Oct 10, 2013

Review: Carlton Dry Independent Music Awards

It was a mixture of old and new at the Carlton Dry Independent Music Awards. By Angela Allan

During his acceptance speech for Best Independent Hip-Hop Album, Seth Sentry thanked his ex-girlfriends for paying his bills when he was a “wannabe rapper” and had no money, Dan Kelly accepted the award on behalf of Paul Kelly and recalls times “getting blazed” when recording Spring and Fall, and newcomers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard took out the first ever Carlton Dry Global Music Grant and closed the night with a surprise performance of their ‘60s-inflected psychedelia.

It was a new sponsor, Carlton Dry, and a new space unlocked at Kensington’s Revolt Arts Space that heralded a refreshed model for the awards. The independent music photo exhibition curated by photographer Kane Hibberd was projected on large screens and a blue carpet led inside.

The new-look lofty space had an admirer in Darren Middleton, who just finished mastering his new solo album before heading to the awards.

“I see myself above this metal strut here – this support beam – in some sort of underwear, perhaps. I’ve been working out, so I think it’s worth showing that off,” he joked.

With stand-out performances by Archie Roach, who played Heal The People to a hushed crowd, Violent Soho’s menacing melange, along with RUFUS’ electro splendour (with cowbell), Saskwatch’s fiery soul sounds and the perfect pop of Big Scary, Seth Sentry performed Float Away from his winning album This Was Tomorrow, which earlier was a top pick for Grey Ghost.

“I’ve been touring the country on a regional tour with Seth Sentry, and I’ve seen his show like a million times now, and I also just directed his last video clip, so I’ve heard his stuff so much, but I am so excited to come and support him tonight and see him perform in this different format, in front of industry and cameras.”

For some, it was the first time attending an awards night, including Marcus of Adelaide duo Collarbones, who were up for Best Independent Dance/Electronica Album for Die Young. As a first-timer, he had some tips to ensure red (or blue) carpet readiness:

“Hydrate well, and make sure you’re not looking like you’ve just gotten out of bed.”

The introduction of Best Independent Classical Album this year was awarded to Amy Dickson for Catch Me If You Can and the Carlton Dry Global Music Grant of $50,000 to help further an indie band’s career went to Melbourne seven-piece King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, who were stoked they could “finally leave Melbourne” to tour.

Electronic whizz kid Flume and indie rock-dance pair Jagwar Ma led the pack with five nominations each (the most nominations ever in a single year for these awards), but it was Flume who walked away the big winner, taking out four awards and his label Future Classic winning Best Independent Label.