Sydney Morning Herald

Becoming A Premier Rock Act Depends On The Swinging Vote

Author: Bernard Zuel

In a year when election results were no foregone conclusion, it seemed appropriate that the 13th ARIA music industry awards last night delivered a result with no clear winner.

Unlike two years ago, when Brisbane duo Savage Garden had a landslide – winning everything except best female artist or last year, when Natalie Imbruglia took home six gongs, no-one left the Sydney Entertainment Centre with more than three awards.

The talk at the post-awards party at the Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre was as much about who didn’t win – or didn’t win as much as expected – as who did.

The three boys-to-men of silverchair, who have never liked awards nights, did not trouble the scrutineers much. Although nominated eight times, the Novocastrians took home only one gong, but it was for the Channel V Australian Artist Of The Year.

Similarly, the “third way” candidate, dance producer Josh Abrahams, who had a chance to win six awards and break the nexus of major label rock/pop or independent label rock/pop. left with only two awards, Best Independent and Best Dance.

Those with empty hands included two who were in the vanguard of the “new generation” threatening to take over the Australian music scene two years ago, Regurgitator (4 nominations) and Spiderbait (5 nominations).

In a night of upsets, the only sitting member to be returned was Natalie Imbruglia, who beat the hugely impressive new candidate Kasey Chambers, to claim her second Best Female Artist award, along the way picking up the Outstanding Achievement award for overseas sales of her album Left Of The Middle.

While pollsters were being shown up, the ARIAS did prove a few things: a double bass is no impediment to winning a rock award, and a crown can look good on a dishevelled head.

Rockabilly/punk trio The Living End (recently named by hyperbolic English music magazine Melody Maker as one of the 10 best new bands on the planet) rode their double bass all the way to Best Group and Best New Artist-Album.

In winning Best Group, The Living End went against the pre-poll trend to Brisbane’s Powderfinger.

In another win for the small band of showmen in Australian rock, the self-described “skinny arsed” Tim Rogers acquired the title King Tim after being named Best Male Artist. Rogers, whose hair is not known for a close acquaintance with combs, wore his crown with ease.

ARIA Awards

Best new artist – Single
Joint winners, Alex Lloyd (Lucky Star) and taxiride (Get Set)

Best new artist – Album
The Living End (The Living End)

Best pop release
Savage Garden (The Animal Song)

Best independent release
Josh Abrahams (Sweet Distorted Holiday)

Best rock album
Powderfinger (Internationalist)

Record of the year
Powderfinger (The Day You Come)

Best group
The Living End

Best female artist
Natalie Imbruglia

Best male artist
Tim Rogers

Hall of fame
Jimmy Little and Richard Clapton