The 2002 Shortlist Music Award was handed out last night at Hollywood's
Henry Fonda Theater. The two-year old project, founded by Gregg
Spotts and Tom Sarig, honors the most adventurous and creative
albums of the year across all genres of music. The short listers --
Aphex Twin, Bjork, Cee-Lo, DJ Shadow,
Doves, N.E.R.D., The Avalanches, The Flaming
Lips, The Hives and Zero 7 -- were handpicked by music
influencers including Beck, KCRW's Nic Harcourt, Spike
Jonze, Lars Ulrich, Damon Albarn, and Baz
But the night is more about live performances than awards, and Cody Chestnut
kicked the night off with a couple of solo numbers. Atlanta's Cee-Lo came
next and pumped the crowd with their R&B/soul infused rock stylings. Next,
in one of the evenings more bizarre moments, the event founders plugged
their upcoming Shortlist Literary project and a writer read a short story
about a fictional "Stevie-Wonder Mobile." Although it dragged a bit, he had
the help of Mos-Def who chimed in a few bars of Wonder classics each time
they were mentioned in the story. DJ Shadow -- two turntables, three video screens
and a mesmerizing audio/video display -- followed. Cody came back for a
couple more, including his instant classic, "Look Good In Leather."
N.E.R.D. and their psychedelic hip-pop came next. The solid performance was
somewhat undermined by Pharrell's attitude and his diamonds which were
bling-blinging all over the place.
In the days leading up to the show rumors percolated that Hives-men Howlin
Pelle and Mike Vigilante had booked tickets from Stockholm to LAX, but
nothing could have prepared those in attendance for what came next. Pelle
and Vigilante were, indeed, on hand (black shirts, white ties and all) but
the night's biggest surprise was that they were part of the backing band for
list-maker himself Iggy Pop. Looking lean and mean, Iggy also had backing
from Mike Watt on bass and none other than Pete Yorn on drums. The all-star
jam concluded the musical portion of the evening before Spotts and Sarig
announced that N.E.R.D. had been voted to the top of the Shortlist.
It was a special evening, although somewhat under-publicized and
under-attended. For more information on the Shortlist Project check out their website.