Main Pic: Time to celebrate: Dominique Pratt congratulates double-winner, Caitlin Nienaber. Photography by GordonCo Visuals
A lot of opinions and thoughts come flooding around the beginning of November every year - the WAM Awards form the first gambit of an overall experience which extends to two days of Conference and Festival components, showcasing a multitude of speakers and, of course, live and local bands.
Awards and the arts have long shared an uncertain history, given that creativity is not a finite pursuit defined by winners and losers as such. However, the arts – and in this case I refer to the music industry – is a hard slog full of injustices and misfortune… and that’s on the good days. (I kid somewhat here, but let’s face it, Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘the music industry is…’ quote was a misquote about the TV industry and doesn’t apply).
Either way, we face the doom and gloom of the world and its headlines day-by-day and social media isn’t helping things. A bit of recognition goes a long way for those who have worked tirelessly and put their creative spirit on the line. Not everyone is recognised as a nominee or (gulp) as a winner - they never are in any realm - but there is a lot to be said for the shared celebration of artistic efforts from the previous 12 months and it must be stated that there was an spirited air of positivity in the big room last Thursday night. It doesn't all have to be about marking the achievements of our sporting heroes but you know, god bless ‘em anyways.
The Grammy went back into WAMI this year, hosted in sponsor Hyatt Regency’s Grand Ballroom. Bourby Webster and Blake Williams were amiable hosts on a night that always has its ups and down in terms of emotions, length and quality of acceptance speeches, audience chatter and what to do afterwards.
It proved to be a year where the winners won well. Electronic duo Feels (Elise Reitze-Swensen and Rosie Taylor) took out three awards - their label WOMPP (Women Of Music Production Perth) for Label Of The Year as well as gongs for Best Live Electronic Act and Best Electronic Producer.
Now based in Sydney at Double J, former RTRFM Breakfast Host, Caitlin Nienaber won both the Industry Representative Of The Year and the Golden WAMI For Contribution To The Industry, with speeches so gracious they captured why she won all our hearts in the first place.
Carla Geneve (Best Rock Act, Best Single), Jacob Diamond (Best Folk Act, Best Guitarist), Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (Most Popular Live Act, Bet Music Video) and Odette Mercy (Best Urban Act, Best Vocalist) all received two awards each.
Full results are listed below, but from these eyes it was heartening to be there to witness several outcomes…
Abbe May winning the Best Album Award for Fruit – a brave artist in the constant process of reinvention/re-evaluation. An inspiration.
The Little Lord Street Band winning the Best Country Act – love is grand and country is king/queen!
Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse winning Best Indigenous Act – Williams bringing her young son, ‘The Tomminator’ onstage to accept the award topped it off.
The Stems being entering the Hall of Fame (we missed you, Richard Lane) was great, but as they are so often lauded it was life-affirming to see iconic WA music publicist Dixie Battersby being inducted as well. A great life and career behind-the-scenes was capped off by a nervous-yet-hilarious speech that also incorporated a few home truths about the modern state of the game.
On a personal note, it’s been my duty since 2016 to present the ‘Posthumous’ segment, paying tribute to music industry folks who have sadly passed away in the previous 12 months. It’s a tricky baton to hold, but an honour to do for WAM and the memory of those who have fallen. Vale Brian Henry Hooper, Buster Stiggs, Felix Burrows, Jeff St John, John ‘Rufkut’ Griffiths, Kim Goodlet, Reg Carson and Sheena Prince.
The night ended but the stage was set for two days of discussion, networking and live performance. The annual WAM Awards/Conference/Festival is a timely reminder that the WA Music Community is a good place to be.
WA MUSIC AWARDS – GENRE & INDUSTRY
Best Album (presented by APRA AMCOS) – Abbe May (Fruit)
Best Blues/Roots Act (presented by Blues at Bridgetown) – Mama Kin Spender
Best Country Act (presented by Mustang Bar) – The Little Lord Street Band
Best EP (presented by Rosemount Hotel) – Demon Days (Magic Eye)
Best Experimental Act (presented by RTRFM) – Eduardo Cossio and Louise Devenish
Best Folk Act (presented by Clancy’s Fishpub Fremantle) – Jacob Diamond
Best Hip-Hop Act (presented by Perth Theatre Trust) – Hyclass
Best Indigenous Act (presented by NAIDOC Music Awards) – Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse
Best Jazz Act (presented by The Alex Hotel) – Alana Macpherson Nonet
Best Live Electronic Act (presented by Advanced Electrical Equipment) – Feels
Best Metal/Heavy Act (presented by scenestr) – Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving
Best Music Video (presented by Johnny Ma Studios) – Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (Social Candy)
Best Pop Act (presented by Lolly Box Music) – Stella Donnelly
Best Punk/Hardcore Act (presented by The Poster Girls) – Nerve Quakes
Best Regional Act (presented by Nannup Music Festival) – Tracey Barnett
Best Rock Act (presented by Badlands Bar) – Carla Geneve
Best Single (presented by Mojo’s Bar | Cool Perth Nights) – Carla Geneve (Greg’s Discount Chemist)
Best Urban Act (presented by Sorrento Strategic Music) – Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics
Best World Act (presented by Fairbridge Festival) – Grace Barbé
Golden WAMi (presented by City Of Perth) – Caitlin Nienabar
Industry Representative of the Year (presented by Freo.Social) – Caitlin Nienabar
Label of the Year (presented by Happy Mag) – Women Of Music Production Perth
WA MUSIC AWARDS – PUBLIC VOTED
Most Popular Act (presented by The Aardvark) – Tame Impala
Most Popular Live Act (presented by RAC Arena) – Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Most Popular Music Event (presented by MyEntertainmentLawyer.com) – Falls Festival
Most Popular New Act (presented by The Bird) – Wooly Mammoth
Most Popular Venue (presented by moshtix) – Mojo’s Bar
WA MUSIC AWRADS – CRAFT
Best Bassist (presented by Hyatt Regency Perth) – Jennifer Aslett and Roy Martinez
Best Brass/String/Woodwind Instrumentalist (presented by Discus On Demand) – Alana Macpherson (Saxophone)
Best Drummer/Percussionist (presented by Shiny Rabbit) – Daniel Susnjar
Best Electronic Producer (presented by Noisegate) – Feels
Best Guitarist (presented by Hammer Ink Merchandise) – Jacob Diamond
Best Keys/Synth Artist (presented by Yamaha | Sound Centre) – Harry Mitchell
Best Live Sound Engineer (presented by WAAPA | ECU) – Chris Wright
Best Studio Sound Engineer/Producer (Presented by SAE Qantm Creative) – Matt Gio (Rada Studio)
Best Vocalist (presented by Media Arts Lawyers) – Odette Mercy
KISS MY CAMERA AWARDS
Best Live Shot of a WA Act – Emanuel Rudnicki (The Southern River Band)
Best Live Shot of a Touring Act – Denis Radacic (The Butterfly Effect)
Best Press Shot of a WA Act – Matsu (Lincoln MacKinnon)