Gotye, Kimbra and The Temper Trap took the glory Thursday night at the ARIA Awards, between them collecting most of the big honors.
The Australian record industry’s flagship awards ceremony is a showcase of the Australian success stories over the previous year. Though on this occasion, the most deafening screams were reserved for the “internationals” on the show, who included Taylor Swift (performing her electro-pop hit “I Knew You Were Trouble”), English comedian and presenter Russell Brand and U.K. boyband One Direction, who weren’t even in the house.
In a year that saw Gotye’s career erupt internationally, the singer predictably cleaned-up with four awards. Gotye, whose real name is Wally De Backer, won for best male act and best pop release for the second successive year. And on the eve of his homecoming tour of Australia, Gotye walked away with best Australian live act. Gotye’s triple-platinum set “Making Mirrors” (Samples ‘n’ Seconds Records/Eleven: A Music Company) also won for album of the year. Gotye’s huge hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” has now sold more than 13 million units worldwide and notched up more than 350 million hits on YouTube.
Rapper 360 is building an impressive career here by saying precisely what is on his mind. And he did just that at the ARIAs when he dropped the “C bomb” during his acceptance speech for winning breakthrough artist release. It was the most controversial moment of a night which was fine at best, and flat at times.
Indeed, ratings shrank this year to 304,000 viewers, meaning it failed to crack the top 20-watched shows on TV for the night. Last year, the show had 369,000 viewers, when it was held on a Sunday. Free-to-air Nine Network’s GO digital channel broadcast the 26th annual ARIA Awards on a delayed telecast.
If there was a genuine highlight on the night, it happened when Hall of Fame inductees Yothu Yindi took to the stage with some famous friends. Yothu Yindi are Australia’s most successful and highest-profile indigenous group, and tonight they played their 1992 hit “Treaty.” They were flanked on stage by ARIA Award-winning indigenous artists Gurrumul, Jess Mauboy, Dan Sultan and with the legendary Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, who’s now a frontline politician for the Labor government.
Garrett and iconic singer-songwriter Paul Kelly returned to the stage to induct Yothu Yindi. Band leader Mandawuy Yunupingu is visibly slowed by his battles with renal failure and alcoholism, and was helped to the stage by leading concert promoter Michael Chugg. Once at the podium, Yunupingu called on the nation to “come together for a better tomorrow” by recognising Aboriginal people in the Constitution.
“Youth Yindi from the start was about indigenous culture, about indigenous rights, about our rights and place in Australia.” He continued that his group “has been about messages and bringing people together and asking them and the people to respect and understand one another.”
Melbourne alternative rock outfit The Temper Trap grabbed a brace of ARIA awards, their self-titled sophomore set winning best rock album and the five-piece winning for best group, a category they won in 2010.
New Zealand-born Kimbra took out best female artist for “Vows,” a top-20 hit on The Billboard 200. The award was presented by Russell Brand, who brought his mother up on stage to assist.
Other winners on the night included the Jezabels (best independent release), the Wiggles (best children’s), DZ Deathrays (best hard rock/heavy metal album), the McClymonts (best country album), One Direction (best international release) and Matt Corby (ARIA song of the year).
Among the performers were 360, Hilltop Hoods, Jessica Mauboy, The Jezabels, The Temper Trap, Missy Higgins, Kimbra and Guy Sebastian with Lupe Fiasco.
The ARIAs are decided by an industry panel with the exception of the four categories song of the year, best video, best Australian live act and best international artist.
In a break from tradition, organizers removed the VIP dining tables and the show was presented in a concert-style, and returned the presentation to the Sydney Entertainment Centre after 10 years across town at the Allphones Arena.