Radio 3's hosts and reporters were on hand to witness all the amazing performances at the Polaris Music Prize gala last night. Check out our gallery of images from the night, courtesy of photographer Connie Tsang above.
Here are some highlights from reporter Jesse Kinos-Goodin.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor's, um, acceptance speech?
The Kathleen Edwards swear jar. New this year, in direct relation to the frequently foul-mouthed co-host Kathleen Edwards, guests at tables were encouraged to donate change every time she swore. Or as she put it, "Every time I say f--k, c--t or shit, you have to put money in the jar." Proceeds go to MusiCounts, and needless to say, there were probably a lot of them.
And while we're on the wonderful Kathleen Edwards, we'd just like to thank her for coming out in a unitard promoting Shad's upcoming album, Flying Colours, and then commenting on how "the Shad unitard gives me good camel toe." There are just some things that can't be unsaid.
Purity Ring started off things right with their interactive stage show of lights that reacted to every note they played, almost as if it was an extension of their instruments. When they broke into the second song of their set, a firefly swarm of lights lit up the stage and in turn the entire audience, pulsing with every slam Megan James took on the standup bass drum.
When Colin Stetson breaks out that massive baritone sax, it's hard not to be impressed as the room and everything in it rattles to the core. Or as Edwards so elegantly put it, "boner."
It's good to know that DFA1979's Sebastien Grainger, who introduced Metric, has some new music in the works. "Next year, I'll have two eligible records," he said, adding that last week Metric's James Shaw asked him to present when Lou Reed couldn't make it. "So I'm the second biggest dick in rock and roll. Shocking."
Grainger's intro led to a gorgeous, stripped-down performance of "Breathing Underwater" with just Emily Haines on piano and Shaw on guitar. They should probably make a record of just the two of them. What would you call that? A duel solo album? We'll take it.
When Emily Haines channeled her inner Gord Downie for an impassioned onstage rant about musicians devoting their lives to music, it elicited a few rounds of spontaneous applause. Especially when she said, "I owe my life to everybody in this room."
Without a doubt, Polaris has aged well, and this was the swankiest, best-dressed year yet. The Carlu, with its art deco decor and music history including the likes of Glenn Gould and Frank Sinatra, it was the perfect venue for the Polaris to grow into.
Strombo introduced Tegan and Sara, who weren't at the gala, with a note on bravery and the courage to just go for it. Fitting, considering he used that as an opportunity to get the audience to join in with Choir! Choir! Choir! to sing the twins' smash hit, "Closer." Although clearly the audience didn't take the note on bravery too much to heart, as the onstage choir definitely drowned out any audience participation.
Kathleen Edwards and Shad as Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus, respectively. Enough said.
Whitehorse makes a lot of noise for a roots two-piece, certainly playing "Devil's Got a Gun" loud enough for the jury, sequestered away in their back room, to hear.
Props to Young Galaxy for their all-black-everything ensembles, right down to Catherine McCandless's suspenders.
Bry Webb gave one of the most articulate and heartfelt introductions of the evening for METZ, speaking low enough that even the rowdy drinkers in the back were hushing people. The perfect contrast for METZ, who came out and eviscerated that silence with screaming guitar licks, raw punk-rock energy and blinding white lights.
Zaki Ibrahim's backup singers win for best costumes of the evening, with black leather and shoulder pads decorated with black feathers. Running into one of the singers in the lobby, Nicole, I asked her to describe the costumes, which she said were all from Ibrahim's mind. "I feel like we're fierce warriors."
We've never seen Shad or Kathleen Edwards looking so sharp. With Edwards in a black-and-white gown and Shad in black tux, it's a big change from their usual, let's just say more hoodie-dependent wardrobes.
Last year it was Grimes and Gary the pole dancer, this year it was A Tribe Called Red and the incredible ring dancer they brought, who transformed a series of rings into spiraling globes and flapping birds to the beat of the band's electric powwow. "We'll all leave here floating, just a little," Giller Prize-winning author Joseph Boyden said by way if introduction, and he was right.
Did you watch or attend the Polaris Music Prize gala last night? What were your highlights? Let us know in the comments below.
Radio 3 Staff
on Sep 23, 2013