With an event this special, we thought we would change things up a little. Shannon (The Colourful Writer) and Tracey (The Music Maven) have teamed up! So this means you get TWO articles/reviews of the night! Along with a visual journey with photos from Brodie Ramsay of Viephex: Artistic Photography and Cinematography. Full gallery HERE.
Queensland Music Awards – The Wrap Up – Number One:
Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
Music in Australia has always been of a high standard and quality. Music in Brisbane and Queensland has always been outstanding. We are blessed to have a ridiculous amount of talent here in our own backyard and last night, the 2020 Queensland Music Awards was a fine display of some of that musical magic. A stunning night of performance, appreciation and recognition of some of the hard working people who not only make the music, but those behind the scenes who make music happen. For any music lover or for anyone who works in the industry, this was a night that had you with tears in your eyes and a warmth in your heart. This is our music. This is our heart. This is the QMAs.
The doors to The Fortitude Music Hall opened and the energy in the venue from that very moment was buzzing. Industry folk, bands, musicians and music fans started to mull through the doors via the red carpet. Pausing for photos and conversation, everyone looked simply amazing. The first person to catch my full attention was the always beautiful and always colourful Patience Hodgson of The Grates. Her vibrancy, positive energy and smile makes for the perfect host and she greeted everyone so warmly, her natural ability to make everyone around her feel calm but excited all at once. There was time to mingle before heading up to the mezzanine to find our seats. The view had my eyes full of sparkles, the intricate chandeliers, the lights, the people, the stage. Everything in its place. The night was ready to officially begin.
A beautifully delivered Welcome to Country from Aunty Maroochy Barambah to open the night followed by a performance from Torres Strait Islander dancers which rolled straight into a performance from acoustic blues and roots Brisbane/Rockhampton locals, Busby Marou. Performing their track Naba Norem (The Reef Song).
QMAs host, Dominic Miller graced the stage with Eminem’s Without Me blaring over the speakers. His speech had everyone laughing from the get go, the comedy element increased as Jeremy Neal, Mel Buttle and Patience Hodgson all joined him, one by one. With Neal even bringing his own homemade podium to the stage. I was impressed with the choice of hosts and all four were brilliant in their delivery and ‘ad lib’ moments when there was the occasional small gap while waiting for winners to make their way to the stage.
The night was broken up between performances, awards and speeches. An all star group of presenters to present each award including a high calibre of musicians such as Ben Ely (Regurgitator), Luke Henery and Michael Richards (Violent Soho), Marie DeVita (WAAX), Katie Noonan (George) and more.
All categories were tough competition, with quite honestly, every nominee deserving of the win. The hardest one for me personally was the Heavy Award. With all four nominees personal favourites of mine. A Somerset Parade, Being Jane Lane, Osaka Punch and DZ Deathrays. With DZ taking the win for this one.
Each speech was from the heart and full of emotion. A few standouts delivered by Matt Hsu’s Obscure Orchestra, Busby Marou, John ‘JC’ Collins and Ian Haug, Dennis Handlin and a very special and tear jerking speech from Fred (Blowhard) about the late and great, Brentyn ‘Rollo’ Rollason. Rollo was awarded the Grant McLennan (The Go Betweens) Lifetime Achievement Award. This was a huge highlight of the night for me. “Rollo was a man who was pure love…he did everything from his heart…” – Fred’s speech had many tears in eyes throughout the venue. This was added to as Rollo’s children and other band members also took to the stage to honor Rollo and all he did for the music scene in Brisbane.
Brisbane’s southside rappers, Order Sixty6 delivered a high energy performance which had everyone grooving and moving. Sony Music Executive Denis Handlin was awarded the QMusic Honorary Award in recognition of his 50 years at Sony Music Entertainment. Brisbane’s Neo Soul sisters, Pink Matter took the Soul Funk R&B Award, which was well deserved. This award was co presented by the always stunning, Katie Noonan. Cub Sport delivered a delicate acoustic performance of their song I Never Cried So Much In My Whole Life. Two of the 4122 family, Luke Henery and Michael Richards presented the Album Of The Year award, which went to the beautiful Thelma Plum for ‘Better In Blak’. Jeremey Neal took to the stage sporting what he claimed to be Kylie Minogue’s infamous gold hotpants to announce the Pop Award, which was met with much laughter from an amused audience. The Jungle Giants took this one with their super catchy track, Heavy Hearted which has been on my daily playlist since it’s release. Well deserved.
The night was wrapped up with a joy filled performance from the absolutely divine, Jaguar Jonze. Jonze reminds me of a young Kate Bush. Stunning vocals and an individuality and creativeness in her self expression that draws you in; mesmerised. Her dazzling delivery of her song, Kill Me With Your Love, a perfect ending to a stellar night.
