Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett Triumph at ARIA Awards
Tina Arena’s Hall of Fame induction speech will be talked about for years to come.
Tame Impala's Currents enjoyed a No. 1 bow on the domestic sales chart on its release in July, and the critical acclaim flowed Thursday night when the psychedelic rock outfit won for best group, best rock album and beat out sets by Barnett, Flight Facilities, Hermitude and Vance Joy to claim the night’s biggest honor -- album of the year.
On receiving best group, frontman Kevin Parker told the audience, “Wow, did we just beat AC/DC at something? Was that a thing?” The sentiment was repeated later when Jarryd James won for best pop release and gushed: “Did I just beat Tame Impala? And they beat AC/DC…”
Parker’s ARIAs haul this year has now swelled to five. The Western Australia-raised artist took out two Artisan ARIA Awards (producer of the year and engineer of the year) at a pre-ARIAs ceremony in October.
Barnett crossed live from London to acknowledge her wins for best female artist, breakthrough artist and best independent release. The singer-songwriter had already won an Artisan ARIA Award for best cover art for her debut album, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, which won Triple J’s prestigious J Award earlier this month.
Vance Joy took out best male artist and performed "Fire and the Flood,” lifted from his domestic chart-topping album Dream Your Life Away (Liberation/Universal).
International winners at the annual ceremony in Sydney included One Direction, which took out the public voted best international artist ARIA for a record-breaking fourth year, and Ed Sheeran, who was on hand to receive the inaugural ARIA "Diamond" award in recognition of sales in excess of half a million for his sophomore album X. James Blunt, who served as a judge on the just-completed series of X Factor Australia, presented the award to Sheeran, who he introduced as “the ginger ninja, the Pom with the big schlong.”
Sheeran, who starts his national stadium tour in Brisbane on Saturday, quipped that the category was manufactured to get him on stage, and he thanked every Australian radio station for “making the weirdest interviews. Whenever I do a phoner I'm scared.” Sheeran also performed his hit “Photograph”.
5 Seconds Of Summer took out the Australian live act award, a category which had more than two million votes cast from around the globe, according to ARIA. 5SOS gave thanks in their pajamas via a video feed from L.A. The group used the platform of the ceremony to announce three homecoming dates next September and October.
The biggest talking point of the night was Tina Arena’s induction into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. The legendary singer's career was celebrated 20 years after she became the first female to win ARIA album of the year for Don’t Ask, a set now certified 14-times platinum (1 million-plus units).
It was tears all round when Kylie Minogue inducted her lifelong friend, and cycling great Cadel Evans unexpectedly appeared on stage to present the ARIA. Evans was returning a favor. The French-based Arena sang for Evans and Australia on the Champs Elysees when he won the Tour de France in 2011.
Arena’s classy induction speech will be remembered for years to come. A former child star who became a household name as “tiny Tina” on the Young Talent Time series in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Arena gave a mature insight into her life in the spotlight, parenthood, and the challenges facing artists -- in particular, female performers of a certain age.
“It’s all been an incredible high. I was honored to be the first woman to win the ARIA award for album of the year, and to be the probably one of the first ethnic children on Australian TV, but what excites me now is that there never needs to be firsts like these again," she said. "The world has opened up and I’m so happy that I might have played just a very very small role in making those things easier and more accessible for women to come."
She also thanked radio for years of support, but warned against ageism. "I implore commercial radio to continue to support Australian music. And base your playlists on the quality of the song, and not the age of the artist.
"I want to also acknowledge that ladies over 40 (are) still in the game in a big way. My darling friend behind me, Miss Kylie Minogue, the wonderful Madonna, JLo, Annie Lennox, my lord the list does going on. Keep doing what you’re doing and keep doing what you do best ladies, because we will decide when it’s time for us to stop."
Other highlights from her speech included the comments, “Radio, please don't meet the quotas because you have to, exceed it became you really want to.” And on the future of music, she noted: “I do remain incredibly optimistic that piracy can be tackled and I look forward to the day when streaming services will remunerate the content creators more fairly, and you know what…I know that’s coming soon so that’s really exciting.”
Lastly, she noted: “I know it’s been a hell of a week in my adopted country, France, and in many parts of the world to be really fair. But I know we can all get through this if we look after each other and stay connected and united.”
2015 ARIA Awards winners
Album Of The Year – Tame Impala, “Currents”
Best Male Artist – Vance Joy
Best Female - Courtney Barnett
ARIA Hall Of Fame – Tina Arena
Best Group - Tame Impala
Best Rock Album – Tame Impala, “Currents”
Best Independent Release – Courtney Barnett, “Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit”
Breakthrough Artist, Courtney Barnett
Best Adult Contemporary Album - Oh Mercy, “When We Talk About Love”
Best Australian Live Act - 5 Seconds Of Summer ‘Rock Out With Your Socks Out’ Tour
Best Blues and Roots Album - C.W. Stoneking “Gon’ Boogaloo”
Best Children’s Album - Sam Moran, “Play Along With Sam: Boo!”
Best Comedy Release - Matt Okine “Live At The Enmore”
Best Country Album - Shane Nicholson “Hell Breaks Loose”
Best Pop Release - Jarryd James, “Do You Remember”
Best Dance Release – Rüfüs, “You Were Right”
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album - Northlane, “Node”
Best International Artist - One Direction
Best Urban Album - Seth Sentry, “Strange New Past”
Best Video - The Veronicas, “You Ruin Me” (directed by Matt Sharp And Daniel James)
Song Of The Year - Conrad Sewell “Start Again”
Outstanding Achievement Award - Lee Kernaghan, “Spirit Of The Anzacs”
Diamond Award - Ed Sheeran, “X”
Outstanding Digital Service - Spotify
Outstanding National Retailer - JB Hifi
Outstanding Independent Retailer - Red Eye Records