... I know the 2015 Juno's were a couple weeks ago now... but a couple things are still rollin' around in my brain.
Just to get it out in the open, I thought the televised show was decent... it was good wholesome entertainment... and once you connect the dots between the broadcaster and their target audience... I think they nailed it.
Lots of Mom's really liked it.
... but as far as the actual "awards" go... how does Tanya Tagaq's album Animism win a Polaris Prize, win a Juno for Aboriginal Album of the year, but left off the list for Album Of The Year???
I've heard it, so have many bloggers and music critics... and actual music fans... it's pretty frickin' good! She just got praise for her performance at SXSW too!
I'm not sure if it's sales based or what... it could be... probably is... anyway... *cough*politics*cough*
Who made the list for album of the year?
In a time when it's so easy to showcase great upcoming and/or relevant talent... Leonard Cohen, and host's band Hedley could've been left off the list. Even though I'm not a hater of Nickelback, they could've given up their spot on the list too... they don't need the press... they're doing ok.
Not that they showed up anyway.
Speaking of... this is another thing that stood out... in a bad way. At the end of the broadcast (host) Jacob Hoggard, sang a quick jab towards Nickelback...
"Thank you Nickelback wasn't here."
The audience kinda laughed it off as "wow... Jacob just said that!?"
Yeah, it's in the script... we're still expecting a guy in his mid 30's who's paid to act like a late-teen to "speak his mind" and "keep the censors on their toes".
... yeah I'm going "quotes" crazy today... gonna switch to italics for a bit.
... but seriously, it's a little ironic since Hoggard is known by Mom's for doing really good on a TV/karaoke show, where he sang other peoples hit songs, eventually fronting a band most likely performing songs still written by other people... decides to take a jab at a band who has quite a few hit songs under their belt and whose frontman has written quite a few hit songs for other artists, that is still selling out arenas and playing all over the world...
... maybe they're too busy to attend the award show you've been asked to host because broadcasters options were most likely extremely limited.
... again... not that Jacob did a bad job of hosting.
The thing is... the sad thing is... as far as rock (and arguably music industry in general) goes, Nickelback are A-List.
A-List doesn't go to the Junos unless they have a really good reason.
Who else wasn't in attendance? Michael Buble, Justin Bieber, Arcade Fire (pretty sure), Drake... even if you don't like any of them, they bring a level of credibility because of their current/relevant success on an international level.
Think about it... Drake hosted the 2014 ESPY Awards... which is sports... but he can't be bothered to go back to the bottom and attend the Juno's.
He'll lend his name and profile to the Toronto Raptors... a team originally mocked by NBA fans, associating their purple jerseys to Barney The Dinosaur... still cooler than attending the Junos.
Last thing... I feel the Juno's are in this awkward gray area of what it wants to be... and what it should or can be.
There's lots of great talent in Canada... but it's really hard for them to find the support financially. It's on a crutches most of the time, propped up with government loans and grants... I'll get into that another time... but either make the Juno Awards simply a celebration of Canadian music (which it leans heavily towards with how unapologetically Canadian it is, probably excluding a lot of non-Canadians who may be in attendance), and stop trying to compete with the Grammy's...
... or stop talking about Canada/being Canadian every 2 minutes (30 seconds American), drop the cash, and make it an event the A-List wants to attend. Make it the ultimate PR stop for those artists... like the Much Music Video Awards/MMVA's.
Remember that? The music station that doesn't play music videos anymore... not that anybody would see them since nobody has cable... then again the kids don't look to cable TV to hear new music anyway...
Fear of being left out of something cool is a big deal for any artist who cares about their image... and they all care about their image. I'd be surprised if anybody involved has reached out and asked them why they don't attend.
Personally, I'd like to see us drop the "Canadian Grammy". We can't compete with their format plus they already do it pretty well.
I think it'd be so much better if it was a 2-3hr long show, showcasing the talent and accomplishments from Canadian artists, east coast to west coast, as many genres and cultures as we can manage to fit... focusing on performances of nominees and winners. Artists who are surviving and growing internationally... not just putting their hometown, but country on the map.
