Whalies toast local music

Brian Lee Skidmore makes a dramatic entrance Saturday as the Weird Beards walk and dance down the red carpet at the 4th Annual Whalie Awards at the Hygienic Art Park in New London.
Brian Lee Skidmore makes a dramatic entrance Saturday as the Weird Beards walk and dance down the red carpet at the 4th Annual Whalie Awards at the Hygienic Art Park in New London.

New London - About an hour before the start of the fourth Whalie Awards, Adam Wujtewicz, a musician and co-founder of the Wailing City music blog, looked out on the shivering crowds stepping on the red carpet entrance to the Hygienic Art Park.

To put it mildly, the weather Saturday night was chilly, or more to the point, cold.

"Well, this is New England and this is New London, so maybe we have to suffer a little bit," Wujtewicz said. "But we'll work with it."

Seasoned with New London's blue collar spirit, the Whalies - the annual celebration of the music scene that celebrates itself and has become the city's party of the year - carried on.

The cold and intermittent rain caused about a 45-minute delay to the start of the show, as volunteers erected tents over the red carpet and sound equipment.

But the delay served to build anticipation, and most of the mix of nominees and fans arrived late anyway.

Tim Donnel, who plays in the Weird Beards, kept warm by wearing a pink furry hat with ears protruding out of it and a garbage bag, presumably to guard against rain.

"(The Whalies) are fun," Donnel said. "And the right kind of fun."

Nicki Bonanno, of New London, was at her first Whalies, and before the show, she was curious about it.

"There's been a lot of 'like' and 'dislike' with the Whalies," she said. "I wanted to see for myself."

This year, the number of categories increased from 34 last year to 38.

As in previous years, critics from outside New London County decided half of the awards, while others were voted on by local music fans on WailingCity.com.

According to Wailing City's Meghan Killimade, a record number of people voted in this year's contest.

Local singer-songwriter Daphne Lee Martin took home the top critics prize, winning Album of the Year for her January release "Moxie."

Martin, normally known for her jazzy take on alt-country, jumped genres to also win the critics choice for best pop performance for "Belly."

Other multiple critics choice winners included the new Mystic quintet Slander, who won Song of the Year for their post-punk romp "Magnets," as well as Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

In perhaps the award show's most poignant moment, Gone for Good won Best Rock Performance for "Marvelous Liar," the last song the trio worked on with late drummer Josh Lecce, who died in an automobile accident in 2009.

Last year's big critics winners, the piano and live painting duo Pocket Vinyl, this year emerged as fan favorites, as they earned two people's choice awards for Best Indie Pop and Best Video for "I Hear Colors."

The ceremony included live performances by Empty Vessels, Nancy Parent, Street People and others.


Best Alternative: The Suicide Dolls
Best Alternative Folk: Folk Y'all
Best Blues/Country Rock: John Fries Band
Best DJ: Chumzilla
Best Folk/Bluegrass: Raise The Rent
Best Garage: Brazen Hussy
Best Hard Rock/Metal: Bedroom Rehab Corporation
Best Hip Hop/R&B: Camacho
Best Indie Pop: Pocket Vinyl
Best Indie Rock: Straight To VHS
Best Themed Music Series: Live Lunch Break/The Day
Best Punk: Wrist Like This
Best Reggae/Ska: The Hempsteadys
Best Rock: Anderson Family Picnic
Best Roots Rock: Weird Beards
Best Solo Singer/Songwriter: Steve Elci
Best Urban Alternative: NME The Illest
Best Video: Pocket Vinyl " I Hear Colors"

Album Of The Year: Daphne Lee Martin "Moxie"
Rock/Pop Album Of The Year: Straight To VHS "Rewinder"
Americana Album Of The Year: Good Sponge Volume 2
Hip Hop Album/Mixtape Of The Year: Alumni "First Day Back"
Record Of The Year: Street People "Dreams"
Song Of The Year: Slander "Magnets"
Breakthrough Artist Of The Year: Slander
Best Alternative Garage/Performance: Burnouts From Outer Space "Queen Of The Angels"
Best Pop Performance: Daphne Lee Martin "Belly"
Best Indie Rock Performance: Straight To VHS "It's Not The Money"
Best Rock Performance: Gone For Good "Marvelous Liar"
Best Punk/Ska Performance: Dead City Riot "Before The Dawn"
Best Folk/Bluegrass: Dirt Road Radio "Cold Hearted Man"
Best Alternative Folk Performance: GraveRobbers "Buried In Burgundy"
Best Blues/Country Rock Performance: The Rivergods "When Times Were Good"
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Bedroom Rehab Corporation "Gone By The Boards"
Best Urban Alternative Performance: The 17th "No Name"
Best Hip Hop/R&B Performance: Camacho featuring Erik Lamb "Hip Hop Don't Stop"
Best Solo Performance: Josi Davis "Ivy Grows"


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