There were awards dished out and, y’know, congrats to those that won something. But, for this writer at least, the Detroit Music Awards has very little to do with awards. It’s all about hanging out with good people and watching performances.
This year was absolutely no different. Myself, Matt Smith of Outrageous Cherry and Leah Diehl of Lightning Love, plus Leah’s Dad and friend Amy, planted ourselves at the bar and allowed proceedings to go on around us. Diehl was nominated for “Best Pop Songwriter” but she was beaten by Ty Stone, as were most people this year. No matter, she'll almost certainly pick up that award and more in years to come.
Special mention has to go to comedian Joe Nipote for having the balls to agree to host this year’s event despite not being funny at all. Like, not even for a second. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again, but Nipote couldn’t muster up a funny line all night and, when he sang a novelty country song, I wanted the ground to open and swallow me up for his sake. Painful. Also, props to Wolfman Mac, last year’s host, who presented an award without his werewolf costume on yet still couldn’t resist the temptation to let out a howl. For fuck’s sake man, have you nothing else?
Painful moments aside, some of the performances were fantastic, not least the Vandellas (minus Martha Reeves). A set of “Heatwave”, “Jimmy Mack” and “Dancing in the Street” couldn’t and didn’t fail to get the crowd bopping. Motown session man Dennis Coffey and new soul sensation Mayer Hawthorne made some sweet noises together, while show closers Insane Clown Posse were ludicrous, crass and gloriously fun. Love 'em or loathe them, the clowns know a show.
Questions have to be asked though:
As funny as the Polish Muslims can be, did they really deserve to win a “Distinguished Achievement” award? DISTINGUISHED? Jesus! They just add the words “polka” or “punchki” to popular songs. Fun, sure. But distinguished?
As somebody who goes to a lot of shows, where do Annabelle Road and Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas play all year round? New talent is new talent, but they’re not jamming at the Lager House or the Belmont much.
When the men’s bathroom was empty and there were 20 free urinals in a row, why did that dude have to stand right next to me? I may be a bit European, but not that Euro.
All said, this event gets a little better each year.