Lot's of Mom's really liked the show... but I doubt any of them knew who The Weeknd was... one of the biggest names there. Now they know... and this could've been the case for so many other winners and nominees.
Everyone talks about wanting to keep it real... hear "real musicians" and "real singers"... real talent.
It'd be nice if the Juno's dared to be different... hell... Juno's and Grammy's are made up things anyway! Considering which direction the cable companies are going, it's just a matter of time until the cool kids get the idea to do their own award show and broadcast it on YouTube. The gamers did it... not that they're cool though.
Yup... so I went and saw Helmet again. If you've been following along at all, you'll know I missed most of the show I went to see in Philadelphia... a trip loosely planned before the Toronto date opened up.
When I heard it was at Lee's Palace (1/4 the size of the place in Philly).... $25 to see a band you grew up on playing a small club... yes please!
I'll try to keep this short... I saw Trail Of Dead last year doing a similar tour... playing one of their "classic" (fan favorite) albums front to back. I meant to write about it... so good... for fans and the bands.
People can say albums are dead... which I agree in some respects... but I feel like the problem is not enough thought went into full albums as full albums for a while.
My generation was probably one of the last to actually listen to an album start to finish. Why? Partly because we were lazy... but I think a big factor was how much crap you needed to carry if you wanted to listen to music on the go... we just listened to what was our walkman or discman.
... think about that for a second. How many tapes or CD's did you want to carry? You just listened to the same album(s), (maybe 2-3) on repeat until you got sick of it... then swapped it out.
Eventually we started making mix tapes/CD's but for the majority, you happily listened to what was in the player... but then that changed in my teens (late 90's)... we could not only skip to the songs we wanted to hear... we could download them... randomly... then the legendary iPod came about...
I'm a little off topic I know... but it ties into these types of tours.
Even though everyone knew what song was coming up next, everyone was into it. These are tours for core fans. We don't always need hits... we wanted to share the experience of hearing a "classic" (to us) album performed live.
I'm sure the band is a little sick of playing it now but they find ways to have fun with it. They find ways to recreate the tones and production on the album, and present it to the audience.
... and financially, every ticket sold is probably the equivalent of an album sold.
Helmet still played a bunch of "other hits" in a second set but the applause after they played Sam Hell (final song on Betty) was probably a big part of what keeps bands like them going.
Appreciation from the fans... true appreciation... everyone on the same side... celebrating an album that's now 20 years old.
I care a lot about the tunes going on an album or EP (and their order) for this reason. The band should want to play them all live... and they should all work live, as the band, in it's purest/rawest form.
Albums aren't dead... they just got screwed up for a while... too much filler around what people were trying to sell. If you want people to listen to more of your music, you have to give them more music worth listening to. Simple.
I encourage bands to go out and try playing their EP's and albums start to finish before recording... if anything it'll help them realize how much quality material it takes to fill up 45 minutes... and how the audience feels about the song selection.
... you'll spend less time recording too... I guarantee it!
So this post hasn't really been much about Helmet now that I think about it... they were entertaining though... hard to find a band with 20+ years experience playing all over the world who isn't.
Just in case any bands out there still haven't got the message... the show starts the minute you arrive and doesn't end until you pull away from the venue. How you treat the venue staff before the show, and how you treat the fans after the show.
A fair amount had left before the very end... 2 hrs of Helmet is a lot of Helmet... that and maybe the crowd was a little older... lots of glasses, grey hair, bald spots, and mid-life guts in attendance... but just like in Philly, the show ended with Page Hamilton, 54 years old, leaning over the edge of the stage to shake hands with those still upfront... before crouching down for pictures and to chat.
Who knows how long he stays after the show talking to fans... I doubt it's simply an ego boost... he's a smart dude... and you can tell by the way he carries himself on stage he's a humble dude... probably knows there'll be a day when he's forced to stop...
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!