Flume, Troye Sivan, Violent Soho Rule 2016 ARIA Awards
With five wins, Flume dominated the 30th ARIA Awards on a night that celebrated Australia's latest batch of global stars, hit a handful of political notes and welcomed a cadre of living legends to the stage.
The 25-year-old producer took eight awards including album of the year, best independent release, best male, best dance release and best pop release for "Never Be Like You," featuring Kai, the market's most popular track in the first half of the year.
"This is the one I really, really wanted to win," he said after claiming album of the year. "In a time of singles and songs, albums still matter."
Flume (real name Harley Streten) confirmed his ascension into EDM royalty with his second album Skin which, like his debut self-titled release, peaked at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Born and raised in Sydney's northern beaches, Flume was expected to make a big splash at this year's ARIAs and he didn't disappoint by converting nearly half his season-best 11 nominations and delivering one of the night's highlight performances, a mashup of "'Never Be Like You'"and "Say It" with support from Kai and Tove Lo (who wore a fetching "womb" dress for the occasion).
Flume admitted he has rejoiced in the success of his compatriots from afar. "I've been away from home a lot. And I've been able to see a lot of Australian acts smashing it," he said. "Australian dance music is very strong right now."
He also used the platform of the ceremony to send an impassioned message to the New South Wales government to unwind its restrictive lockout laws in central Sydney. It wasn't the only political-charged speech of the night.
Flume's awards tally actually rises to eight when taking into account the three Artisan Awards he won at a ceremony last month (he also took home three ARIAs back in 2013).
Aussie young gun Troye Sivan also had a night to remember. The Perth-raised producer and singer stepped up to the podium for the first time to collect a brace of ARIAs for "Youth" (song of the year and best video). Those victories completed an incredible climb to international success that began in his bedroom studio.
Sivan, who was presented with the song of the year award by Robbie Williams, told the audience at The Star casino: "This feels like the coolest. It feels like coming back to where people took a chance on me."
Sivan's performance was introduced by ARIA Hall of Famer Kylie Minogue who, with her fiancé Joshua Sasse, declared their support for Australian marriage equality by taking to the stage wearing "Say I Do Down Under" t-shirts."This is for every gay Australian kid who wants to go and make music, every LGBTQ kid who wants to go and make music," Sivan declared. "You can totally do it, and win an ARIA Award too,"
Brisbane guitar band Violent Soho was the night's other multiple winner, taking away honors for best group and best rock album and delivering a headbanging performance of "Like Soda".
Iconic Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes was on hand to present the rock album award. "Rock in this country is as healthy as its ever been," he said.
Barnes would return to the stage for a full-voiced performance of "Good Times", with chart-topping indigenous pop star Jessica Mauboy taking the late Michael Hutchence's duties on the 1987 Easybeats cover.
Despite being on indefinite hiatus, One Direction won the fan-voted international award for a fifth straight year, beating a stacked category that included Beyonce, Drake, Adele, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
The centerpiece of the event was Crowded House's induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a moment which prompted tears on and off the stage as frontman Neil Finn touched on family, the band's history and the tragic suicide of the band's drummer Paul Hester, whose daughters were looking on in the audience.
Bass player Nick Seymour openly cried as his band became the latest addition to the Hall, an honor already bestowed to his brother Mark whose band Hunters & Collectors were inducted in 2005. Missy Higgins ("Fall At Your Feet") and Bernard Fanning ("Better Be Home Soon") warmed up for the crowd with a pair of Crowded House covers, before the band itself finished the job with a performance of "Distant Sun" from 1993's Together Alone.
Other winners included Sia (best female artist), Montaigne (breakthrough artist), Hilltop Hoods (best live act) and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (best hard rock/heavy metal album), while industry veteran and MGM chief Seb Chase was honored with the ARIAs Icon award at an earlier function hosted by ARIAs Chairman and Sony Music stalwart Denis Handlin.
John Farnham finished the night off with a rousing rendition of "You're the Voice", a song recognized in these parts not so much as a vintage hit but an unofficial national anthem.
Network Ten's free-to-air telecast of the ARIAs on Wednesday night (Nov. 23) attracted 586,000 viewers, up from 461,000 last year, for its best ratings since 2010. More information on the ceremony can be found at www.ariaawards.com.au.
2016 ARIA Awards winners:
Telstra Album Of The Year: Flume - "Skin" (Future Classic)
Best Male Artist: Flume - "Skin" (Future Classic)
Best Female Artist: Sia – "This Is Acting" (Monkey Puzzle/Inertia)
Best Dance Release: Flume - "Skin" (Future Classic)
Best Group: Violent Soho - "WACO" (I Oh You)
Breakthrough Artist: Montaigne - "Glorious Heights" (Wonderlick Recording Company)
Best Pop Release: Flume - "Never Be Like You" (feat. Kai) (Future Classic)
Best Urban Album: Drapht - "Seven Mirrors" (The Ayems/Sony Music)
Best Independent Release: Flume - "Skin" (Future Classic)
Best Rock Album: Violent Soho - "WACO" (I Oh You)
Best Adult Contemporary Album: Bernard Fanning - "Civil Dusk" (Dew Process/Universal Music)
Best Adult Alternative Album: Sarah Blasko - "Eternal Return" (EMI)
Best Country Album: Sara Storer - "Silos" (ABC Music/Universal Music)
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - "Nonagon Infinity" (Flightless Records/Remote Control Records)
Best Blues & Roots Album: Russell Morris - "Red Dirt Red Heart" (Chugg Music/MGM)
Best Children's Album: The Wiggles - "Wiggle Town!" (ABC Music/Universal Music)
Best Video: Troye Sivan - "YOUTH" Acoustic (Sydney Session) (EMI)
Best Australian Live Act: Hilltop Hoods - "The Restrung Tour" (Golden Era Records/Universal Music Australia)
Apple Music Song of the Year: Troye Sivan - "Youth" (EMI)
Best International Artist: One Direction - "Made in the A.M" & "Four" (SYCO/Sony Music Entertainment)
2016 Outstanding National Retailer
2016 Outstanding Independent Retailer
Red Eye Records
2016 Outstanding Digital Service
2016 ARIA Industry Icon Award