And the Best Industry Event of the Year Award Goes to…The Alternative Press Music Awards!
It’s always difficult to get an entire group of attendees to agree on the quality of an event, but in this case, there doesn’t seem to be any disagreement: The Alternative Press Music Awards were a total and utter success from start to finish. The APM Awards, the artists involved, and the pictures from the memorable night the continue to trend, even after several days, on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and every other app the cell-phone savvy use these days. People cannot stop talking about how outstanding the Awards were.
Let’s start out with what led up to the big event, held at Voinovich Park in Cleveland Ohio with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the perfect background. The evening before the actual awards show there was a pre-party (which we previewed for you here) at the House of Blues and a cruise from 1-4pm on the Goodtime III cruise ship featuring Marmozets, Ghost Town and Issues, who had all taken a break from the Vans Warped Tour to perform. The night of the Awards, Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, joined by co-hosts CM Punk (WWE) and Juliet Simms (a former contestant on “The Voice” and now the lead singer of Automatic Loveletter) hosted the red carpet pre-show, setting the stage for the incredible evening about to unfold for the 6000+ attendees, the artists, and everyone watching from home.
Now, a little background as to how the event came to be, who was involved in its creation, and in whose honor it was held: for those of you who are totally oblivious to the editorial world, even the really cool publications that cover the whole spectrum of entertainment, Alternative Press Magazine, founded by Michael Shea, is turning 30 years old in 2015, and the awards show ~ spotlighting the who’s who in music today, paying tribute to those who have already built their legacies but are far from “over,” and welcoming the performers who are the music scene’s future ~ was the perfect way to celebrate them all. Alternative Press has always been known for its uncanny ability to predict who and what is going to be relevant and “the next big thing” way before anyone else, and many of artists who took part in the event mentioned with great appreciation that their first magazine cover appearances ever were on Alternative Press, and that AP was instrumental in launching their careers.
If you’re thinking that the last thing the music industry needed was another awards show, you’re wrong ~ what it needed, and got, was a truly exceptional awards show unlike any other.
Thanks to seasoned event producer Josh Bernstein, the incredible team he put together, and sponsors like Monster Energy, Gibson, AXS TV, Fueled by Ramen, Journeys, Roadrunner Records, Blackstar Amplification, DW Drums, and many others ~ including management teams, PR firms (like our friends Adrenaline PR), the band themselves, set-up crews, promoters ~ who worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail was in place, this may have been the finest celebration of music in 2014 ~ and it was an honor to be part of the festivities. It goes without saying that Hall of Fame inductions and the GRAMMY Awards are hugely significant in their own right, but (and keep in mind that this was the first year of the APMAs…just imagine what’s in store for subsequent years!), but this event approached everything from a whole new perspective, updating the typical, predictable awards show format and bringing new life to the celebration of music and musicians. AP created an atmosphere that was a pleasure for artists and guests (including those who were not able to attend in person but caught the broadcast on AXS TV) alike and proved not only their dedication to the music industry, but why their reputation is as impeccable as it is, why they are genuinely beloved by all the musicians they’ve helped promote, and why 30 years is just the beginning for them…
How did the APMA create an event that was so innovative and entertaining for all? They made it about the music kids listen to today, the music that those of us who were kids a while back went crazy for and still do, and by bringing together today’s hottest, up-and-coming acts with the artists who influenced them (and still do), they made the entire night about collaboration, appreciation, erasing the lines between past and present, uniting genres, and paying tribute to the power of Music and to all those who take it seriously.
How about having Falling in Reverse perform “Gangsta’s Paradise” with Tyler Carter (Issues)? Or coordinating the appearance by the one and only Coolio? Then there were The Misfits declaring that they “…make dreams come true…?” before joining Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides (whom they had just met!) for “Dig Up Her Bones” and “Die, Die My Darling.” And what about the seemingly unstoppable Asking Alexandria, with singer Danny Worsnop dressed in his all white, 80s flashback suit, coming out to play Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” and being joining by Korn’s Jonathan Davis? Where else would we ever have gotten to witness that kind of musical fraternity or even such a diverse group of artists at the same event, never mind performing on stage together? No-where, that’s where.
