[guest commentary] Ramming Speed crash the Boston Music Awards

When the BOSTON MUSIC AWARDS secret-service-like security at the former Charles Street Jail and current Liberty Hotel don't pat you down and run a quick background check at the front door, it's almost shocking. They are at the bottom of the escalator. And the top of the escalator. They are on the stair cases, and balconies and in every bathroom (duh). Between the army of ear-pieced suits were hundreds (thousands?) of partiers making up local bands and singers and DJs and talent buyers and writers and car dealers. Is that the singer from Disturbed? Are those Christmas trees upside down? Is that live? On the radio? Me? Don't mind if I do!

For the last two years, RAMMING SPEED have been nominated in the BMAs for Metal/Hardcore Artist of the Year, and have found ourselves deeply immersed in what feels like a wildly foreign side of the local music scene. A person not prepared for the incomprehensible maze of stages and surging drunken crowds might be put off, maybe even uneasy. But last Sunday, flasks were packed and mushrooms eaten and in we went.

Here's my take away:

DUTCH REBELLE is awesome and her confidence was infectious. The hardness coming from the PA made the tinsel covered stage look like a cruel joke. My head was starting to tingle and I explained to my photographer friend what “throwing threes” was. She took pictures of me and RS guitarist Kallen Bliss for an “outfit” piece (I think).

ANDRE OBIN makes music for a late night make-out-sesh-molly-roll after an emotionally charged conversation with your significant other. I want to listen to this dude's Robitussin beats at a reallllly slowwww laser show (Museum of Science, help me out!). I learned this at the Red Star BMA pre-party, but Obin's winning of the “Electronic Artist of the Year” category informed me that everyone else was thinking the same thing.

YOUNG LONDON pranced around the 5th floor stage making Radio Disney sound like a seriously progressive pirate broadcast. I'm pretty sure I heard them ask for more of the pre-recorded vocals in the mix. A bunch of old dudes looked confused. I was one of them. Is this what karaoke looks like in the future? Someone should tell Do Re Mi.

The most “no shit” loss of the night went to NOW DENIAL. It's not like anyone thought they'd beat the DROPKICK MURPHYS for “Punk Artist Of The Year,” but it was great just seeing the band nominated for a BMA the same year they celebrated a decade in the New England DIY scene. Maybe next year it should be a requirement that you have recently played an illegal venue to get nominated for the category? Just spit-balling here...

On that note, we lost to CONVERGE, which is as honorable loss as one can ask for. They had to miss the awards to headline a show in France or something. Whatever!

YALE MASSACHUSETTS looked adorable on the lobby jumbo-tron wearing their little bow ties, CARL LAVIN is a great drunk, EARTHQUAKE PARTY writhed around on stage, MEAN CREEK seem like an extremely grateful and down-to-earth crew, and the $7 IPAs were worth every penny while sweating my way up and down the back stair cases.

At some point a middle-aged man in the bathroom turned to my partner-in-weird Steve Dave and was like “this place sure beats the Rat right??” before stuffing his pockets with free face cloths. You can transform a jail into a hotel, but you can't take the Boston out of Boston. AMIRIGHT?!

Oh, and I'm told RAZORMAZE showed up with a bunch of chicks in a limo.

So that's basically what I remember. I saw lots of random friends, made some new ones (what's up BEARSTRONAUT, GOZU) and managed to not fall off the balcony, even when it started getting SUPER tippy during the award announcements.

I sincerely hope a good amount of money was raised for the Music Drives Us foundation, without which we wouldn't have this great excuse to party. Thanks for the great time BMAs, see you next year?

Jonah Livingston is the drummer in Ramming Speed and the owner of TDB Records.

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