Friday, February 28, 2014

23 Feb 14 - 33rd Chicago Music Awards

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's walking her first red carpet!

That's right ...she was amidst the glitz and glamor at this festive, star-studded music event of the 33rd Chicago Music Awards which was held at the famous Copernicus Center (located in the heart of Jefferson Park). The stars of local music spanning many genres from polka to hip hop/rap as well as Latin, Jazz and more were out in full force to celebrate this momentous time with true Hollywood style and fashion.  And SouthSide had front row seats to capture it all, blogspot readers. 

Before adjourning to the fabulous auditorium of the Copernicus Center to hear who won in their nominated categories, nominees were socializing and/or being interviewed by press and media inside the VIP area where there was delicious bites of food and drinks available. Plus there was live entertainment to put everyone in the mood for this awards show.  It was definitely a festive time as nominees like The Polkaholics were treated to full press exposure when they were interviewed before performing on stage as part of the music program during the awards show.

The nomination and voting process goes as follows "...The nominees were selected by experts in the music industry including DJs, promoters, producers, record labels, night clubs, booking agents, entertainment attorneys and others connected to the entertainment industry. After the recommendations have been tallied by the Chicago Music Awards team of volunteers and verified by the accounting firm of Robert R. Scott & Associates, the top five to seven nominees in each category are placed in the nomination ballot for the general public to vote and select the winners in all categories..." according to the press release by Chicago Music Awards. So, if you had to compare this process, blogspot readers, it would be like the "People's Choice" or "Nick Teen" awards. There were nearly 250 nominees in 37 categories ranging from musicians to comedians, dancers and Electro-Techno entertainers (first-time for this category) as well as many nominees representing a cross range in music genres such as Latin, Soca, Polka, R&B - just to name a few.

In addition to the CMA nominees, special Lifetime Achievement Awards were to be presented to the following: Chicago's Entertainer Ron Hawking, Elvis impersonator Rick Saucedo, guitarist Eddie Campbell,  Rocky Jones of DJ International, drummer Odie Payne Jr, and alto saxophonist Diane "Lil Sax" Ellis for their many years of service within the music/entertainment industry.  Other honorary awards recipients include record promoter Gus Redmond and musicians Hamid Drake, Abdul Akeem and Charles "Chucka Luck" Hodge who made significant contributions for 30 to 50 years. SouthSide would like to salute and congratulate all awards winners ...thanks for paving the way for others to follow behind you.

Now ...on with the show!

The CMAs was an amazing show which featured 20 different musical acts ranging from Latin/funk fusion to hip hop/rap and gospel as well as polka rockin' the stage in between the awards being handed out the winners. After a rousing yet inspirational rendition of "Impossible Dream" by Mae Ya Ryan Carter ( who later won Most Talented Kid [s] under 12) accompanied on piano by Josh, it was time to meet the rising stars in the Rising Star competition, blogspot readers. This mini competition featured Angel Ochoa and his electrifying guitar performance (this reviewer enjoyed the mind-tripping riff fx while he performed), Chaos and his energetic fusion of rasta/ska/hip hop music and Bi-Polar (the techno guy at the turntables and computer won in SouthSide's book for having the best creepiest costume on of the night) and its violently rhythmic electronic beats that immediately had this auditorium feeling the intense sound. Though, it was vibrating had throughout the sound system, this reviewer felt by adding the female vocalist it took away from the energy and vibe that was felt around the venue. Coincidentally, Bi-Polar won the competition, blogspot readers.

To truly kick off the awards show towards the right direction, Funkadesi rocked the house with the best band entrance ever! They didn't just appear on stage. They marched like a marching band towards the stage performing an energetic world beat fusion of Afro/Reggae/Funk and more sound in which got many in the audience standing up to dance. The entire group had the entire venue exploding with vibrant sound (though the mic for the female vocalist was on low to which she was horribly overshadowed by the musicians playing behind her). Still, what a way to jam, blogspot readers, despite having only enough time for one song.  Yet, that's how the other performances were scheduled. The musical acts such as Intraverde (Latin/Soul/Jazz band featuring Adrian Ruiz on piano/keys), The Pollkaholics and many others had only enough time to perform a tiny sample of their music. And believe it or not, they made the best of the allotted time by giving their fans and attendees a spectacularly brief show).  One, the hip hop/rap group Next2Kin, brought their entire posse on and off stage during their performance which even lasted beyond their slotted time as they kept shouting "I'm ain't wit it".

Meanwhile, local fun-loving polka rock stars, The Polkholics (who won Best Polka Entertainer), electrified the stage with a blazing polka set featuring their next hit "The Blue Haired Lady". Amazingly enough, blogspot readers, they did have people rockin' in their seats as Don jumped and hopped around the stage ...yep, he was living that rock star life! Polka fans in Poland and Germany, The Polkaholics will be returning to a venue/beer haus near you in August and they just might attempt the Guinness record for the most people doing the "Chicken Dance" in the near future. And Elvis was in the building too! A very special montage of Elvis' greatest hits from "Jailhouse Rock" to "Suspicious Minds" was performed by the one and only Rick Saucedo, blogspot readers. What a set did he give this audience ...even gave the ladies a little swivel of the hip action too to swoon over. There was some inspirational music performed by Blaq Ice (who won for Best Spoken Word) and Guero Loco (nominated for Best Latin Entertainer). SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed Guero's message (as well as the music video that accompanied his performance) to parents on how they should encourage kids to shoot for their dreams and "...treat people how you want to be treated..." Sound advice not only for today's kids but for everyone, blogspot readers.

What really had many of us dancing in our seats (besides that rousing Funkadesi entrance to the CMAs), blogspot readers, was Indika's carnivale-like performance that featured dancing girls and limbo! This lively band was all about peace, love and having a rockin' fun time while doing a medley of three songs within their short set which included a bit of "Murder She Wrote" and Bob Marley's "One Love". It was wild! So wild that the female lead of Girl Group joined them on stage and totally partied up with the band. It was definitely "Hot Hot Hot" inside Copernicus Center ...just enough to have you forgetting how cold it was outside. The musical showcase also featured a montage of Kid's Music performances from group dance (by Kitz in the Mix) to lyrical/hip hop (by Ryan Williams aka L'il Prophet) while new teen sensation Yemi Marie (who won Producer's Award for Most Promising Entertainer) performed a rather risque but with a bubble-gum pop formula style song with backup dancers accompanying her. However it was Terisa Griffin (who won Best Female Vocalist) who really caught this reviewer's attention during her outstanding display of vocal power, blogspot readers. She brought to the stage a tour de force of dynamic soul that wowed this audience.

SouthSide isn't going to mention the entire list of winners, blogspot readers, but you can view it here at The noted presenters of the night included the following, the Honorable Shelvin L. M. Hall, IL Appellate Court Justice, Pam Morris of WVON-AM, Wally Lockard of Urban Grind TV (which won for Best Music TV Show), Sherry Scott (one of the original members of Earth, Wind and Fire), and many more. Winners included Bad Boy Bill for Best Electronic/Techno Entertainer, Hubbard St Dance Theatre for Most Outstanding Dance Group, Girl Group Chicago for Best New Entertainer and Best Pop Entertainer of the Year, Guero Loco for Best Reggaeton Entertainment, City Winery for Most Popular Entertainment Club ...just to name a few.

Like many awards shows, there was an after party held at Kingston Mines for everyone to celebrate. Perhaps next year, blogspot readers, SouthSide might win an award for Best Music Blogger/Jounralist ...who knows ...that's if The Polkaholics followed through with that suggestion...

Until next time, support your local scene,

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