This Sunday is the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. There has been a bit of muttering about moving the event to Iowa, but you won't hear it from me. The Holland, while regal and impressive, is anything but fun. During past year's award ceremonies, most of the crowd spent the evening in the lobby drinking, because they wouldn't let us bring our booze back to ours seat for fear that you might stain one of their blonde-wood seats. No one cares about such things at the MAC Center, and the organizers have all but promoted the award show as some sort of drunkfest. Good for them. It certainly will be more laidback, if not chaotic.
Anyway, I'll be there again this year. But before I go, here's my list of who will win and who I voted for (or who should have won). As I've said before, the OEAAs are now considered by most folks in the scene as a "Benson thing," which is great for Benson but not so good for the rest of the city (and Lincoln). Oh well, onto the awards:
Singer/songwriter Alternative: I voted for Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies based on the strength of their debut album, which came out at the beginning of '09. A year later and most folks have forgotten about it, unfortunately. The winner will be It's True, because Hawkins and his crew are red hot right now, and are about to put out a new album.
Alternative/Indie: It's True will win this one as well. I'm telling you, folks, the "It Band" of the moment. I voted for Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, a local guy with national presence, and even though I didn't care for their last album, Conor and his boys clearly eclipsed anyone else locally.
Blues: Kris Lager Band seems to be the favorite here. I voted for Son of 76 & the Watchmen, a band that I discovered last year through the OEAA showcase series.
Folk/Roots/Americana/Blue Grass: Black Squirrels will win this easily. They have a large fan base and voting block. I voted for Outlaw Con Bandana, whose songwriting style is more to my liking.
Hard Rock: Very likely Emphatic will win since news of the band's deal with Atlantic Records broke during the voting period. I voted for Bloodcow.
DJ: Brent Crampton is recognized as the guru of local house/club music, and he'll win it again this year. And I voted for him.
Ethnic / World Music: It'll probably go to Rhythm Collective, whose name seems to pop up a lot these days. I voted for The Turfman, which has been one of the best ethnic (and true folk) bands in Omaha for decades.
Gospel: Either Salem Baptist or Sacred Heart choirs will win, as they should. I voted for Salem Baptist.
Hard Rock / Metal / Punk: A poorly named category since there already is a Hard Rock category, Emphatic will feel stupid picking up two trophies for the same category. I again voted for Bloodcow, who wouldn't mind at all picking up two trophies.
Hip Hop / Rap: Could go to El Genius. I voted for Conchance, who emerged last year as one of the most creative musical acts in the area.
Jazz/Standards/Easy Listening: It's sad that anyone would include "Jazz" with "Easy Listening" in a category name. But because they did, Heidi Joy will win, thanks to her immense fan base. I voted for Luigi, Inc.
Soul and R&B: Considering that he's playing at the OEAA ceremony, it will probably be Lucas Kellison. I voted for Son of 76 & The Watchmen.
Rock: Again, a shitty category name. Is it supposed to mean "generic rock"? Regardless, I voted for Box Elders since they had the biggest growth last year. I also think they'll win as people will ignore Cursive due to their success (I know, it makes no sense).
Cover Band: The dumbest category of the OEAA's. You don't see the Grammy's handing out awards to cover bands. Regardless, Secret Weapon will win this. I voted for Zeppelin tribute band The Song Remains the Same.
Best New Artist: It's True will win and It's True got my vote.
Album of the Year: Based on their fan base and the fact that they open for just about every other band's CD release show last year, Black Squirrel's Paying for your Pleasure will win. I voted for Cursive's Mama, I'm Swollen, which was one of my favorite albums of '09.
Tickets to the OEA Awards Show are $20, or $30 with dinner, and are available via Ticketmaster or at the MAC box office. The reception starts at 4:30, the actual show starts at 6 p.m. this Sunday, Jan. 24.
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As I wrote about (here), the Waiting Room will have its true Grand Reopening tonight with a free show featuring Little Brazil, Little Black Stereo, Ground Tyrants and Kyle Harvey. Show starts at 9. Prepare to be amazed.
Tomorrow night the first touring band will perform at the newly remodeled Waiting Room, and it's a doozy -- afro-beat dancemasters NOMO with Satchel Grande. $10, 9 p.m.
There's a ton of other stuff going on this weekend:
Tonight at The Barley St. Tavern, Our Fox (Jake Bellows & friends) take the stage with Ember Schrag. $5, 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night, fIREHOSE tribute band Brave Captain plays at The 49'r with Dragon Vomit. $5, 9:30 p.m.
The Life and Times are playing Saturday night at Slowdown Jr. with Techlepathy and At Land. $8, 9 p.m.
Spiders for Love are at O'Leaver's Saturday with The Sharks and The Biotomic Point. $5, 9:30 p.m.
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