Amanda Palmer and Dropkick Murphys are the new Aerosmith. But Boston's scene has always been about the pulse just underneath the radar of glossy local star attractions, so as Palmer took home Artist of the Year and the Dropkicks nabbed Live Artist of the Year, the 2010 Boston Music Awards was more about the city's new, raw, and eclectic sound, a chance for engaging younger bands still filling our nightclubs to get some posh recognition at the swank Liberty Hotel.
At Sunday night's scene-worshipping awards party, roots rock act Kingsley Flood scored New Artist of the Year, young raucous garage trio Girlfriends took home Rock Artist of the Year, and Bodega Girls danced their way to Electronic Artist accolades. Worcester's Dom, nominated in four categories, got the one they most deserved: party jam "Living in America" took home Song of the Year and should contend for that same honor in global publications later this month.
Although Peter Wolf won Album of the Year with his seldom-heard Midnight Souvenirs (Verve), the young blood was fresh and abundant: Folk Artist of the Year went to Maine's emotionally charged Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Bad Rabbits took home Pop/R&B props, and Hip-Hop honors went to M-Dot, whose crew probably cheered the loudest as winners were announced mid show in the Liberty lobby. Other winners included Motherboar (Metal/Hardcore), David Wax Museum (Americana), and anyone who waited less than 15 minutes for an elevator packed tighter than a Passion Pit gig.
On stage, Dom's punk set educated a city that thought they were a late-night Ableton creation. Whereas "Living in America" and "Burn Bridges" sparkle with a neon electro-pop sound that first positioned them as the next MGMT, the rest of the Dom catalogue is actually caked in guitar-driven surf-rock party jams with shout-out choruses fit for hockey arenas. The photogenic Varsity Girls added some radio-pop sass, and Mystery Roar funked up a sweltering late-night crowd. But Palmer performing Radiohead's "Creep" on ukulele (from her solo EP) on a podium high atop the fifth-floor balcony was indulgent and wholly unnecessary.
To keep the kids from completely taking over, Hall of Fame nominees Barry & the Remains rocked out as if it were 1966, and the late Billy Ruane maintained his posthumous presence around town, being honored as Boston's Unsung Hero. For a complete list of winners, go to thePhoenix.com/onthedownload.