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2004's Music Award Season

Author: Melanie Selby

At the bNets were NZM's website manager Renee Jones with 95bFM's Phil Armstrong.

Above: Tom Clark of the Fanatics.

Below: Native Tongue's Hannah Cornwell with Arch Hill's Ben Howe

Held again at the Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, on September 10, the bNet Awards didn't quite cross the bridge this year. Perhaps it was the sound system - or maybe the absence of complementary alcohol.

Begun in 1998, the bNets originated as a (then much needed) alternative to the RIANZ industry awards, reinforcing the commitment of the six bNet stations to breaking and developing new talent by recognising those artists not yet acknowledged in the mainstream.

NZ music's 'man of the year' Scribe took out Best Hip Hop Release for 'The Crusader', Best NZ Remix for Not Many - the Remix and the Outstanding Achievement Award. The alternative is suddenly looking decidedly mainstream.

Above: Christchurh Tui winners Hayley Westenra and Scribe. Below: Fast Crew on stage.

Minuit's performance involved rope, corsets and a unicycle.

The bNet Awards are also voted for by the public (all except the Outstanding Achievement Award which are voted by the bNet collective). This year the bNet voting public are into Auckland rockers The Mint Chicks (who took awards for Best Rock Release with EP 'Octogon Octogon Octogon' and Best Song for Post No Bills), and electronic act Concord Dawn (whose album 'Uprising' won Best Electronic Release and Best Album).

The Misfits of Science turned more heads with Mark Trethewey and Shane Mason's video for Fools Love and won the Best Video category. Newcomers The Checks were voted this year's Most Promising New Act, Open Souls took home Best Unreleased Song for In Our Hands, and Fat Freddy's Drop won the vote for Best Live Act.

Shapeshifter's Been Missin' was the most played track across the bNet airwaves and Sola Rosa took the prize for Best Downbeat Release for 'Haunted Outtakes'. The Black Seeds had the Best Pop Release with 'On The Sun' and the hardworking Blink won Best Compilation for his 'A Low Hum'.

Deja Voodoo opened the awards with a typically entertaining set followed by performances by Minuit, The Bleeders, Frontline and Breakin Wreckwordz. The highlight of the evening was a damn cool performance by The Fanatics. Unfortunately the sound quality hindered the performances.

By the time the New Zealand Music Awards rolled around I was a pro. In outfit number three I made my way to Auckland's Aotea Centre where I must admit- I wasn't expecting the fanfare of screaming teenage girls (apparently there for NZ Idol runner-up Michael Murphy), and grand entrances via limos and other interesting modes of transport that was occurring.

Despite the heavy corporate sponsor presence, the evening belonged to Scribe who, after receiving award number seven, had thanked so many people that he was only left with his neighbour and primary school teacher to pay tribute to. Hailing from Christchurch I did appreciate the big ups to Linwood, Aranui and Canterbury. The Tuis Scribe won were:

Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Male Solo Artist, Songwriter of the Year (with P-Money, Con Psy and Mareko for Not Many - the Remix), L&P Best Urban/Hip Hop Album, Best Music Video (with Chris Graham) and People's Choice Award. Phew.

With most categories voted by an 'academy' of a hundred or so industry-associated players, longtime alternative fave Shayne Carter took away the Best Group and Best Rock Album with his Dimmer project. Brooke Fraser won Tuis for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Female Solo Artist while Hayley Westenra had the Highest Selling NZ Album with 'Pure' and also won the International Achievement award.

Goldenhorse were clearly surprised to win Airplay Record of the Year for Maybe Tomorrow, lead singer Kirsten Morrelle admitting she was "...not prepared for this because we never bloody win anything".

In a poignant moment during the celebrations Shaun Joyce (formerly Director of Marketing and Buying for Sounds Music) posthumously received the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his tribute RIANZ president Michael Glading described Shaun as a person who championed artists, saying many owed their music triumphs in New Zealand to him.

The awards ceremony provided three hours of quality entertainment including a fantastic theatrical performance from Minuit involving a uni cyclist and rope! Other stand out performances came from Fast Crew, and Hayley Westenra singing with the Misfits of Science. Elemeno P's Dave Gibson singing Nirvana with a back-up big band was a treat.

While C4's Jacqui Brown and Mikee Havoc proved to be perfect hosts, I was perplexed as to why an assortment of gossip magazine and sporting celebrities were presenting awards. Perhaps that's the remaining difference between mainstream and alternative - that and sponsorship levels.

Congratulations to everyone who won an award and to those who were beaten finalists. For full lists of results check out our news section.

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