Saturday, November 22, 2014

Twin-sister duo leads Juno Awards haul

WINNIPEG—Tegan and Sara’s pop makeover “Heartthrob” set the 43rd Juno Awards swooning, Arcade Fire made its presence felt from almost 10,000 km away while decorated co-host Serena Ryder worked overtime to keep things smooth in the Prairies last night.
With wins for group, pop album, and single of the year (the skydive-thrilling “Closer,” performed to perfection during the show with help from Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir!), Calgary-reared twins Tegan and Sara managed a field-leading three wins, after having been shut out in five career nominations prior to this year.

The accolades came for “Heartthrob,” a Ferrari-sleek reinvention of their punchy punk-pop that highlighted their ace songwriting.
After what was considered a somewhat daring gambit, the Quin sisters clearly were elated at the overwhelming recognition.
Still, the greatest honour of the night was reserved for Arcade Fire, whose difficult double-disc venture “Reflektor” mirrored their achievement of three years ago by claiming album of the year.
The Montreal rockers, who also took alternative album of the year, were off in Santiago, Chile at a Lollapalooza gig.
But they managed to submit one of the evening’s more interesting visual performances—a macabre pre-taped take on “Afterlife” delivered in lush monochrome.
Although the show had three co-hosts (with East Coast rapper Classified and Scottish-born, Toronto-bred country crooner Johnny Reid eagerly sharing duties), Ryder seemed to shoulder the most responsibility to keep the show afloat.
With her husky roar, she opened the broadcast by convincingly mashing up her indie-pop gem “What I Wouldn’t Do” with Classified’s “Three Foot Tall” while a chorus of kids chimed in.
Then later she filled the MTS Centre with the smoky torch tune “For You” (the telecast was given an appropriately dramatic sepia-toned filter for the occasion).
Of course, she was amply rewarded for the effort—being named both artist and songwriter of the year, giving the 31-year-old an impressive six-Juno career haul.
Ryder’s diligent effort was necessary in a Juno Awards’ telecast that arguably lacked the star power of the annual gala’s finest instalments.
In a year already missing appearances from the multiple-nominated likes of Michael Buble, Celine Dion, Drake, and Arcade Fire (not to mention Justin Bieber), the last-minute withdrawal of “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke hurt.
Thicke, who didn’t win despite three nominations, has been cancelling shows recently due to an apparent vocal issue while also suffering through a high-profile split with wife Paula Patton.
Still, the broadcast was boosted by inventive performances from several blossoming acts.
Rock album of the year winner Matt Mays howled his blistering “Take it on Faith” while country trio Dean Brody, Brett Kissel, and Gord Bamford’s three-song run anchored the second half of the show.
And some capable vets also stopped by to buoy the proceedings.
Sarah McLachlan plinked the piano for her airy new hymn “Beautiful Girl” while a star-studded tribute to Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees Bachman-Turner Overdrive—which included Mays, Tim Hicks, the Sadies’ Travis Good, and the Sheepdogs pounding through open-road Canuck classics “Let it Ride” and “Takin’ Care of Business”—closed the show on an appropriately emphatic note.

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