The Polaris Music Prize is a yearly award given to a Canadian artist for best album, as decided by a group of music journalists and broadcasters. The prize includes a cash award of $30,000, and this year it was given to Feist for her album Metals. This drives me crazy.
Even if Feist’s album wasn’t terrifically boring (it is), she has to be the artist, out all the people nominated, who needs money and publicity the least. Well, okay, Drake was also nominated, but Take Care is really great. So is Japandroid’s album Celebration Rock, which is like a stiff drink and all of the excitement and angst of being young distilled into musical form. Heck, I’d even prefer it if a band called Cold Specks had won, and I know nothing about them.
The Polaris Music Prize provides the opportunity to support a promising young artist so that they can maybe get a shot at paying their rent, and this year the award was wasted. What’s the purpose of arts awards ceremonies, anyway?
Hamilton’s own version of music awards, the appropriately-named Hamilton Music Awards, happened last Sunday, Nov. 18. When I first heard about it, I thought what you’re probably thinking now: “So what?” Well, I’ll tell you what. The Hamilton Music Awards are our antidote to the out-of-touch Polaris Music Prize.
The Hamilton Music Awards don’t come with a $30,000 prize, but they do support great local bands that are playing really close to you, this week, probably for five bucks. One of those great local bands, the Dirty Nil, won punk recording of the year for their passionately catchy single “Little Metal Baby Fists.”
“Mickey, the singer of the band Forgotten Rebels, was announcing the winner,” said Kyle Fisher, the Dirty Nil’s drummer. “But when he went to go say it he would cough, and he did it like three times, for way too long. And I was like, ‘Fuckin’ say it, man! My heart is pounding through my chest, stop doing this to me.’ And then he told us. And it was a relief.”
The Hamilton Music Awards are a refreshing antithesis to the bloated pomp of something like the Grammys.
“There wasn’t anything about business,” said Fisher. “It was a lot of congratulations, and then it became, ‘Let’s all party now.’”
“It’s different because it’s more about the community,” said Fisher. “Hamilton has such an intertwined music community, where punk bands hang out with folk people. There’s a lot of crossover and just a lot of friends. A lot of homies hanging left and right. I think that’s what those awards really stand for. The brotherhood of Hamilton music. And sisterhood.”
Other music awards could learn from our example.
Nolan Matthews, Senior ANDY Editor