Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nine is fine: Portland's Best Music Poll 2008

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Thanks to the hundreds of you who ventured out right after work (or perhaps played hooky from work) on Wednesday night to attend our ninth annual BEST MUSIC POLL PORTLAND MUSIC AWARDS SHOW. Some people who had told us last year’s was the best ever told us this one was better than that, to which we can only reply, thanks!

We at the Portland Phoenix are very happy to be able to bring together — at least once a year — the entire Portland music scene, with fans, musicians young and old, sound engineers, mastering people, radio personalities, TV stars, politicians, and activists.

It seems every year something new happens to keep us on our toes — this year’s was THE SECOND-EVER WRITE-IN WIN, by the same guy who landed the first such score two years ago, in the BEST DJ/DANCE ACT category. And we had AN OUTRIGHT TIE for the BEST R&B/SOUL/BLUES ACT, in which readers honored both a relatively new-to-the-scene solo artist and a longtime Portland standby. (You’ll have to keep reading to find out who they are.)

This year also saw the return of RUSTIC OVERTONES to the ballot, and to the stage to accept some awards, which is a wonderful development for their many fans in Maine and around the country. But for the first time ever, Rustic didn’t win every category in which they were nominated. That says far more to us about the quality of the other performers in the scene than it does about Rustic, who didn’t lose a step — or a hop — while they were apart.

There were a lot of people who made this all possible, who deserve our thanks and congratulations. First up is CHRISTOPHER GRAY, who about a year ago half-jokingly assumed the job title “local strong-arm,” as well as “8 Days A Weeker” and “the guy you need to send your listings to.” He put his strong-arm talents to work this year putting the whole show together. And then, when all the planning was done, he donned a very sharp-looking tux and spent the night co-hosting the event, for which we are all very grateful. In what might have been the pinnacle of strong-arming (as well as a stroke of sheer genius), Chris also convinced our staff writer, the lovely and talented DEIRDRE FULTON, to add her zip, humor, and funny gestures to the show.

All the other Phoenicians helped out too, lining up food, hanging banners, staffing the door, cleaning up, and generally making the night go very smoothly, so thanks to them.

And the crew at the ASYLUM were great again this year, keeping the beverages coming, and dishing up finger food to absorb at least some of those drinks. Thanks to BUDWEISER for helping out, and to the BAR OF CHOCOLATE, the FROG & TURTLE, BONOBO, and ANTHONY’S ITALIAN KITCHEN, who collectively supplied as much food as we all wanted.

A quick thanks are also in order to MARK CURDO at WCYY, CHARLIE GAYLORD at WBLM, and the crew at 207 on WCSH CHANNEL 6 for having us on their shows to promote the ballot and the awards show; to the local celebrities who turned out to support the scene; to DOMINIC AND THE LUCID, SARA COX, ROY DAVIS, LABSEVEN, and DJ GRAYMATTER for keeping the tunes on all night long; and to you, the readers, listeners, and supporters of the Portland music scene.

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