Gang of Youths, A.B. Original, Amy Shark Rule 2017 ARIA Awards

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Gang of Youths pose for a portrait with an ARIA for Apple Music Album Of The Year, Best Group, and Best Rock Album during the 31st Annual ARIA Awards 2017 at The Star on Nov. 28, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. 

Gang of Youths, A.B. Original, Amy Shark, Sia and Paul Kelly were among the big winners Tuesday night (Nov. 28) at the 2017 ARIA Awards, held at The Star in Sydney. 

Alternative rock outfit Gang of Youths came into the annual ceremony with a leading eight nominations, and they didn’t go home disappointed by scooping best group, best rock album and the coveted album of the year category for their chart-topping second set Go Farther In Lightness (Mosy Recordings/Sony Music Australia).

Frontman Dave Le'aupepe also won with the mic as he delivered a rousing speech during which he pointed out each member of the group was an immigrant. The singer gave a shout out to the Pacific Island community (“we're not just useful on the footy field") and to his own Jewish grandparents who emigrated to Australia after the holocaust. "We're all immigrants to this country, and this country was built on a strong Indigenous people and on the backs of immigrants,” he said after his band collected the best album accolade. “You have no idea how important it is for us to win this because no one gave a shit about us for so long."  

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ARIAs</a>: <a href="">@gangofyouths</a> perform What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out? <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ARIA (@ARIA_Official) <a href="">November 29, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Indigenous duo A.B. Original capped a remarkable run of awards and acclaim by snaring best urban album and best independent release for Reclaim Australia (Golden Era Records/Universal Music Australia). The album, considered by many a cultural touchstone, blew away so many critics and fans through the year with its combination of punchy hip-hop beats and lyrics that tackle oppression of the indigenous people. Along the way, Reclaim Australian claimed the prestigious Australian Music Prize and the J Award.    

"We made this album in our community, for our community, from our community," said rapper Briggs, one half of the duo with producer Trials. "Change doesn't come from being comfortable.”     

After earning his first No. 1 album in a decorated career spanning 40 years, Paul Kelly took male artist of the year and adult contemporary album for Life Is Fine (EMI), while Sia won the best female artist award. Though Sia wasn’t on hand to receive her 23rd career ARIA, she is on home soil preparing for her stadium tour which starts Thursday (Nov. 30) at AAMI Park in Melbourne.  

One of the support acts on Sia’s all-female bill is Amy Shark, who took out ARIAs for best pop release and breakthrough artist for her Night Thinker EP. “Honestly I’m just a girl from the Gold Coast who is addicted to writing songs and I can’t believe I have just won two ARIA awards,” Shark said. “I’m gonna sit and stare at these for the rest of my life.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ARIAs</a>: <a href="">@AmySharkMusic</a> performs Adore <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; ARIA (@ARIA_Official) <a href="">November 29, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Canberra electronic act Peking Duk pulled off one of the big surprises of the night by winning the public-voted song the year category with “Stranger” featuring Elliphant (Sony Music). Peking Duk, however, couldn’t deny Pnau’s “Chameleon” (etcetc Music) from grabbing best dance release honors. 

Legendary rocker Jimmy Barnes also dropped a thunderbolt by beating fellow ARIA Hall Of Famers The Wiggles for best children's album. The Cold Chisel frontman’s winning album Och Aye the G’Nu! was his first ARIA Award since 1992. Barnes was back on stage to induct his good friend and former Sherbet frontman Daryl Braithwaite into the ARIA Hall of Fame and he led a tribute to the late AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young and his older brother, the Easybeats songwriter and master record producer George Young. Earlier in the day, Malcolm Young was laid to rest in Sydney in a private funeral attended by family, friends and band mates. 

Former One Direction singer Harry Styles won for best international artist and rocked out with a performance of his new release “Kiwi.” The British heartthrob used the platform of the recording industry’s awards night to praise Australians on their recent "Yes" vote in the marriage equality postal survey. "Congratulations on your latest political decision," he said.   

Another Kiwi lit up the stage -- Lorde -- with a mash up of her tracks "Liability" and "Green Light." It was the New Zealander's final live performance on a national tour that wrapped up proper on the weekend. Other key winners on the night included Kasey Chambers, Bliss N Eso, Northlane, Illy and All Our Exes Live In Texas

The free-to-air ARIAs broadcast on Channel Nine had solid ratings, with an audience of solid audience of 515,000 tuning in, according to TV Tonight, Those results were down on last year’s special 30th anniversary edition (586,000 viewers on Network Ten) but up on the prior edition (461,000, also on Network Ten).

For more on the 2017 ARIA Awards click here.   


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