Seattle City of Music AwardsPosted by Suzi Pratt
Can you picture The Showbox at the Market with a red carpet at the entrance and tables and chairs lining the main floor? I certainly couldn’t, nor was I at all prepared to see the Showbox in an entirely different light–literally! For perhaps the first time in the venue’s history, this popular concert destination was transformed to host the inaugural Seattle City of Music Awards where KEXP, Fleet Foxes, and Quincy Jones were honored. It was a star-studded event that was open to the general public, and also featured many local celebrities such as Dale Chihuly, and the owners of local music venues such as The Crocodile and Easy Street Music. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, the man who initially launched the Seattle City of Music initiative, was also on-hand.
The event was produced by Seattle marketing agency 206 Inc., who transformed The Showbox at the Market into a venue suitable for both a prestigious awards show and live music show. Ear Candy made an appropriate tweet, “This is the swankiest I’ve seen @showboxsea. I had to walk a red carpet to get in and there are tables on the main floor. Classy.” Other bloggers and reviewers of the award ceremony hinted that the event’s “Hollywood glamour” theme was a bit overboard for Seattle, but I thought it was a nice change to see folks get dressed up and strut their stuff on the red carpet.
Seattle icon and KEXP DJ Riz Rollins played host for the evening; he kept the crowd entertained throughout the awards presentations and musical acts. KEXP received an Impact Award for its contributions to Seattle’s vibrant music scene, and The Fleet Foxes were recognized with a Breakthrough Award. Aja Pecknold, sister of the Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, made a heartfelt speech for the band, which was probably the sweetest tribute I’ve heard. Finally, jazz music legend Quincy Jones was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award for his lifelong dedication to music that has earned him nearly 30 Grammys over the past five decades. Quincy unfortunately couldn’t attend in person, but jazz bassist Buddy Catlett accepted the award on his behalf, so it was great to see another music legend in person, even though his speech was a little hard to hear.
Several musical acts were interspersed throughout the evening–what’s a music awards night without some live music? Seattle Theatre Group’s More Music at the Moore, a band of young R&B singers, put on a colorful performance to kick off the night. They succeeded in putting the crowd in the right mood for the evening. The Maldives were the next band to play, and even though they played a short set (albeit it was longer than the other performances), they played true to form. Pearly Gate Music, a folk outfit led by Zach Tillman, the brother of Fleet Foxes drummer Josh, then played a couple songs. I’d rate the performance as okay, given the short amount of time that Zach was on stage. Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra did several renditions of Quincy Jones’ songs that got several members of the audience up and dancing on the sidelines. For the handful of us who stuck around after the show, we got treated to a fun and rocking after party put on by the Tea Cozies. Even though I enjoyed seeing The Showbox glammed up for a fancy event, I was happy to see the remaining attendees flock to the stage and rock out to the Tea Cozies, transforming The Showbox at the Market back into the Seattle concert venue that we all know and love.
Thank you Seattle City of Music Awards for a night Seattleites will long remember. We look forward to see what you have in store for us next year.