Monday, April 19, 2010

Electric 2010 Junos Heats up St. John's and Canadian living rooms

The two hour broadcast of the 2nd Juno awards show in St. John's in 9 years was electric, fast paced, with a heavily music based component to the show rather than a more host(s)-centered show. There were two venues for the broadcast, the main Mile One Centre, and a live feed from a lively sardine-packed George Street.

The live awards show kicked off with rap group Classified rapping their crowd supported "Oh ... Canada". The trio walked, rap-danced through the crowd of possibly 1000's of George St. fans, chasing the camera, as an aerial cam panned the group making the way through. They ended their performance on a circle in Prince Edward Park, which immediately was sequed by the announcer to inside Mile One where fan favorite Michael Bublé took the stage to sing his hit, "Haven’t Met You Yet".

At first, it appeared, at least on my tube that the sound was somewhat stifled, but it improved toward the end of his performance. The crowd reacted with enthusiastic appreciation, and was acknowledged by the BC crooner.

Bublé went on to win three Junos during the night, and shutting out teen fave, Justin Bieber. Whenever, either of their names or appearances was announced, the fans harmonized well practiced screaming. A few other acts were prominent during the night. K'Naan, and Drake both picked up two, they are hip hop and rap artists, which seemed to get plenty of exposure in the broadcast, with Drake taking the stage to sing three different times, and two for K'Naan. It is not surprising, as rapper Drake had been a big hit at the Grammys, and thus, is a hope for the less than super hot Canadian music industry right now.

For this blogger, the most energetic, and riveting highlight was the explosive sounds of rock group Billy Talent. Their song "Saint Veronica" had a hard edged, catchy melody, but carefully crafted sound that makes their music recognizable as Billy Talent. With great guitar riffs, combined with vocal cord shredding screeches by their lead singer, and solid bass and drums, their interesting hooks and stage presence was the most magnetic stage act of the night - interesting lyrics to "Saint Veronica" as well.

The 2010 Junos will also be remembered for the amazing creative and eye-catching stage design. Icebergs were the backdrop scene, which could also have been versions of west coast mountain ranges, and would have been appropriate since the west coast representation were such a big part of the show.

The iceberg set design allowed many different images, lights, strobe effects, and variations to keep the generation of short-attention span audiences, still stimulated by them. The iceberg light, and image patterns were changed for different performances. For example, in parts of the Billy Talent song, when the song reached a momentum point, the whole iceberg set design lit up bright all of the bergs at once to coincide with the particular musical high point. It was executed with excellent timing, and effect to compliment the emotional energy created by the band's fantastic song.

In 2002, St. John's was a big hit with Juno organizers, being the first city to host the Junos on the road. This year has outdone that first Juno event, and the broadcast will be seen as successful event.

Congratulations to NL musician Amelia Curran on winning for the best traditional/roots category.

As a broadcast, it depends on your perspective how you would describe it. From this one, it was mostly exciting, well planned, generally smooth flowing, with nice production direction, coordinating crews, personalities, and two crowded venues. Up to the time of the blog post, there have not been many show reviews nationally. There certainly have been no negative comments so far. The Vancouver Sun said it was a "a potentially tame awards show, uplifted by the energy of fresh blood into the Canadian music canon"

It was tame perhaps, but had some gracious moments, which from this blog view is much more pleasing than some other obnoxious music awards shows internationally.


ViewPoint2010 said...

Great review Charlie! Interesting to see the way they're packaging Justin, the kid. NTV had pictures of him walking on the red carpet, signing autographs, surrounded by 12 foot, 800 pound bodyguards while a couple of guys from Billy Talent kinda sauntered along, did an interview with Tony Marie and kept sauntering. They mentioned Justin wanted to meet them during sound check and the first thing they saw was the phalanx of bodyguards. Maybe a little overdone methinks. I also loved it when Ed Roberts from the Ladies told Bubar from that the stage that he might break the kid's heart by taking the Juno away from him ... turns out Ed was right! Guess I'm a little too old to appreciate the pop sweetness of Justin, but I thought for someone with the rep that precedes him, his acoustic set was pretty lame. I thought the four back up Asian guys had more going for them in terms of life.

Charlie said...

I think Canadian talent scouters and producers borrowed a formula, the "boy band" formula to package Mr. Bieber. As they age out of teen cuteness, and/or just don't cut it anymore, another youth will be found to fill the core ingredient of that lucrative formula. Yes, that number was not too exciting, and I chuckled too at the line about taking the award away from a child. Thanks for your thoughts VP.