Nickelback scores Juno hat trick
VANCOUVER ó The Dark Horse turned out to be a sure thing.
Can-Rock icons and Juno frontrunners Nickelback won a triple crown at the Juno Awards last night, easily galloping to victory on the strength of their best-selling 2008 album Dark Horse.
The Hanna, Alta., quartet fronted by singer-guitarist Chad Kroeger took home trophies for Group of the Year and Album of the Year, in addition to winning the Juno Fan Choice Award.
Indeed, the band dominated the two-hour show virtually from beginning to end, opening the broadcast with a pyro-filled performance of Something in Your Mouth from Dark Horse ó the best-selling Canadian album of 2008 ó and taking home the final trophy of the night for Album of the Year.
“The press is going to hate this tomorrow,” laughed Kroeger, referring to the band’s reputation among critics. “The press is going to have a field day with this.”
Later, he elaborated backstage on the band’s relationship with the media.
“We’re a very mainstream band. That’s not very popular among the press,” he said. “But that’s OK; that’s the kind of music our fans like.
“Actually, I’m terrified now because it seems you’re almost letting up on us a bit. So if you wanna go back to beating us up, I’m fine with that. I want this roller coaster to go along just as it is.”
He added he was surprised the band won the Fan Choice Award.
“I was hoping for Hedley,” he admitted. “I really love those guys. I wanted them to win badly.”
Kroeger, whose brother Mike is Nickelback’s bassist, also thanked his mom onstage “for giving birth to half the band” and Dark Horse producer Mutt Lange for moving into his house for months to work on the disc.
Dark Horse surpassed two pop-punk discs (Hedley’s Famous Last Words and Simple Plan’s self-titled third album) and two popular Quebec releases (Sylvain Cossette’s í70s Volume 2 and gypsy-jazz trio The Lost Fingers’ Lost in the í80s) to take the album honours. Nickelback also defeated Great Big Sea, Simple Plan, The Trews and Tokyo Police Club in the Group of the Year category. The public voted to give Nickelback the Fan Choice prize over Celine Dion, Feist, Hedley and The Lost Fingers.
While Nickelback finished at the front of the pack, they weren’t the only winners during Sunday night’s ceremony held at General Motors Place. Sam Roberts won Artist of the Year, taking home his second trophy of the weekend ó the Montreal pop-rocker’s Love at the End of the World CD won Rock Album of the Year at Saturday night’s non-televised event. Likewise, rapper Kardinal Offishall snared Rap Recording of the Year for his album Not 4 Sale, adding to the Single of the Year award he was given on Saturday for the hit Dangerous. Other award winners announced Sunday were Toronto synth-popster Lights (who won New Artist of the Year) and Dallas Green of City and Colour (who took Songwriter of the Year for tunes from his Bring Me Your Love CD).
The tattooed Green played one of those numbers ó Sleeping Sickness ó during the broadcast, accompanied by special guest vocalist Gord Downie of Tragically Hip. It was one of several collaborative performances peppered throughout the show. Hometown hero Bryan Adams was joined by roots-rocker Kathleen Edwards on fiddle for an acoustic version of his song Walk On By. Rising country star Crystal Shawanda, R&B diva Divine Brown and pop-rocker Serena Ryder ó the latter two Juno winners on Saturday night ó performed their hits back-to-back. Idiosyncratic pop-rocker Hawksley Workman and members of Eccodek took to the stage with Great Big Sea for a show-stopping (and show-closing) rendition of Led Zep’s Gallows Pole. Other performers included Sam Roberts Band (who sprinted through a crackling version of Them Kids), Humanitarian Award winner Sarah McLachlan (backed by a full band on a lush rendition of U Want Me 2), double-winners The Stills (who justified their Best New Group and Alternative Album wins with a stylish performance of Being Here) and Simple Plan (who wooed the girls with the power ballady Your Love is a Lie).
Extra star power was supplied by a list of presenters that included Buffy Sainte-Marie and k.d. lang, Hedley, Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, R&B singers Deborah Cox and Kreesha Turner, chanteuse Sarah Slean, last year’s big winner Feist, superstar couple Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, and producer Bob Rock, who inducted Loverboy into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Standup comic Russell Peters tried to be funny for the second year in a row as host, taking the stage with a Bollywood-meets-B-Boy dance routine, venturing into the crowd to heckle celebrities (“Looks like somebody’s been eating for the weekend,” he said to rotund Loverboy singer Mike Reno) and poking fun at the bizarre set, which mixed high-tech video screens and moving lights with psychedelic vegetation.
“I know this is Vancouver, but what’s with the grow-op onstage?” he cracked. “Do you know what the street value of this stage is?”
Last Night’s Winners:
Group of the Year
Album of the year
Dark Horse, Nickelback
Juno Fan Choice
Artist of the Year
New Artist of the Year
Songwriter of the Year
Dallas Green (Waiting …, Sleeping Sickness, The Girl from Bring Me Your Love by City & Colour)
Rap Recording of the Year
Not 4 Sale, Kardinal Offishall
Juno Quips and Quotes
“Who knew I had boobs?” ó Roots-rocker Kathleen Edwards on her revealing gown.
“I’m on Lipitor!” ó Mike Reno
“Knock, knock. Who’s there? Brown people. Now give me a million dollars.” ó Michael BublÈ, summing up Russell Peters’ act.
“It should be called Best Group We’ve Just Heard Of.” ó Dave Hamelin of the decade-old band The Stills on their Best New Group award.
“Get enough sleep, take a bath now and then, don’t miss the airplane … If you’re a singer, learn how to dance. It keeps you skinny!” ó Buffy Sainte-Marie’s career advice to young artists.
“She made me fall in love with the thing I thought I would never fall in love with in my life ó and that was the fanny pack.” ó Serena Ryder on Buffy Sainte-Marie.
“We always get excited at the Junos, and then we have to practise the happy-for-the-other-person face.” ó Chris Thorsteinson of country-pop trio Doc Walker, who won their first Juno on their fourth nomination.
JUNOS IN BRIEF
TV viewers weren’t the only ones who got to see one of Sarah McLachlan’s rare recent live performances. The singer-songwriter and recipient of this year’s Allan Waters Humanitarian Award treated reporters backstage to a brief a cappella version of the chorus from her song Aida at the request of one scribe. McLachlan also explained why it’s been six years since she released her last album. “I am writing; it’s slow,” she said, explaining that she spent the last six months promoting her Greatest Hits album, celebrating Christmas with her family and dealing with a three-month bout of laryngitis. “I just didn’t feel like writing and working when I couldn’t sing.” Fair enough; but judging by her impromptu backstage performance, she’s now officially out of excuses.
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK:
There’s hope for you yet, nerds. Synth-pop starlet Lights ó winner of this year’s Best New Artist Juno ó may look out of your league, but she’s actually a comic-book geek at heart. “I’m definitely a fan of comic books,” she confessed backstage after her win. “I actually have my own biographical comic Ö I read Wonder Woman.” She also wears her: Lights’ back is decorated with a tattoo of Wonder Woman battling a giant monster. And if that isn’t cool enough for you, she also has a pet tarantula. You know what? On second thought, she really is out of your league after all.
Nickelback scores Juno hat trick