The after party had those who chose to stay enjoying music to dance to whilst mingling and enjoying a drink or two from the bar served by the always friendly staff at the venue. A chance to catch up with friends or meet new ones, all with one shared love; MUSIC.
Queensland Music Awards – The Wrap Up – Number Two:
Words by Tracey Moyle – The Music Maven
Last night members of Queensland’s music community and its supporters took time out from the pressures of the world to enjoy the glitz and glamour of the red carpet celebrating Queensland’s established and emerging artists across all genres, from all corners of our beautiful state. This year the event was held at The Fortitude Music Hall for the first time, Brisbane’s newest venue, perfectly centred in the Fortitude Valley, the heart and soul of Brisbane’s thriving music scene.
With live music from some of the states best performers, including Busby Marou, Jaguar Jones, Cub Sport and Nat Dunn, the night carried a star-studded lineup with awards presented by music icons from all areas of the industry ranging from previous QMA winner Amy shark and members of Powderfinger to ARIA and PPCA Chief Executive, Dan Rosen.
As many guests commented throughout the night, The Fortitude Music Hall, affectionately known as ‘The Fort’ had patrons enjoying a far more glamorous setting than previous years. Bernard Fanning taking us back at one stage of the night, to his early memories of the QMA’s being held at Spring Hill Hotel as a ‘The Queensland Rock Awards’ in it’s previous form as a band competition. With Queensland producing some of the best young talent in Australia it was great to have a venue that matched the calibre of performers that would being honoured this night.
The main floor of ‘The Fort’ was strewn with elegantly decorated tables prepared for a night of fine dining, drinking and celebrating.
The mezzanine level was laid out with seating across it’s three levels for those here to view the spectacular without the cost of the meal.
The early buzz was contained to the foyers of both mezzanine and ground floors as people gathered around the bars chatting with friends, making new ones, networking or simply trying to catch a glimpse of one of the Queensland musical hierarchy in attendance.
A two minute call was given for people to take their seats. The beautifully adorned room filled as songwoman Aunty Maroochy Barambah open the night with the welcome to country and a beautiful and spiritually moving indigenous rendition of the national anthem.
CEO of QMusic Angela Samut thanked The Fortitude Music Hall for hosting and for giving Queensland a venue befitting of the talent that moves through this state. QMusic’s Dominic Miller was tonight’s host along with co-hosts Jeremy Neale, Patience Hodgson,The Grates and Comedian Mel Buttle giving the night its upbeat vibrant feel.
The Billy Thorpe scholarship award was the first presentation of the evening. Tonight Thorpe’s wife Lyn and government minister Leanne Enoch presented the award with Lyn giving an emotional account of her late husband and his contribution to Australian music. The award went to Singer/songwriter Harry Phillips, a young local talent, already having written with some of the most establised names in the Australian music indusry, accepting the award with a humble and very surprised acceptance.
With Miller announcing the Heavy Award up next, Buttle and Hodgson created comedic havoc in the background. Some of our finest rock acts were nominated; Being Jane Lane, A Somerset Parade, DZ Deathrays and Osaka Punch. But only one winner tonight and DZ Deathrays took out the award with their song Still No Change.
Moving through the night with a big night of recognition to come, The Blues and Roots award was giving to much loved Rockhampton natives Busby Marou for Naba Norem (The Reef Song).
The host and co host were entertaining with Neale’s Kraftwork inspired satirical portrayal of the next category Electronic and Dance, awarded to The Kite String Tangle for Polar.
Acknowledging sponsors Howard Smith Wharves, the World Award was presented to Matt Hsu for Obscure, touching the diverse crowd with his childhood experience with self racism and the subsequent discovery of music from around the world, unearthing it’s layers of cultural complexity in himself and making him the person he is today. Proud of his Asian heritage and proud to represent world music.
Brisbane Rappers Order Sixty6 were on stage next with a performance of their silky smooth R’n’B Hip Hop hit Suburbia, with the patrons happy to get some live music into the program.
Peoples Choice awards were announced with Maroochydore’s Solbar winning regional Venue of the Year, The Triffid taking out Metro Venue and Big Pinapple Festival winners of the Peoples Choice Festival catagory for 2020.
The night carried on with Best Video Award going to Kite Sting Tangle, Regurgitators, Ben Ely and Seje Vogal presenting Hip Hop and Rap Export Achievement award to Carmourflage Rose and host Miller introducing his old school friend, artist Conrad Sewell to present the Export Achievement Award to talented musician and songwriter Nat Dunn. Dunn currently living in L.A. has written for many artists including Charli XCX, Chris Brown, Tkay Maidza and Rita Ora. Flying in from the U.S, for tonight’s ceremony she graciously accepted the award and charmed the crowd performing her hit Nowhere To Go.
