A cooler blend of culture

The Arias

Initially, the sight of a glorious sun shining down on Sydney’s Opera House would have been counted as a blessing for the 2010 Aria Awards. However, when you have been standing on the red carpet under this sweltering heat for three hours, with no shade or water to keep you from almost collapsing, it becomes more of a hindrance than an advantage to your interviewing prowess. Despite this and the rest of the evening’s almost comedic comedy of errors due to dismal organisation – which included no audio in the press room as awards and speeches were being accepted – the stars on the red carpet were excited and honoured to be a part of Australian music’s ‘night of nights’.

There was a cavalcade of young, up-and-coming Aussie acts that dominated the proceedings and some of the pointy Aria pyramids could not have been awarded to nicer, funnier or more humble musicians.

Dan Sultan and Megan Washington took out the award for best male and female artists on the night respectively (Washington also won Breakthrough Artist and Sultan also won Best Blues & Roots Album). Between Dan’s explanation of his owl chest tattoo to Megan’s announcement to the press that she loved my dress and would only pose for my photos, it was clear that at least these musicians knew how not to take themselves too seriously.

Following the theme of open press room banter, Adelaide’s Sia won the award for Best Independent Release and explained to journalists that earlier this year she was thinking of stopping music as she was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid gland. And we’re glad she did continue. Sia is, and always has been (with her past chill out and remixed dance tracks sampled by DJs the world over) a breathe of fresh air on the local music circuit, also taking out Best Pop Release.

Powderfinger’s final TV performance may or may not have been marred by Bernard Fanning’s usual nonchalant attitude towards winning a hand full of awards, including Most Popular Australian Album. But the ‘Finger and frontman Fanning did seem quite solemn in the press room where they announced it was to concentrate on spending more time with their families that was the main catalyst for the finishing up of the group. And yes, they would miss each other.

Alas, the big winners for the night (even if the most shy and at times inaudible) were brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone. Taking the gong for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, and Best Adult Alternative LP the gorgeous Angus (still so dreamy in his gardening outfit) relayed to the press the story of why he had kookaburra feathers in his hair. A riveting story I won’t be recounting here.

All in all, an interesting evening. Even if Aussie award shows are at times awkward, at least we have the sense of humour to be able to laugh at ourselves. And we still have some pretty darn good musical acts that are sure to dominate the world.

Pictured clockwise from top left: Ruby Rose and fellow MTV hostess try to make the mostest of bad feedback; Megan Washington swapping frock talk with us; the big winners and siblings Stone; the very sexy DJ Havana Brown; Dan Sultan looking ready to chuck his pyramid. Photography by Lara Antonelli.

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