I used to schedule my life around this show, but after a year not focussed on music – but very focussed on the weather – I felt left out and didn’t care for most of the acts. Down With Webster, yes. Neil Young, yes. Shania, YES!!! Arcade Fire, YES!! YES!!

Arcade Fire heats up Junos
Arcade Fire continued to blaze brightly at Sunday night’s Juno Awards in Toronto. The Montreal indie-rockers won a leading four trophies including album and alternative album for The Suburbs, along with group and songwriter of the year.
“We’re so happy,” said frontman Win Butler as they picked up their first award for best group.
“I want to just give a shout-out to all the bands that we kind of came up with from Royal City to Hidden Cameras to The Unicorn to Wolf Parade and all the amazing Canadian bands and thank you so much. We’re so honoured.”
The only category Arcade Fire personally lost was producer of year to Daniel Lanois on Saturday night during the non-televised Juno gala dinner, where the first 32 awards were handed out.
Arcade Fire’s quadruple victory on home turf followed the band winning best album at the Grammys in a genuine surprise earlier this year.
Two days after the Grammys, the Montreal band also won two prominent Brit Awards for best international group and best international album.
“It’s a long way from Sneaky Dees — the first place we played in Toronto,” said Butler on Sunday night.
“We’re overwhelmed,” said band member Richard Reed Parry. “Thank you to Montreal, our home where we all live. Thank you to Toronto, where we first had exciting shows. We’d also really like to say thank you to Neil Young.”
The 2011 Junos’ only other two multiple award winners — Neil Young and Justin Bieber with two each — were representative of the Canadian music old guard and new guard as the awards themselves celebrated their 40th anniversary on Sunday night.
Young won artist of the year, and the previously announced Allan Waters Humanitarian Award as founder of both Farm Aid and the Bridge School Benefit, adding to his best adult alternative album win on Saturday night for Le Noise, produced by Lanois.
“What year is this?” asked Young when he beat out Arcade Fire and Bieber for best artist. “Man, I am totally surprised. Arcade Fire — what a great performance that was — they’re a great group. Justin Bieber! What can you say? … It’s totally incomprehensible that I’m here but it’s a great honour. Oh, Canada!”
Bieber, who was on tour in Rotterdam on Sunday night, picked up trophies for the Juno fan choice award and best pop album for My World 2.0.
“Thank you so much for being so supportive,” said Bieber on a pre-taped video acceptance speech for the Fan Award. “You guys have been incredible. 2011 has been absolutely crazy.”
Unfortunately for Juno host and local rapper Drake, he was only left holding a microphone and not much else as the leading six-time nominee lost in every single category he was up for — album, fan Choice, artist, album, songwriter, single and rap recording in a surprise win for the lesser-known Shad.
Drake opened the show with a skit that featured the 17-year-old Bieber on Skype where he asked the host to say hi to Juno performer Sarah McLachlan for him: “I’ve been listening to her since I was a kid,” before they both traded verses on McLachlan’s I Will Remember You.
“You my friend have the voice of a young rabbi,” said Drake.
Drake followed that skit up with a loungey presentation of songs with pianist Chilly Gonzalez including a tune for Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Shania Twain.
“You’re from Timmins, I’m from Toronto, you worked at McDonald’s and I eat McDonald’s, we should be together … Man, I’d like to make you feel like a woman baby,” he sang.
During the video tribute to Twain, both Anne Murray and Taylor Swift made appearances, while friend Bryan Adams presented the Hall of Fame award.
“I really am turning into such a sap,” said a teary Twain.
“This is just a very beautiful moment for me. I’m really so proud of Canada’s talent. I sit here tonight in the audience and I watch these amazing new artists up here on the stage … they are just blowing me away. I have more pride in what the country has created musically than I am even of my own success. This is a beautiful country. I feel like I should just be wearing the Canadian flag tonight. I want to just say … I love our lakes, I love our bush, and, most of all, I love our people.”
Toronto’s Broken Social Scene went home empty-handed. They lost out on group and alternative album to Arcade Fire, video (they lost to Hedley’s Perfect) and music DVD (Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage took that trophy home).
However, their recording package for Forgiveness Rock did win for its arts directors, designers and photographers on Saturday night over the team behind Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.
Another surprise win was London, Ont., pop singer-songwriter Meaghan Smith who picked up best new artist over better-known Hannah Georgas and Quebec’s Bobby Bazini.
Other performers included Down With Webster, Hedley, Tokyo Police Club, Johnny Reid, Broken Social Scene, Chromeo and Arcade Fire.
Winners during Sunday night’s Juno Awards telecast from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre:
Justin Bieber
Wavin’ Flag, Young Artists for Haiti
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
Neil Young
Arcade Fire
Meaghan Smith
Arcade Fire
My World 2.0, Justin Bieber