You know that Mad Men episode where they go to the CLIO Awards, and Don Draper wins the award and then goes on an epic, rock-bottom bender? Well ... I guess that's not technically how it went down Sunday night at the 16th annual Pitch Music Awards at the Uptown. Nobody saw to it to give me an award, for example. And instead of a fashionable old suit with a skinny tie, I was wearing a shirt I purchased at the Nordstrom Rack at 95th Street and Quivira. And when I drink, I don't get all dark and morose like Draper. I just talk too loud and too much. So, OK, the analogy is imperfect. But! It was a boozy evening, and there were circular tables with white tablecloths, and awards were distributed. Congratulations to all the winners and nominated acts! We'll see everyone again next year. But some quick memories from the party.
• There were twice-baked potatoes at the open-bar VIP party in the Conspiracy Room prior to the show. Twice-baked, people!
• Soul Servers opened the show with a three-song set of effervescent hip-hop jams. Great vocal interplay, everybody looking fresh, a "Stepping Stone" sample: Those guys are on point.
• After paying $12 for a tall Pale Ale draft — this isn't Yankee Stadium, Uptown! — I sneaked backstage and hunted around for free booze. I happened upon The Pitch's director of marketing, Jason Dockery. "Where's the free shit?" I asked. "Are you holding out on me?" He was definitely holding out on me, but I didn't make a big thing out of it. After screaming, "Don't you know who I am?" at him and storming away, I watched the Grisly Hand perform from the side of the stage. They looked handsome and glowing, all bathed in the bright stage lights.
• Also while backstage, I walked past one of the two models hired to assist host Eric Melin with the awards onstage. I gave her the ol' double-eyebrow raise and a big grin. She just kind of shook her head and looked away. But she smiled a little bit, I think. Baby steps, y'all.
• The first award of the night, for best garage/punk act, went to Pizza Party Massacre. Some gutter punk with a tattoo on his face accepted the award on behalf of the band. He was completely shitfaced and spoke with a fake German accent. It was kind of funny. I talked to him outside; his name was Graham, and he seemed like an OK dude. Unfortunately, I think he's also the same dude who kept shouting out "fuck you" and "you suck" every time a winner was announced. Somebody probably should have kicked him out of the party, now that I'm thinking about it.
• Mark Lowrey, Enrique Chi, Hermon Mehari, and maybe one or two other musicians performed some sultry jazz-tinged songs and brought in a woman and a man to ballroom dance onstage as accompaniment. Later, when Making Movies played, they had two women wearing kimonos and playing violin. This is the part where everything starts to swirl together for me. Were there really women in kimonos onstage? I think that's true, but I probably wouldn't bet more than $20 on it.
• Melin spent a decent amount of time throughout the night chiding pop nominees the ACBs for losing in their category for five straight years. I thought it'd be great if they didn't win again — his jokes would have been meaner and, thus, funnier that way. But as it turned out, this was their year, drawing to a close their lovable-loser status.
• Melin was also not shy about making fun of the categories and nomination process — it's not as easy as it seems, assholes — and decided to bring back a category that we nixed this year: best reggae act. After the last award was handed out, he announced late-'90s, KC-bred, post-grunge act Puddle of Mudd as the winner of best reggae act. What I assume was a Puddle of Mudd song blasted over the speakers, and that was that for the 2012 Pitch Music Awards.