The usual crowd — country punks, earnest rappers, midtown scenesters and hangers-on — descended upon the Uptown Theater Sunday night for The Pitch Music Awards. Nominated acts, friends of nominated acts, and high net-worth individuals such as myself gathered in the adjacent Conspiracy Room prior to the ceremony for a glorious two-hour open bar. People stood around talking and holding paper plates with different flavors of cubed cheese on them. The bartenders hustled. They poured the wine all the way to the top of our clear plastic cups. “Actually, can you make that five Pale Ales?” I asked.
Who wore what? I donned a pair of faded navy slacks; keen observers have scornfully noted that I sometimes wear them all five days of the workweek. But most everybody else was dressed to some version of “the nines.” Some of the guys in Minden wore short khaki shorts, dress shoes, and formal vests with no shirts underneath. Minden did not win Best Emerging Act, and as the last of us were filing out after the ceremony, drummer Ryan Johnson flipped over some tables in what I presume was mock anger. The police officers that escorted him off the premises apparently elected not to arrest him, which is good, because I don’t imagine he would have fared very well in that outfit down in the pen.
Host Eric “Mean” Melin wore a sport coat with a T-shirt underneath. Halfway through the show, he bounced onto the stage in tight white pants and a black tank top to perform the routine that’s made him the semi-official air-guitar king of Kansas City. Following him was Peter “Stiff” Dickens -— the sort of Andy Kaufman of air guitar —- who played two notes, then spent two minutes breathlessly accepting the fake applause that played over the PA. He flung flowers into the crowd. Somebody brought him a fake baby, which he cradled, then flung into the crowd. He had ridiculous bleached-blond Sammy Hagar hair, which I discovered backstage to be a wig.
Tech N9ne wore glasses with hypnotic spirals on the lenses; he was beamed in and projected onto the video screen to announce the nominated hip-hop acts. The Latenight Callers -— who, along with Stik Figa and the ACBs, treated us to a short set of songs — wore their usual elegant noir-inspired costumes.
You know the rest. The best acts didn’t always win, but many did. Some acts accepted their awards with good humor and dignity. Others made loud, terrible jokes that nobody found cute. A couple of times, Melin had to gently nudge obnoxious winners (or losers) off the stage. But that’s all part of the draw for me. You cram as many local music people into the same room, get them all liquored up, and then sit back and see who’s actually cool and who’s just a big dork with tattoos and an H&M card. Throw in some live music, and that’s my kind of night.
The Grisly Hand
Outlaw Jim and the Whiskey Benders
Sheppa of Nomathmatics
The Latenight Callers
Thee Water MoccaSins
Hearts of Darkness
JAZZ SOLO ARTIST
Cowboy Indian Bear
The New Riddim