Variety of acts acknowledged at the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards in Melbourne

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Held at the very cool art space, Revolt in Melbourne, the seventh annual Jagermeister Independent Music Awards was a refreshingly brilliant and fair dinkum night showcasing Aussie music at its rawest and most intriguing.

Walking through the smoke haze and skull graffiti popping from the brick wall at the entrance to the venue, you could already smell the Jager shots and feel the laidback music industry vibe. No pretensions to be had here. It was to be a night of pats on the back for a job well done – recognition for hard work; for the years of playing in crappy backwater pubs and out of the way bars. It was a night to celebrate independence and to recognise raw home-grown talent.

Hosted by the truly seamless MC magician that is Dylan Lewis, the awards kicked off with a heartfelt speech by one of record label Elefant Traks’ founders, Tim Levison (aka: Urthboy), who has pioneered independent music in Australia since 1998. Levison is also a founding member of hip-hop group, The Herd, as well as a music producer. He reiterated the importance of independent record labels in Australia and the passion and dedication that comes with supporting Aussie music and its independent musicians.

Presenters that joined Dylan Lewis on stage included Lindsay ‘The Doctor’ McDougal from Triple J, Oh Mercy lead singer Alexander Gow, Adalita Srsen from Magic Dirt, two halves of Stonefield. and Tim Rogers. Hilarity and high-jinx ensued, as Lewis took a few swigs from his Jager bottle and made it a prerequisite to hug every presenter that came on stage, which lead to some fantastically awkward moments, all luckily captured on Channel V’s recording of the night’s proceedings. Evidently cable television has very lax monitors when it comes to dropping the C bomb, which Dylan did, twice. Needless to say it was very funny and refreshing to know the host could pretty much say whatever the hell he felt like, including whispering under his breath that he was ‘so racist’ when chatting to Jagermeister’s brand manager, who happened to be Czechoslovakian. It’s okay, Dylan, we didn’t understand what he was talking about either.

But I digress. On to the winners! The effervescent and cute-as-a-button, Miss Lanie Lane (above) took out the award for Best Blues & Roots Album for To The Horses, and followed it up with a wonderful performance of her track, Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With A Cowboy.

Hip-hop outfit Hermitude (accepting award, above) gave a rocking performance of their track, Speak Of The Devil, complete with choreographed dance moves by a group of possibly flash mobsters. They also took away the award for Best Dance/Electronica Album for HyperParadise.

360 (looking very chuffed, above) took out the award for Best Independent Hip-Hop Album, for his second album, Falling & Flying, while The Jezabels won the Best Independent Artist Award for the second year running. The award for Best Independent Label went to Elefant Traks, who, as mentioned previously, manage artists such as Hermitude, The Herd, Sietta and Horroshow.

Chet Faker (aka: Nick Murphy, above) was the night’s only dual winner, taking out the awards for both Best Single/EP for his critically acclaimed Thinking In Textures and Breakthrough Independent Artist. Watch out for this man, as he is a definite star on the rise. With a surprise performance on the night of his beautiful track I’m Into You, Chet Faker is a truly soulful and marvellous performer. A very worthy winner indeed and my new favourite Aussie independent.

Speaking of favourites, the amazing Paul Kelly performed his latest track, and quite frankly he was a genuine highlight of the evening and remains a stalwart figure within the Australian music industry.

And to close the show, Tim Rogers (below) and The Bamboos performed a rollicking version of their track I Got Burned as the night’s proceedings wrapped up in just over an hour. Enough time for everyone in attendance to be eager for the bar to re-open and for the after-party to begin. Until next year, raise your glasses to independent music in Australia, and may your bottle never, ever run dry.  Lara Antonelli