Studio wizardry alone no longer pays the bill; musicians need to enchant on stage in the digital age.
While December is the month for Christmas giving, November seems to be the when the music industry determines who has been naughty and nice, with the J Awards, the ARIAs, and now the inaugural National Live Music Awards all taking place in the year’s penultimate month.
It makes sense for there to be an award ceremony purely directed towards recognising excellence in live performance. With digital streaming services and illegal torrents decimating traditional revenue streams, bands are touring with ferocious regularity to stem the bleeding.
It is no longer possible for most artistic geniuses to cloister themselves for years on end in the studio like Brian Wilson; you need to hit the road and dazzle. While South Australian artists The Beards, Tkay Maidza and A.B. Original were representing SA in the national categories, we take a look at who took the gongs in the local awards at The Jade.
Live Music Event of the Year: WOMAD
As it enters its 25th year in 2017, WOMAD is perhaps no longer accurately aptly described as a music event, but rather a cultural institution. For four days every year, half of the citizens of Adelaide get their yoga pants on and soak in an atmosphere of joyous inclusiveness. While every month gives birth to a new festival in Adelaide, WOMAD is the heavy weight champion for now and the foreseeable future.
Venue of the Year: The Grace Emily
The Grace won in a David and Goliath battle against venues with much larger capacities, The Gov and Fat Controller, which is a testament to their tireless and unyielding commitment to local music. The Grace hosts live music at least five nights a week, with Billy Bobs BBQ Jam on a Monday and an array of local and touring artists from Thursday to Sunday.
Live Voice Of The Year: Naomi Keyte
Keyte sings of melaleuca gum trees and camping in the Tasmanian mountains with a voice that hangs like a wistful cloud in the mid-summer sky. It is a voice capable of taking a boisterous crowd of musos who have supped from an open bar and rendering it silent. She defeated Tkay Maidza, which should give an indication of the future that lies ahead.
Live Act Of The Year: Bad//Dreems
Frontman Ben Marwe accepted the award on behalf of the band, his pint glass sloshing amber fluid on and around the stage in the process. This spillage was appropriate, as the Bad//Dreems sound is drenched in beer and the spirit of Aussie pub rock. You can stream an album on Spotify or watch a live concert on YouTube, but nothing can replicate the buzz of buying a ticket, grabbing a beer and watching your idols in the flesh; the NLMAs celebrate the fact that live music will never die.