This is what I wrote in this week's paper:
PORTLAND MUSIC AWARDS: COOL NUTZ, 3 LEG TORSO, BOY EATS DRUM MACHINE, WANDERLUST CIRCUS, SOME OTHER CRAPPY BANDS NO ONE WANTS TO SEE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) It pains me to see this sham of an event limp into its third year of existence, but if nothing else, the Portland Music Awards prove that some folks will do just about anything for a chance to win a shiny little trophy. The red flags are alarming: The event is organized via a third-party "nonprofit" by Craig Marquardo (I guess that means Music Spectator magazine never sold for his unintentionally hilarious $25,000 asking price); the event's baffling original choice of headliner, '90s one-hit wonder Meredith Brooks, dropped out; and the show's host—the fat Baldwin brother (Daniel)—has no discernable ties to the local music scene. Portland's music community is great because it doesn't rely on disingenuous, blowjob-y events like this for validation. It's not enough to just suggest—or demand—that you avoid this like the fucking plague. If you drop $25 for this swill, be ashamed. Give that money to Haiti instead.
God, what a dick. But, truth told, I felt like I was pulling my punches a bit. Okay, the fat Baldwin line was just cruel. Sorry, Daniel.
For us, the most difficult part of this clearly unnecessary award show is deciding whether or not to run surly previews like this, or to just ignore the event entirely. To the credit of the PMAs, I'm shocked that they are still around after three years of low attendance and shameful confusion about the very music scene that they are supposedly dedicated to (supposedly, last year an award presenter mentioned that Elliott Smith was unable to attend that night and pick up his "Legends Award" trophy).
The nomination process itself, with it's vague voting results and numerous errors, proves how out of touch the PMAs are. No one is sure why Loch Lomond is nominated for Album of the Year for "Blue Lead Fences," "Night Bats" (Night Bats is an EP, while "Blue Lead Fences" is a single not on the aforementioned EP, or any album for that matter), or why this band is up for Best Live Performance. But, I'll say this, if Deep Roots - St. John's Poetry Sessions, Volume III doesn't win best compilation, I'll fucking kill myself.
It goes without saying that Portland music doesn't require such an event of self-congratulatory backslapping. Ours is a music scene that is nationally—if not globally—known, and one could make a solid case that Portland music is also very overexposed, and that's without an award ceremony. But, hey, if you want to drop $25 to hear two members of Quarterflash do "Harden My Heart" (plus don't forget the "celebrity presenters" and the "red carpet") then don't let this blogging Statler and Waldorf stop you. Have fun.
End Hits: If Meredith Brooks won't be there, neither will we.
As recommended by Kiala, after the jump is the PMA commercial featuring master thespian, Daniel Baldwin.