It was a chilly, drizzly November night but a wild crowd came out regardless to have a blast at the 2017 CASBY Music Awards at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. The venue was absolutely packed to see a full roster of Edge artists from across the country perform and score some Edge gold.
The night started off with hard rockers Ascot Royals who brought their arena-size hooks down to club size for their performance. After nearly a decade of being a band, they’ve managed to break through in a big way with their latest album New Skin and its lead single “Tectonic”.
Providing the soundtrack in between sets was USS DJ Human Kebab, who also revealed he’ll be joining the Edge on-air team Saturdays at 10:00 pm with an hour of alternative rock remixes.
The first award of the night was Favourite Sugar Beach Session, celebrating the best in live sessions outside our studios over the past year. Presented by Mel and Adam from the morning show, the honour went to Hollerado who were visibly excited to receive the prize.
Performing second were Orillia’s high-octane rockers Bleeker and their brash classic rock sound. Frontman Taylor Perkins and his crew have been working together since they were all 14 years old, so they’ve become seasoned pros on the live circuit. Perkins’ multi-octave pipes, big blues riffs and pummeling rhythms revved up an already energetic crowd.
Award number two was given out by afternoon hosts Carly and Fearless Fred. The Favourite New Artist prize went to a set of familiar faces: Ascot Royals, who had just performed earlier in the night. The Brantford boys managed to snag the hard-earned award and hopefully continue to ascend up the charts.
Electro-pop act Dear Rouge debuted some brand new tracks on the Phoenix stage, including new sure-to-be hit (and possible future CASBY winner) “Boys and Blondes”. “I Heard I Had” and “Tongues” also made an appearance as the Vancouver act showed off some wild energy during their set.
Third up in the awards category was Favourite New Record, presented by Kid Craig and a very stylish Alan Cross in his Tragically Hip hockey jersey. Although winners Mother Mother weren’t there to pick it up, the quirky act are most certainly happy that 2017 record No Culture continues their streak of writing great material.
East Coast native Matt Mays brought his surging heartland rock to the stage fourth, starting his set off with his latest radio hit “Faint of Heart”. Powerfully nostalgic lead guitar hooks make Mays’ music flow effortlessly, whether he’s doing the uptempo rockers or the more subdued tracks.
The final award was Favourite New Song and Wade MacNeil presented the prestigious honour to none other than Hamilton’s Arkells. This year’s magnanimous “Knocking at the Door” scooped up the prize and lead singer Max Kerman couldn’t be more gracious. As he stood on stage, he relayed a story of hearing the band’s “Oh the Boss is Coming” on the Edge while driving down Sherbourne to the Phoenix all the way back in 2008.
Closing out the night were the prairie rockers The Sheepdogs. Along with a smattering of their hits like “Feelin’ Good” and “I Don’t Know”, they threw in a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels”. As if that wasn’t special enough, they brought out Matt Mays and Dear Rouge for a star-studded end to the show. Another CASBYs, another rousing success.