Twenty year old Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander singer-songwriter Miiesha, hailing from the small Aboriginal community of Woorabinda, Queensland took out The Telstra sponsored Remote Qld Artist Award for her soulful R’n’B track Drowning.
Next on the program, the Honorary Award went to the very much loved industry stalwart, Sony Chairman and CEO, Denis Handlin. Dan Rosen spoke about Denis Handlin taking the guests back to his beginnings as a junior record assembler at the age of 17 through his 50 year career as a constant in the music industry focusing on his passion for Australian artists. He has been instrumental in the careers of Australian artists including Men At Work, Midnight Oil, John Farnham, Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Amy Shark, Gang of Youths, Conrad Sewell, Tash Sultana and Tones and I.
Rosen introduced previous QMA winner Amy Shark to present the award to Handlin. Admiration for the man was evident from both Rosen and Shark. Another of his protégé’s, Shark flew in from L.A. especially to present the award to Handlin. His reliability, dedication and passion for our music industry is strongly represented by Shark and Rosen and the ‘The Fort’ burst into applause as he took to the stage to accept his award. Recounting stories of his life in the industry, from his beginnings on the packing room floor, to his time with CBS then moving to Sony, his passion was felt by everyone in the room. He acknowledged of the thriving music industry in Queensland and the creative buzz humming around music hub of the Fortitude Valley.
The night continued on with our talent shining through with awards going to Amy Shark for her single Mess Her Up and Conrad Sewell for his album ‘Life’ receiving highest ARIA chart sales in 2019. Jaguar Jones took out Singer-Songwriter/Folk Award, Cairns native Leanne Tennant taking out Regional Award for Bring It All Back With Powderfinger’s John Collins (JC) and Ian Haug (Haugie) presenting the Rock Award to Eliza and the Delusionals for Just Exist, accepting via video while currently on tour of the U.S.
The Grant McLennan Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by McLennan’s sister Sally, giving a highly spirited, very honest and at times comedic but overall heartfelt, view into what having an award presented in her brothers name meant to the McLennan family.
The Award was presented posthumously to the much loved local ska/punk rock legend and Blowhard frontman Brentyn ‘Rollo’ Rollason who passed away from a heart attack in April last year at the age of 54.
His contribution to the local music scene and the young emerging artists within it, his generosity and his passion for music and family were highlighted by tributes from family, local musician and music producer Jeff Lovejoy, Ian Haug, Seje Vogel, Fred from Blowhard along with Rollo’s children, his daughter giving a final heartfelt tribute to their father and how important music is to the family.
The awards continued with Katie Noonan presenting Pink Matter with the Soul/Funk/R’n’B Award for Soul Fruit’ ad the Jazz Award going to Foran for Monkey.
Cub Sport brought us more music much to the crowds pleasure with their hit single I Never Cried So Much In My Whole Life.
The night continued into its acknowledgements with renowned music promoter Michael Chugg, currently involved with the CMC Rocks Country Music Festival, presenting the Country Music Award to talented Sunshine Coast sisters Oh Harlow, formerly known as The Dennis Sisters, for their single Give It A Miss.
Frontier Touring’s Sahara Herald who also was the original contributing editor of one of one of the first independent music newspapers in Brisbane, ‘BUMS’ – Brisbane Underground Music Scene, and Bernard Fanning announced a great initiative in the launch of the Emerging Artist of the Year Award which includes recording and production as well as a song writing session with Fanning himself. This award went to Brisbane alt pop rock artist Hope D.
With the night approaching the after party stage, the lively mood was peaking as Jeremy Neale appeared on stage wearing, by his telling, Kylie Minogue’s gold hot pants, ready to present the Pop Award presented to the Jungle Giants for Heavy Hearted followed by The Tryp Hotel sponsored Indigenous award going to Thursday Islander Mau Power for Arrived (Ft. Marcus Corowa).
The final two awards, the climax of the evening, had Violent Soho’s Luke Henry and Mikey Richards presenting the Album of the year award to Thelma Plum for ‘Better In Blak’ accepting via video link from London and with Neale in his final comedic appearance as Green Lantern, with the the final award sponsored by Green Beacon, The Jungle Giants took out Song Of The Year for Heavy Hearted, from their album ‘Quiet Ferocity’.
The night was wrapped up with a final performance, Jaguar Jonze performing Kill Me With Your Love.
Tonight Queensland Music Awards honoured the achievements of both upcoming talented young artists as well as loved and respected industry superstars from production to performers. There was a spirit of community amongst the diverse crowd.
Tonight industry royalty, emerging artists and supporters of local live music came together at the end of the evening, mixing as equals at the QMA after party, in a show of solidarity as proof that we all share the same passion in life -Music. Music Is Life.
With huge thanks to Mitch & Nick at SGC Media for having Good Call Live cover the 2020 Queensland Music Awards.