Fast rising alternative-rock act The Jezabels were the big winners Wednesday night at Australia's Independent Music Awards in Melbourne, where they rang up two victories.
The four-piece received gongs for best independent artist and best independent single/EP for their warmly received debut EP "Dark Storm" (MGM Distribution).
It proved to be an exceptional day for the act, who earlier in the morning were nominated for three ARIA Awards, in the categories for single of the year, breakthrough artist and best independent release.
Although they were the only multiple winners at the Jagermeister-sponsored Independent Music Awards, the Jezabels weren't in the house to accept their gongs awards. Instead, they gave a pre-taped acceptance speech as they prepared for a national tour. The trek started Thursday in the Queensland town of Toowoomba in support of their debut "Prisoner" (MGM), which opened at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums chart in September.
The biggest cheers of the night were saved until the end when revered Magic Dirt frontwoman Adalita won best independent album for her self-titled Liberation Music set, one of her four nominations on the night.
In an emotional moment, Adalita dedicated the award to Magic Dirt's late bass player Dean Turner, who passed away in August 2009 after losing his battle with cancer.
Turner, she said, "helped me build a life in music. Dean made this album happen. He was the only person in the world who could do that."
Later, Adalita gave party-goers a good-bye treat to remember with a stripped-back performance of "Fool Around."
Perth based hip-hop artist Drapht won his first Jagermeister independent music award, taking out best independent hip hop album for his chart-topper "The Life Of Riley" (The Ayems/Sony Music Entertainment Australia). Like the Jezabels, Drapht had garnered ARIA multiple nominations earlier in the day. And like the Jezabels, he was elsewhere on tour.
Newcomer Emma Louise won breakthrough independent artist, hip-hopper 360 won the fan-voted "most hunted" category, My Disco took out best independent hard rock or punk album, Gurrumul won for best independent blues and roots album, Wagons grabbed best independent country album and Sandy Evans was honored for best independent jazz album.
The ceremony introduced for the first time the best independent dance/electronica or club single category. And for the first time in the event's six year history, the result was shared -- by Tommy Trash & Tom Piper, and Seekae, the trio converting only one of four nominations. Pnau claimed the other dance category, for best independent dance/electronica album with their fourth set "Soft Universe" (etcetc Music/Ministry of Sound/Universal Music Australia).
Proceedings broke from the format of previous years. In a more conventional approach to these types of show, guests this time were seated for the duration. In the past, the Independent Music Awards were essentially handed-out during a revolving pub-gig.
Organized by the Australian Independent Record Labels Association, the show was taped by local pay-TV network Channel V for broadcast later this month.