Black Veil Brides performing at the AP Music Awards.
Held last night at Quicken Loans Arena, the Second Annual Alternative Press Music Awards promised to be bigger and better than last year’s inaugural affair, which was held at Voinovich Bicentennial Park behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. From the moment that the stars started walking the red carpet into the venue, it was apparent this year’s event had eclipsed last year’s (although we must admit we favorited the festival-like vibe of last year's event, which was held outdoors). A throng of fans stood outside the Q to watch the alt-rock celebrities participating in this year’s event. Bands such as A Simple Plan, Sum 41 and All Time Low received the rowdiest receptions while headliners Weezer were quickly whisked into the venue without any opportunity for the media to corner frontman Rivers Cuomo, who, with his bright green denim jacket and well-groomed beard, looked like he had just stepped out of a Gap ad. You can see photos from the red carpet here
“This red carpet event is much bigger than last year’s,” said Alternative Press
publisher Mike Shea, who looked rather snazzy in a suit and sneakers. “We’re already trending at No. 4 on Twitter. This is awesome. Everyone is really excited and the bands all dressed up in one way or another. I’m just really happy.”
The event itself got off to a rocky start as the Teleprompter malfunctioned and hosts Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat, who play in All Time Low, had to repeat their opening monologue (they cracked jokes about how the awards, which they dubbed the “Hot Topic Oscars,” had “more sponsors than NASCAR”) and fans to watch a videotaped skit from last year’s host Mark Hoppus a second time. But once the glitches were fixed, the awards went off without a hitch — but not without drama.
Early on, presenter Trace Cyrus, who showed up shirtless — the better to show off his tattoos — laid into the All Time Low guys for being “disrespectful” to his band Metro Station. Given the light-hearted nature of the event, it would seem he was joking. But when presenters Gaskarth and Barakat returned to the stage, they practically apologized for his rant and said band members needed to “check their egos at the door.”
As far as the live performances went, Sum 41 certainly generated the most enthusiasm. Led by fiery singer Deryck Whibley, the band delivered a high-energy set that included a guest appearance by Run DMC’s DMC. “Let’s all sing together like a big fucking family,” said Whibley during the performance. Playing its first significant show in the states in a few years, Simple Plan also got the crowd of about 8,000 on its feet. The band’s pop-punk tunes sounded as sharp as ever, and the band even got a good reaction when it debuted a brand new song. All Time Low’s opening medley of punk hits by Nirvana, the Clash and Blink-182 served as a solid way to launch the event, and Weezer closed the show with a rather tepid set that concluded with its hit “Buddy Holly.” Slipknot’s Corey Taylor joined Halestorm to cover the moody Temple of the Dog tune “Hunger Strike” and Panic! at the Disco delivered a rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that benefited from backing courtesy of the Cleveland Youth Orchestra, which sounded sharper on that tune than it did when playing the intro music for the various presenters.
The night’s big winners were All Time Low, who took home Best Bassist, Best Drummer and Best Fans honors. Given that two of the band members also served as hosts, it made for some rather awkward acceptance speeches. And Black Veil Brides, who also performed, took home the award for Album of Year. Rob Zombie, who accepted a Vanguard Award, delivered our favorite acceptance speech. He recited the first review he received in Alternative Press
, which he said read something like “this is the worst band ever — whatever you do, ignore this band.''
Speaking before the event, Shea said he and the Warped Tour/Mayhem Festival folks have already started trying to plan next year’s event (which will take place when the two tours come closest to Cleveland), even if the Republican National Convention poses a potential roadblock.
“We’re working on next year,” he said. “We’re going to figure it out. I’m happy for the city. If we can do anything to help propel this city and make it even cooler than it already is, we will.”