika Moa calling Thom Powers of the Naked and Famous a "Norman" was best of all, although she later apologised), Brooke Fraser being branded boring (again) by some people, Colin the Top Model guy wearing a meat dress, which was, well, pretty lame actually and so 2010, and Tiki performing with the cops (which would have been fine if the cops, or dancers, or whatever they were, could actually dance).
Of the awards handed out, Shihad winning best rock album was an interesting one. Don't get me wrong, Shihad's IGNITE is great, but perhaps the best band didn't win on the night. And judging by their acceptance speech - where they praised the other two finalists, Beastwars and Cairo Knife Fight, whom they called "the future of music" in this country - you get the feeling Shihad would have been quite happy to hand it over to either of their rivals.
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And of the other, more scandalous awards' shenanigans, it was the Fraser backlash and the Naked and Famous' reactions that were most intriguing.
I have interviewed Fraser many times in the past, and while I'd rather listen to Cairo Knife Fight's The Violence of Action than Something in the Water, she is a lovely person and a damn fine musician and songwriter. So get off the girl's back. Having watched the replay of the awards on TV over the weekend, yes, her acceptance speeches were on the earnest side of bog-standard, but at least she said something, which is more than can be said for TNAF, who came across as awkward and hard to watch.
They should really practise in the mirror a bit because, given their musical talent, they are likely to win a few more accolades in their time and inept displays on stage at awards ceremonies will not endear them to the public.
Their problem is they are shy, still genuinely a little taken aback by their popularity, and they take their music seriously (possibly too seriously: imagine what will happen when - or if - they cut loose a bit more), which all manifests in a public demeanour that comes across as an unfortunate mix of bumbling and aloof.
In saying that, they were saved somewhat by the electronics whiz of the band, Aaron Short, who took the mic, played it straight, and thanked who he needed to thank when accepting one of their five gongs.
So leave it to him next time, Thom.