The Houston Press Music Awards ceremony is a little like a family reunion where you go just to see what your crazy cousin from Temple might do: Will he pass out on the playground teeter-totter, throw some punches at your uncle, or be a big hit on the dance floor?
Usually you could at least expect one nominee or another to do something mildly outrageous, like A Dream Asleep's T-shirts spelling out "TITS" at the 2010 ceremony, or random winners using their acceptance speeches to rant and rave about something (even us). This year was my fifth HPMA ceremony after taking over as music editor, first after missing last year's show in the hospital, and things are a little different.
Before the ceremony started, I was swapping surgery and prescription stories with Free Press Houston and Summer Fest's Omar Afra, there accepting Best Live Music Venue for Fitzgerald's, and Concert Pub North/Jetspeed Entertainment promoter John Escamilla. Now that's rock and roll.
Everyone played nice, mostly. Although the crowd got a little heated during the announcement of the Best Radio Station nominees, host and The Buzz midday DJ Theresa handled the catcalls with dignity and aplomb.
Local Live Radio, which did win Radio Station, brought onstage everyone who must have ever hosted a show on their Internet frequency, followed closely by the entourage from Space City Records (Best Local Label), Best New Act and Reggae/Ska/Dub winners the Suffers, and Free Radicals, who won Best LP/CD/EP (The Freedom Fence), Best Jazz and Best Song ("Ben Taub Blues") to their already-crowded HPMA trophy case.
The Suffers' Kam Franklin brought "sister" and fellow Best Female Vocals nominee Asli Omar of the Tontons onstage when she won, and Free Rads' Nick Cooper used his speech to talk up a petition he was circulating about the homeless. Gabe Bravo, Best Drummer from Best Rock winners the Trimms, had the HPMA outfit of the evening in a debonair bathrobe and dime-store shades. Nominees PuraPharm, Another Run, Bang Bangz and the Tontons all performed.
Oddly, Skeleton Dick, usually good for an HPMA water-cooler moment or two, wasn't there Wednesday to accept their award for Best Punk/Garage/Hardcore. But no-shows were rare and Warehouse Live stayed full right up until almost the very end. Others who couldn't make it were Robert Ellis (Local Musician of the Year), off on tour, and the Mighty Orq (Best Blues), who had a gig. I guess we'll allow that.
Orq beat Little Joe Washington by exactly three votes -- so see, there was a little drama.
Rocks Off also had a video camera there and gave some of the winners walking offstage the opportunity to get anything they wanted off their chests. We'll have that video for you Friday morning.
Until then, enjoy a few more photos from Wednesday night, and congratulations again to all the winners and nominees.