There were so many highlights in addition to the aforementioned collaborations and the overall spirit and attention paid to every last detail of the entire event that in all honesty, the entire APMAs were one continuous highlight ~ but I’ll share a few more to show what a wide net the event cast. Ice T (with his dogs and band Body Count) came out to lay down the “ground rules” of the event (and when Ice lays down the rules, people listen), Andy Biersack came down off the stage to give the Black Veil Brides’ most dedicated fan award to a member of the audience (a moment she’ll no doubt never forget!), Billy Corgan (Vanguard Award winner) of the Smashing Pumpkins ended his speech with, “I like to think that I’m receiving this in humility because I’m willing to push your buttons, because I’m willing to tell you to go fuck yourself. I didn’t start a band to be anybody’s bitch, I started a band to kick your fucking head in…,” and Fall Out Boy playing “The Phoenix” to close out the show, which no-one wanted to see come to an end.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra and conductor Liza Grossman, who were a presence onstage throughout most of the show, performing with both the opening and closing artists and many in between with big grins on their faces; the kids brought a sense of joy that in a way signified the importance of exposure to music for every single generation, and their reactions were not lost on the artists, many of whom made it a point to acknowledge them onstage as well as off, taking pictures with their young fans/nascent fellow musicians.
And the actual Awards portion of the evening was a total and welcome departure from the “perfect time for a bathroom break,” stuffy, usually awkward presentations to which we’ve become accustomed. Two of the evening’s award recipients ~ two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee and Alternative Press’s 2014 Icon Award winner (whose Award was sponsored by Blackstar Amplification) Joan Jett, who gave a heartfelt acceptance of her Icon award ~ was joined onstage by Slash, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and 2014 AP Guitar Legend (as of that night, after he was presented with the Award, sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry ~ and as you probably know, the two are great friends and they and their respective bands are currently on tour together). The two performed the obscure “Star, Star” by The Rolling Stones with phenomenal results; there’s no doubt that twosome would never have been put together ~ by anyone else but Bernstein and the AP.
That, my friends, is the perfect segue to listing all the Skully winners from that night (and remember that you can watch the entire event as well as clips on the AP site):
Best Vocalist presented by Victory Records – Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco
Best Live Band presented by Vans Warped Tour – Pierce The Veil
Breakthrough Band presented by Beats Music – Crown The Empire
Best Bassist presented by Dyin 2 Live – Jaime Preciado, Pierce The Veil
Best International Band presented by Zepeda Brothers Productions – Bring Me The Horizon
Artist Philanthropic Award presented by Sub City/Take Action – All Time Low
Best Guitarist presented by Gibson – Phil Manansala, Of Mice & Men
Vanguard Award presented by AXS TV – Billy Corgan
Best Drummer presented by DW Drums – Mike Fuentes, Pierce The Veil
Icon Award presented by Blackstar Amplification – Joan Jett
Most Dedicated Fans presented by Fearless Records – Black Veil Brides
Guitar Legend Award presented by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Slash
Song Of The Year presented by Epitaph Records – All Time Low w/Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil
Album Of The Year presented by Journeys – Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal
Artist Of The Year presented by Monster Energy – Fall Out Boy
Since no-one wanted to see the four-hour show come to an end, the bands, sponsors, and VIPs headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and continued the party there. People were checking out the exhibits, testing their knowledge of rock history, drinking, taking pictures, forming new friendships, and enjoying another couple of hours of music that spontaneously broke out. For me, my friends, and a bunch of the artists, the post-party turned into a post-post-party back at the hotel and the feelings were unanimous ~ with 30 years as a trendsetter/benchmark of excellence in both the publishing and music industries plus a hugely successful inaugural awards show under its belt, The Alternative Press remains the ultimate combination mainstream-yet-not-mainstream lifestyle outlets there and music fans of all ages and tastes owe them a “Thank you!” for what they’ve done and continue to do.
Be sure to visit The Alternative Press’s website, Follow them on Facebook, and Follow FlashWounds, too ~ There are always some cool extras on our main page and on Lara’s that you won’t find on the site!