City Slang: DMA Thoughts

OK, I’m not going to drag this on. I’ve sat and thought about how to reword what I wrote about the Detroit Music Awards in the pages of the Metro Times last year and, no matter what I do, it feels like I’m repeating myself. So, to summarize, the performances were mostly really good. The handing out of awards, or at least those handed out at the main ceremony at the Fillmore, was underwhelming.

There’s plenty of chatter on the internet about how the DMA’s are a joke. I don’t think they are a joke, but something has to be done to encourage the award organizers to help celebrate the huge depth of talent we have here.

Now see, I’m repeating myself already. Jeez, Eve Doster wrote pretty much that very thing for us back in 2007, and I’m sure people were saying it before then.

But it’s true. If the past few years are to be believed, Jill Jack and Carolyn Striho are the only acoustic singer / songwriter-y types worth giving a crap about around here. I like Carolyn and Jill, but nothing could be further from the truth.

There’s a metal category that doesn’t include Battlecross, who this year signed with Metal Blade Records and toured the country with some of the biggest names in the genre, not to mention the Black Dahlia Murder.

That’s why people get angry. Look at last year’s nominees and this year’s, and it’s very, very close to the same list. Then Striho, Jack and Ty Stone simply swap awards.

Again, no offense to the people that won. They are all awesome. But the simple truth is as follows – justify it how you want, but to be taken seriously across the board the awards has to introduce some sort of “spirit of rotation”.

On the plus side, the performances were great. The Pleasure Seekers rolled back the years despite missing their most famous sibling, Black Milk killed it early on, and Savage Grace, backed by the Grande Ballroom All-Stars threw down some classic Detroit rock.

But if there has to be a star, it was undoubtedly Amy Gore, performing with both Gorevette and Her Valentines. There are few songwriters not just in Detroit but in the world right now who can write songs as fun, gritty and downright dance-worthy as Gore and, whether she was flanked by Jackson Smith or Nikki Corvette, Gore simply ruled the night. On a night when the awards were being dished out all over the place, Amy Gore looked like the real winner.

I still have big hopes and an open mind that next year will be better.

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