Powderfinger Dominates Oz's ARIA Awards

Rock band Powderfinger dominated the 15th annual Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) awards tonight (Oct. 3) with six victories at Sydney's Capitol Theatre. The Universal-signed act took bes

Rock band Powderfinger dominated the 15th annual Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) awards tonight (Oct. 3) with six victories at Sydney's Capitol Theatre. The Universal-signed act took best group, while its "Odyssey Number Five" set took the prizes for album, rock album, highest selling album, and cover art. It chart topping single "My Happiness" scored record of the year.

When asked whether the five-piece would pen a political song in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in the U.S., lead singer Bernard Fanning said, "Australia has become so conservative, and become the very country [we're] hoping it would never become. That Muslims are hassled on the streets of Australia in the wake of the American bombing is just embarrassing."

The Brisbane-based five-piece did however perform before the capacity crowd, as did divas Natalie Imbruglia, Dido, and Tina Arena.

Dance act the Avalanches (Modular/EMI) -- who led the field with nine nominations -- took best dance act, best producer, new artist album for "Since I Left You," and new artist single for the title track. Frontman Darren Seltmann accepted the awards with a cast on his broken leg, suffered during an on-stage accident during a recent tour of the U.K.

"We don't feel famous, we certainly don't dress like we're famous," he told the audience, following a remark about the act's success in Britain, where the album charted a top-10 debut earlier this year. The set is due Nov. 6 in North America on London/Sire.

Kylie Minogue, who is enjoying a surge of popularity this year in her homeland, won best pop release for the album "Light Years" (FMR/EMI), and was named best female artist. Nick Cave (Mute/FMR), her partner in the 1996 duet "Where the Wild Roses Grow," took the best male artist accolade.

Among the surprises of the glittering gala were multi-nominees Something For Kate (Sony), You Am I (BMG), and Augie March (BMG) walking away empty handed. Equally unexpected was punk band Art Of Fighting's success in the alternative release category for "Wires" (Trifecta/FMR). John Butler Trio's "Three" (Butler Brown Records) scored the independent release award. Butler wore a t-shirt to the event which declared "War is Terror".

Other victors on the night included veteran singer Slim Dusty's country album award for "Looking Forward Looking Back" (EMI) and Hi Five's children release win for "It's A Party" (Sony). The best-selling single award was handed to pop act Scandal'us for "Me Myself & I" (Song Zu/FMR). HMV
Australia won the retail award, while Nashville-based country artist Keith Urban was given a special achievement award.

During the induction of INXS into the ARIA Hall Of Fame, Australian cricket team captain Steve Waugh explained, "INXS have been making great records since 1978 and a lot of cricket teams have psyched-up listening to INXS' music." Guitarist Tim Ferris later confirmed the band would tour and
record new material next year. "We're going to go into a garage, and be a garage band again."

Australia's Nine Network offered a tape-delayed broadcast and Webcast the event live on its site.