by Dan Bolles
Hear me now and believe me later: I will not mention the Red Sox again until at least October.
I went most of the year with nary a sports-related post, and they were the best team in the American League. I write one (mildly) comical post about my beloved Beantown nine and they self-destruct. Can those two things possibly be related, you ask? As any self-respecting Sox fan worth their Nomah jersey will tell you, yes. Yes, they can. We're that superstitious.
So that's that. I am declaring a sports moratorium from now until such time as it is reasonably safe to bring up the topic again (which quite honestly could be never).
Moving on, let's talk about the Seven Daysies awards, shall we?
Last Friday night was our annual Daysies awards party at the ECHO Center in Burlington. If you've never been, it is quite the to-do. The place is always mobbed with local luminaries dressed to the nines boozing and schmoozing like it's a post-Oscars party. In short, it is a lot of fun. And this year was no exception. Well, at least what little of the party I was able to attend.
You see, everyone who works for 7D has a specific job to on the big day in order for us to pull this thing off. In previous years, I was responsible for helping to set up the sound equipment because, as the "music guy," it is presumed that I know something about setting up PA equipment — I don't.
Anyway, this year 7D threw me a curveball, assigning me to oversee our weekly Friday night "Up Your Alley" concert series at Red Square with two of our interns from 5p.m. to 7 p.m. Just so we're clear, someone actually thought it would be a good idea to send the music editor and two college kids to the bar for two hours prior to the party. Seriously, that was my job for this year's Daysies. Awesome. Anyway, long story short, I couldn't make it to the ECHO Center until the party was about half over. We'll just leave it at that.
During the course of my Daysies carousing, I had several interesting conversations — with folks who shall remain nameless — concerning the need to revamp the music categories. I have to say, I kind of agree. While the old standbys do a decent job of recognizing the usual supects, there is room for improvement. The fact of the matter is that said usual suspects are going to win, year in and year out. Which is not say those folks are undeserving. Merely that we could do a better job of recognizing people for whom there simply isn't a legit category they can win.
My favorite suggestion from Friday night was to create a "Best Small Live Music Venue" award. The current category, "Best Live Music Venue," will always go to Higher Ground — and Nectar's will always be the runner-up. And I can't really argue with that. But here's the thing, the vast majority of venues in and around the state are — drum roll, please — small.
The Monkey House, Radio Bean and the Skinny Pancake (among others) are all deserving of Daysies recognition. Will any of those joints ever compete with HG or Nectar's? Nope. Not a chance. But why should they have to?
Going a step further, I would also like to see a category for "Best Live Music Venue Outside of Chittenden County." We do it for "Best Dance Club," ferchrissakes. How does it make sense not to have a similar category for places like Langdon Street, the Black Door or the Bees Knees? Answer: it doesn't.
Some other ideas:
Best New VT Band: I could swear we used to do this, maybe even as recently as last year. I love this category. (My vote for this year: a tie bewteen Rough Francis and Strength in Numbers)
Best College/Independant Radio Station: VPR will usually win the biggie. And they should. But how 'bout some love for the little guys? (My vote: WRUV barely nudges out the Radiator, mostly because of the sheer awesomeness of Exposure)
Best Music Festival/Outdoor Concert Series: Yeah, we have a "Best Fest" category that will always go to Jazz Fest or Brew Fest. That's cool. But why not recognize the Champlain Valley Folk Fest, or the NEKMF or even the WOKO Country Club Music Fest? Again, these guys are never going to stack up against Jazz Fest, or even Brew Fest. And again, they shouldn't have to. (My vote: I'll abstain here, though I think NEKMF probably wins a popular vote)
Best Music Journalist: OK, totally (mostly) kidding about this one.
So that's my two cents. If you could, what music categories would you most like to see in the Daysies?