Yeah I know it's about three weeks late. Blame the intermittent net. Anyways I'm baaack! And I brought our kids!
We did something special this year, what with the Juno Awards being held in Toronto, less than 2 hours away from home...we brought our kids, because they have been patient with this crazy biz and deserve to have some fun!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, I officially present... OUR YOUNGUNS!
The Girl, fka Tribble, aka Annyong, me and the Boy, aka Bucky.
And here they thought we were getting to the show in a big ol tacky SUV limo just for fits and giggles... Oh hey look, guys, what's this? A crowd of screaming people? Cameras? BEN MULRONEY???
But I'm jumping ahead here. Let me take you to the Saturday evening Gala Awards Dinner Event Where We Sit With Other Engineers And Behind The Scenes People!
The actual award itself is different this year.
Now the little glass guy is in his/her/its own little pod!
I think there are 30 awards given out on the Saturday night. It's not televised. That's probably a good thing since there are bottles of wine on the tables, which miraculously get replaced when empty. It could turn into the Golden Globe Awards at any time! Lookout!
Generally everybody behaves themselves. It's quite amazing considering how the music biz is full of people who are of the slightly crazy, possibly flaky, most likely unable to follow directions, probably ADHD creative artist types! (and those types of people usually are my favourites!)
This is Kellylee Evans. She was so thrilled with her Vocal Jazz award...
...that she started singing right there at the podium.
What a beautiful moment!
This young lady's first name is Nicole, and since I didn't keep my program and have a bad memory, I can't tell you what her last name is. I can tell you that she sang kd lang's "Constant Craving," and that it felt like approximately 2000 people held their breath.
And she got a standing ovation.
The young fella with the guitar at centre stage is Justin Nozuka. I'd heard of him, but hadn't heard him.
He's great! I plan to hear more of him in the future.
The evening was hosted by two of my favourite Canadian broadcast personalities. (Is that what they're called? What's the actual job title??)
Jian Ghomeshi and Seamus O'Regan. Or as Seamus said, the "Persian-Irish Wayne & Shuster." Maybe you have to be Canadian and over 40 to get that joke. It made me chuckle.
I watch Seamus most mornings on Canada AM. He's from Newfoundland. Automatically likeable!
I don't catch Jian's show nearly often enough, which is a shame because I think he's awesome. I'm a fan.
Before announcing the Recording Engineer of the Year award, he called out, "So how about those Engineers?" and our entire table erupted - yes, ERUPTED - into vigorous cheers! (Later that night my husband got a chance to personally thank him for the recognition!)
And who did the award go to?
The multi-talented, world rocking Kevin Churko.
Not only a seriously great recording engineer/ producer, but also a genuinely good person. In a bearded, boots-wearing haavy kind of way.
Four words here, people: two Ozzy Osbourne records.
Serious admiration for this guy!
Generally, the big televised awards are what people pay attention to. This is where the Big Stars are dragged out. This year's host was Drake, who apparently is a really really really big deal.
I know nothing about rap, so I can't comment on that, but the guy handled the telecast hosting job extremely well! He was charming and kept things moving, and even did a bit of singing. Also, he went to an old folk's home to learn how to roll. I guess. He even brought them to show. That was nice.
What a nice young fella.
So we snuck the red carpet thing onto our kids, which was AWESOME! That was, for Jethro and I, the best part of the entire weekend!
Of course, the organizers of the event are very careful to NOT get us non-famous people anywhere in the line of a camera. It's actually kind of funny how they avoid us.
A girl on the other side of the barrier leaned over and asked, "How did you get there?" I told her my husband's a Juno-winning recording engineer. I didn't tell her it wasn't this year, but anyways. And then she said, "Oh you're so lucky, you get to meet Drake!" I couldn't help but laugh.
"We're not getting anywhere near him," I told her.
So my kids didn't get to meet the guys in Hedley. Annyong especially was disappointed.
Aw well. Can't have everything.
However we did walk past the Barenaked Ladies!
Did I mention it was freakin' cold that day? Good thing they weren't bare nekkid for real. Of course, there had to be a few women wearing ridiculous outfits with way too much skin showing for a late March Canadian afternoon. And all of these skimpy outfits were white. I didn't get to actually see any of this, what with us being shooed through the line, but I saw the pix the next day. It made me giggle. It's so hard to look sexy when you're freezing. Not that I'd know.
So at one point I was looking at this man, tall guy, maybe in his 50s, with wavy dark hair, slightly grey, and wearing glasses. Who is that man? Do I know him? Where do I know him from? Entertainment lawyer? Label owner? Stellar musician I've met over and over and keep mistaking him for someone else? Who is this guy?"
At least I recognized Randy Bachman.
We did have a close encounter with the Worldwide Famous...
...but I'll save that for last.
So my kids finally got a look at what happens while people at home are watching commercials. As it turned out, not much, this year. Forty years worth of Juno footage in 2-minute clips. No comedians, nobody on the stage warning us about seat sitters taking our spot if we get up to go to the can.
