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[whitespace] No-Shows Show

The California Music Awards went out with a whimper, not a BAM

By Sarah Quelland

THE CALIFORNIA MUSIC AWARDS (a.k.a. the Bammies) were held last Saturday (April 8) at the Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco, and the event was a tremendous disappointment. It seems the Bammies have overestimated their importance since switching their format. The ceremony started out as BAM magazine's Bay Area Music Awards and was centered on up-and-coming independent Bay Area musicians. Now that it's tackling multiplatinum, major-label artists, it just doesn't have the same impact. The California Music Awards can't compete with the Grammy Awards or the MTV Music Awards, and almost all of the artists nominated were no-shows. Among the absentee winners were the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea (Outstanding Bassist), Metallica's Lars Ulrich (Outstanding Drummer) and Third Eye Blind (whose Stephan Jenkins and Kevin Cadogan won Outstanding Songwriter). Even the Bay Area's own Santana, who's been known to perform at Bay Area high schools, accepted his award for Outstanding Single through a recorded speech. If it weren't for Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello (Outstanding Guitarist; Rage Against the Machine won Outstanding Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album, Outstanding Group, Artist of the Year and the Arthur M. Sohcot Award for Public Service) and Smash Mouth (Outstanding Rock/Pop Album; Steve Harwell won Outstanding Vocalist), no real players in the business would have been on hand to accept their accolades in person. The event was promoted as a party with the stars, but the stars were few and far between.

It seemed no one took the awards seriously. Comedian Johnny Steele hosted the first half, while Mark Pitta took over the second, slurring pretty much all the way to the end. Presenter Cheech Marin said he couldn't read the prompter because he had recently been diagnosed with CSS, which he explained stood for "Can't See Shit." Eddie Money stumbled onstage and gave a generally incoherent speech. Later, he performed one of his hits, "Two Tickets to Paradise," with ousted Third Eye Blind member Kevin Cadogan's band bully serving as his backup band. Other performers included Stroke 9, Applesaucer, Ledisi, Me'shell Ndegeocello and Oleander. The hottest performance, believe it or not, came from the Oakland Interfaith Choir. The evening closed with a performance by Smash Mouth, which missed its opportunity to redeem matters. After "Then the Morning Comes" and "All Star," the band's turn disintegrated into a predictable jam session of cover tunes "Jump Around" and "Runnin' With the Devil").

Since BAM folded, this ceremony really doesn't belong in the Bay Area. Now organized by Tower Records, the event would probably fare better and have greater attendance in Los Angeles. Or it should go back to its grass roots and focus on independent artists who would actually attend the event. It's no wonder guests were pilfering the tulips from the tables. Charity or not, if I'd shelled out $100 a pop for the event, I'd have felt cheated, too.

Local music promoter Eric Fanali of Grand Fanali Presents celebrates his 21st birthday this Friday (April 14). That's right. Mr. All-Ages himself can officially get into those 21+ clubs. Slow Gherkin, the Siren Six, Ten in the Swear Jar, the Huxtables, the Les Payne Product and a reunited Mall Security will perform at the Saratoga Community Center at 13777 Fruitvale Ave. (across from West Valley College) in Saratoga. It's all-ages and tickets are $5. ... Vamp Magazine is throwing a show at the Brookdale Lodge next Thursday (April 20). The big event includes performances by Salmon, the Brownies, Sneaky Creekans and Dilligaf, as well as raffles for prizes like a new surfboard. Tickets are $10. Visit www.salmon7.com for more info. ... The lineup has finally solidified for this year's Vans Warped Tour. The Bay Area stop includes performances by Green Day, NOFX, MxPx, Long Beach Dub All Stars, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Jurassic 5, Snapcase, T.S.O.L., Anti-Flag, the Suicide Machines, Flogging Molly, the Dickies, Lunachicks, My Superhero, Stingrays, the Toledo Show and Full Metal Racket. Of particular local interest are Stunt Monkey, the Donnas, Papa Roach and Good Riddance.

PLAN AHEAD: Sounds of Sight, April 14 at the Cactus Club; True to Form, April 21 at the Cactus; Insolence and Luxt, April 22 at the Cactus; Danzig, Six Feet Under and Disturbed, May 13 at Warfield; 311 and Incubus, May 28 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley; the Bllodhound Gang, May 24 at Fillmore.

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From the April 13-19, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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