The JunoFest kicked ass and for the most part, Halifax represented itself well over Junos weekend, but the media got the shaft on the evening of the Juno Awards ceremony. Cordoned off from anything remotely accessible to the show, they appeased us with pizza, chips and beer. They even went the extra mile and blacked out the commercials on the big screen TVs we watched the ceremony on while we weren’t interviewing bands. All in all, it was like a Juno Awards party at a friends apartment, only your friends were replaced with well-dressed strangers, cameras lurking in the background and the occasional appearance of a musician.
Those confined to the interview room got the privilege to interview a handful of the winners, although those who did win one of the seven awards handed out – the rest were awarded the night before – proved to be good sound bites. Bands that graced us with their presence included Bedouin Soundclash (best new artist), Broken Social Scene (best alternative album), Black Eyed Peas (best international album, tied with Coldplay) and Michael Buble (what seemed like every remaining award).
Bryan Adams, his performance introduced by an amusing Chris Martin, did not feel inclined to talk to the media about his lifetime/Canadian achievement-whatever-its-called award. Maybe he was afraid of waking up the neighbours (sorry, bad pun). Or maybe he knew someone might ask him what happened to anything that resembled a hit song the last ten years.
In between interviews and chats with fellow journalists – good to see former Daily News music scribe Sandy MacDonald back at work for the CBC – I headed to the loo, mainly to see what else was going on in the convention centre. It was in the bathroom that I ran into Justin Trudeau, who looks like a young Elvis, and Jian Ghomeshi from the soon-to-be defunct CBC radio show The National Playlist. I had a nice chat with Jian, making sure to give props to my music editor Tara Thorne for her selections on her stints with the show. Psst….Someone give this girl a show, already!
Initially I stumbled into the “Red Carpet Room” as I looked for the “regular” media room. It was as if my journalistic spidey-sense had kicked in. Where were the television screens showing the ceremony? Where could I sit that wasn’t occupied by Ben Mulroney and his entourage? Despite the growing uncomfortable feeling in my gut, my instincts taught me to act like I belonged there. But after a minute of watching said eTalk Daily host ham it up with Kardinal Offishall – seriously, get a room you two – I decided the wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor rouge carpet was enough for me and I made a beeline for the exit, past Rick the Temp and his groupies.
After the show, I walked down to the EMI party at Rain, if only because the rumour floating around town during the weekend was that Coldplay was due to play a set. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Martin and the boys were nowhere to be found and the word had quickly changed to them not making the party.
I grabbed a free beer, munched on some tasty hors d'oeuvres, made a few circles around the club past Skye Sweetnam (“Is that a beer in her hand?) and a plethora of swank individuals all probably from Toronto and left it all behind in favor of an order of Halifax-made, Alexandra’s nachos and an earlier bedtime than I had become accustomed to over the past four nights.
For sheer extravagance, Sunday night beat all other nights. However, in east coast flavour and down and dirty Maritime partying, the evening didn’t even come close to Friday or Saturday nights, although the Warner party looked good from the photos in Tuesday’s edition of The Herald. Thanks for nothing, Warner.
To the Junos weekend, thanks for the great times!