Down With Webster opened the show, and I quickly decided that they're one of those bands who are fun on a screen but electrifying in person.
I think there are about eight or 17 guys in this band, not counting the dudes in the back in marching band outfits while pretending to be playing tubas.
This is the THING in Canadian music these days. Bands with like, 23 of your best friends. I counted eight people in Arcade Fire the first time they picked up an award, but later when they performed I think there were 11 people. Or maybe 17. Heck it might have been 25, it was hard to tell.
Later when Broken Social Scene played, I almost went dizzy trying to count everybody. Ten or eleven? Twenty-seven? Hey that's fun and all, but maybe, when there's a guy on stage who's just clapping behind a microphone... do you think maybe somebody has a hard time saying no to their friends who wanna be in a band???
Now I confess, I'm not an Arcade Fire fan. But I will say that they rocked the place. I mean, I wouldn't say they rock, necessarily, but they totally threw themselves into the performance with energy and passion!
I still hate the frontman's hair.
Deadmau5 has the solution for pesky hair problems.
Yeah we caught a glimpse of him outside before the show and I said, "Kids, look! He's wearing his Formal Dress Head!" Check out the look on Buck 65's face.
And then Bryan Adams showed up to give Shania Twain a Hall of Fame award.
There was so much Worldwide Famous on that stage that the universe almost collapsed under the weight.
Measha Bruggergosman presented an award with two of the Great Big Sea guys, and was smart enough to tell us to protect our ears before naming the J Biebs.
Holy screaming girls.
I mean just wow.
The kid wasn't even there - the girls screamed deliriously at a video of him saying thanks. Wow.
At some point we had a big medley or two.
There are now 40 years worth of tributes and recognition and sing-along classics, man. If we'd forgotten some of those songs and artists we were reminded. Dude. Neil Young was there. In person.
He showed up with his buddy-producer, Daniel Lanois. Look at these two! It's like they called each other first! What a pair!
They even appeared to be wearing the same clothes the next day, when Neil Young received his Humanitarian Award. What practical dudes. They must travel light. Smart.
That's a whole lotta grizzled coolness on one stage eh?
Hedley performed, and that always makes me happy because they are so exciting live!
I enjoy this band maybe even more than I should. If you get a chance to see them live, go!!!! They will rock you and your world, at the same time!
Jacob's piano was all lit up from the inside. Cooool.
Tokyo Police Club were pretty good!
They still look like they're in high school!
Two-thirds of Rush presented an award.
What distinguished gentlemen of rock. Geddy Lee, do not ever cut that hair.
So to finish off the show, an interesting act called Chromeo wheeled their lady-legs keyboards out for something called, very accurately, "Hot Mess."
What does it say about the Girl and I that we found Sarah McLaughlin's song to be nice but we thought Chromeo was hilarious and brilliant?
I mean, if this is about entertainment, this is it. This is nothing if not entertaining.
Guitar face and everything. They even had a line of Robert Palmer style backup lip sync/ dancers.
Remember I mentioned a big huge moment on the red carpet?
We were standing there gawking around when a group of men in black - I'm not kidding, actual men in black with those little earpieces - cruised past us. I heard one saying in a low voice, "...and the name is Tanya Kim" which made me perk up my ears, because I watch Tanya Kim and Ben Mulroney after lunch! And see this picture? This is that day!!!
And the six guys in black? They swept past, and disappeared, and Tanya Kim was standing on a platform right in front of us with Shania Twain.
For real people, like a few feet away from us.
This was taken with an iPhone, so does this show how close we were?
Annyong said she smelled really nice.
Of course I suggested she have her picture taken "with her." The kid was a big little fan when she was ten!
Now she can say she is in a picture with Shania Twain.
And let me say, this woman is petite and seriously as beautiful as expected. She's truly lovely.
Bucky got in on the photo-bombing.
I looked at this picture all blown up and I'm sure she's looking over sideways at us.
After the show, the kids retired to our hotel room for cable TV and a few rowdy games of Dutch Blitz. We'd come back from whatever label party we showed up at, creeping in at 2 or 3 am, and there were our teenagers, sleeping away. In the morning we'd compare our evenings.
And that, my friends, was our family adventure to the Juno Awards.
I'd have to say, overall, the whole thing was a bit of a non-event, sadly. I think it's a combination of shrinking budgets at the record labels, and Toronto. There's just too much going on in the city to compete with the Junos. And I think Toronto is too cool to be seen getting excited about much of anything. Also? Unseasonably cold this year!
I do hope it gets moved around to other cities again. It brings an excitement, and it's different every year. But being in Toronto meant no plane tickets, so we could afford to bring our kids. It made all the hassle and expense of spending the weekend there totally worth it!
(for a look at a lot of great press photos from the weekend, go to Upvenue!)