San Cisco swept the board at last night’s WAMi Awards in an evening hosted by Triple J’s Dom Alessio and TV personality Claire Hooper, with the band winning all eight of the awards they were nominated for; including Most Popular Group and Pop Act of the Year. Another of the evening’s big winners was Abbe May who finished the evening with six awards including Most Popular Solo Artist and Rock Act of the Year.
Eskimo Joe opened the evening’s proceedings with a three-song set that featured "Foreign Land" from 2009s Inshalla and "Skies on Fire" from their most recent release Ghosts of the Past. The band was also announced as the inaugural patrons of WAM, a position that will see the band championing the West Australian music scene.
There were also performances from John Butler, who put on an impressive mini set the highlights of which being a beautiful rendition of “Revolution Road” as well as a lovely duet with Mama Kin on “Jenny”. Whilst Dom Mariani accompanied by Hurricane Fighter Plane closed out the awards ceremony with a great guitar driven set.
The awards were wonderfully informal, with speeches optional, though most winners opted to say a few words. There was no real controversy and each win was greeted with equal enthusiasm from the crowd; instead the evening felt like a celebration of the quality and vibrancy of the West Australian music scene.
Other winners who came away with a coveted WAMington’s were The Brow Horn Orchestra (Best Funk Act), Mathas (Best Hip-Hop Act) whilst Ruby Boots took home three awards for Best Folk, Acoustic Roots and Country. The evening also saw John Butler Trio manager Phil Stevens win the 2012 Management Award and Spinning Top Records taking home Record Label of the Year The Gold WAMi went to Life is Noise editor Dave Cutbush, who thanked everyone “who get’s off their asses and goes to see live music”.
Immediately following the awards ceremony, came the closing party, with The Chemist kicked it all off with an impressive set that had all the rawness of old time rock and roll, imbued with some new fangled technical wizardry. Ben Witt put in a solid vocal performance, despite having nearly lost his voice; his graveled vocals giving the songs an ominous Waitsian edge.
The evening’s big winners San Cisco were next up on stage, and produced a set that more than justified their multiple awards. The band are undeniably fun live, they’re upbeat, energetic and clearly enjoy being up on stage. Not content to rest on their successes, the band slipped in a number of new songs, with my personal favourite being “Fred Astaire” which will no doubt be hitting the airwaves before the year is out.
The Voltaire Twins took to the stage next, bringing with them an energized and exciting set. With an impressive mixture of live drumming and electronic beats and synths, the band got the remaining crowd on their feet and dancing. With some striking harmonies, and more than a few pop hooks and catchy choruses, the quartet certainly proved themselves worthy winners of the Electronic Act of the Year.
Recently crowned Most Promising Act Sonpsilo Circus closed out my evening, with a glorious cacophony of guitars bass and drums. Right from the start the band settled straight into a driving rhythm, and never really looked back. The vocals were impassioned and raw, though tended to get a little lost in the mix. But all in all it was loud and rocking end to the weeklong celebration of West Australian music.
For a full list of the winners visit wam.asn.au/wamifestival.