Editor's note: If you read Metro Times online, particularly the Music Blahg, then you're familiar with the Wonder Twins, D'Anne and Laura Witkowski. Their humorous commentaries from local shows have grown increasingly popular with our readers, so we thought it best the sisters have a regular column in the paper as well. And what better way to premiere them than by sending them to that bastion of musical controversy, the annual Detroit Music Awards? Here they are ...
The Fillmore Theatre was overflowing with Motor City music luminaries and hopefuls for the 2009 Detroit Music Awards last Friday, April 17. And Metro Times' own Wonder Twins were on hand to observe all the festivities:
D'Anne: This year marked some important anniversaries and events for the Detroit Music Awards.
Laura: Yes, the Motown 50th Anniversary celebration. A tribute to Ron Asheton. An Amboy Dukes reunion. And the first time the DMAs had the Wonder Twins in the house! I was particularly excited that Ted Nugent was there. I was hoping he would autograph my crossbow.
D'Anne: Too bad security did a purse search on the way in.
Laura: Well, this was the first time I'd been to the Fillmore since they changed the name from the State Theatre. It was to see Nick Cave. And then I think he said he'd never play Detroit again after that.
D'Anne: His loss. Detroit really is an awesome city for music. That's the best thing about the DMAs. There really were a lot of people who are involved in and care about the music scene here.
Laura: Agreed. There sure seemed to be a lot of people at the ceremony.
D'Anne: A lot of people looked familiar. Like, "Hey, didn't you have a marginally successful alt-rock single in the '90s?"
Laura: "Or have a part-time job at Harmony House?" I really didn't see a lot of familiar faces from the current music scene, though.
D'Anne: Yeah, a lot of unfamiliar faces. It made it seem like anyone could go up to accept or present an award.
Laura: Accept, yes. Present, no, because of backstage security complications.
D'Anne: Yes. Ted Nugent with his crossbow.
Laura: Exactly. I don't want to judge an awards show by its program, but I am pretty certain that the dance studio my little sisters used to go to had a nicer and more professional program than this event did.
D'Anne: Our little sisters. And I do think it's better to judge an awards show by the gifts they lavish on the people who have media badges.
Laura: So we should judge this show by the copies of SPIN and Ambassador magazines we stole off somebody's chair?
D'Anne: Yes. That and the free T-shirt you got for drinking vodka.
Laura:Well, in that case, I am in love with the Detroit Music Awards!
D'Anne: Yeah. But how about we judge them based on the awards themselves and the star-studded performances? And on that note, I totally called that the Outstanding Christian Act would go to God's Army.
Laura: And you didn't even know who they were. Yet you called it seconds before they announced it.
D'Anne: Stop acting jealous.
Laura: I was really suspicious, though, that every nominee for Outstanding Blues/R&B instrumentalist was a guitarist. It was like you can't play the blues on any other instrument. The oboe, for instance.
D'Anne: Or the blues accordion.
Laura: Yes. I was really looking forward to the Deaf Performing Artists Network performance, by the way.
D'Anne: They deserved their Special Achievement Award. It was seriously cool that they had signers for the entire evening onstage. The lady who did the signing during Mae Day's performance was awesome. Mae Day should make that lady part of her permanent live act.
Laura: Yes. But it's really telling that venues in Detroit are packed every weekend for amazing bands and yet I hardly recognized any of the names for this year's Outstanding Rock/Pop Artist category.
D'Anne: Yeah, I had only heard of Liz Larin and Bump, though I've never actually heard Bump's music.
Laura: Ty Stone, the guy who won that award, thanked Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. I didn't even realize Uncle Kracker was still alive.
D'Anne: Remember when Dad bought the Uncle Kracker CD?
Laura: I don't. I have blocked out painful parts of my childhood.
D'Anne: That wasn't childhood!
Laura: Fine. Emily Rose and the Hard Lessons were two of the few acts I'm a fan of who actually won an award Friday night.
D'Anne: And Deastro too. Even if they did pronounce his name wrong. I wish he had been there to accept. Even better, to perform.
Laura: Me too. But I was particularly fond of the Cats & the Fiddler performance. And I usually hate bluegrass.
D'Anne: But when it's played by child prodigies, it's another color grass entirely. I was a little taken aback by some of their subject matter, though. I mean, what do these kids really know about shoveling coal? And their first song, "Jezebel"? Isn't that name biblical for whore?
Laura: Yep. There's no way these are, like, normal public school children. There has to be some home-schooling going on there. While I was watching them, I thought, "If the Rapture happened right now, these kids would fucking disappear mid-song, God as my witness."
D'Anne: Outstandingly Tacky Attempt At Humor Award surely goes to Paradime for the child predator joke he made right before the kids went onstage.
Laura: Yeah. If you're going to make a child predator joke, at least make it funny.
D'Anne: He should take some lessons from the announcer [MC Serch].
Laura: The announcer reminded me of Fred Willard in Best in Show. Like when he said, "I remember sharing a tube of Chapstick with the next two presenters."
D'Anne: I was devastated Michael Scott didn't win Outstanding Pop/Rock Instrumentalist. He probably wasn't there anyway.
Laura: Like the Raconteurs who — surprise, surprise — weren't there to accept their award for Outstanding Major Label Recording. Maybe Jack White will write a poem about how much this award means to him and even pay to have the trophy shipped to him in Tennessee.
D'Anne: I didn't know Jack wrote poetry.
Laura: You wouldn't. They should've given that award to Ted Nugent. At least he was there.
D'Anne: Indeed, he was. And people went wild for him and the Amboy Dukes reunion. People were even standing up. Which was a lot for this crowd.
Laura: The woman in front of us wasn't standing, exactly. But she was humping her seat.
D'Anne: That wasn't humping. She was bouncing provocatively. And who can blame her? Ted Nugent is a really fucking good guitarist. And I mean that in a nonsexual way. Also sincerely.
Laura: During the Amboy Dukes performance Ted Nugent yelled, "Have I carried the Detroit torch adequately for you people or what?
D'Anne: And he certainly has, because when people think Detroit, they think firearms
Laura: Ted was very chatty. At one point, he said one of his influences told him to never play like a white guy. And this coming from the man who brought us the Damn Yankees
D'Anne: [singing] "Can you take me high enough? To fly me over (fly me over) yesterday?" Come on, Laura! Do the harmony part
Laura: Please stop
D'Anne: Can I just state for the record that I was very disappointed the Nuge didn't wear a zebra-print spandex unitard
Laura: Yeah, that's what he wears in all of your dreams
D'Anne: That is a fact.
Laura: And dreams do not lie.
Go to detroitmusicawards.com for a complete list of the winners.D'Anne and Laura are music critics for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]