Rather than liveblogging the 2006 MTVU Woodie Awards, I opted to experience this event from the floor, jam packed between underage wasted college kids all waiting to see their hero, Jared Leto. Yup, Jared Leto. Since the awards themselves were relatively
lame uneventful, some of the most enjoyable moments from the evening came from eavesdropping on the coked out NYU students to my right. Oh to be young and stupid again.
The night began relatively early, getting to Roseland at about 7:15pm. There was a line down the block and around the corner, which I assumed was the way in. Nope. Fortunately a few MTV staffers finally made there way outside and directed ticket holders into the venue, down the stairs into a holding area. It was rather strange to have attendees wait to enter the main room of the venue, but they had to seat kids with various different levels of tickets first. They had college music fans standing on scaffolding on the sides of the stage, in a bleacher area behind the presentation stage, as well as the floor area where I ended up.
At 8pm on the nose, the awards ceremony began with Imogen Heap's performance of "Hide And Seek." The tweaked out kids next to me decided it would be fun to heckle during Heap's chilled-out moment on stage, which was a shame. They shut up eventually once they got past the initial shock of her use of a keytar. Then there was some weird intro for the opening to the television program, featuring a few students smashing the shit out of computer keyboards as percussive instruments. It was, uh, interesting. If memory serves me correctly, the first award was for Breaking Woodie, which I am guessing is their new artist category. While such stellar and deserving artists were nominated, including Arctic Monkeys and Imogen Heap, Plain White T's won.
The next award was for Live Action Woodie, which MTVU's website describes as "the best videos that there could possibly be with real people in them." What? Unfortunately, 30 Seconds To Mars beat out Feist, Jenny Lewis, Jurassic 5 and The Raconteurs, and wow did the kids go apeshit over Jared Leto. He was all decked out in a ridiculous goth outfit, with a mind blowing amount of eyeliner. I felt a bit sick, but fortunately Beck was on stage within a few moments of Leto shutting the hell up.
The main reason I attending the Woodie Awards was for one specific reason: Beck! His band tore through an energetic rendition of "Nausea." The marionette puppets he featured during his most recent tour came along for the ride, although the MTV cameramen blocked them. The last time I saw Beck was during his Midnight Vultures tour, so it was nice to see that his band is as stellar as ever. I guess in his older age he opts to bust a move a bit less frequently, so he now employees a hype man to kick out the jams instead. Beck then ripped into "E-Pro," sending my little group of college kids into a dancing frenzy. Beck is still, without a doubt, the man! This didn't make up for missing his acoustic set this past Sunday, but I'll take what I can get.
Once his set ended, they showed a rather funny clip of Beck's marionette puppets trashing their dressing room. Hopefully that will appear on the web before long. The next thirty to forty minutes became quite a blur. Honestly, I think I might have zoned out a bit, although it was slightly amusing to listen as some of the buzzed college kids began to shout what was on the teleprompter while Lupe Fiasco and some campus radio DJ attempted to present whatever the next award was. All these kids wanted was their beloved Gym Class Heroes. I know very little about that particular band, and I totally didn't dig either of their two songs. Since I have never seen any of their videos before, I was pretty confused as to why there was a woman dressed up like Marie Antoinette on stage, sitting on a throne and sipping from a goblet.
Two of the categories that seemed relatively interesting were International Woodie and Best Animated Video. Although Arctic Monkeys, Corinne Bailey Rae or SIA should have won, they gave it to The Subways. I have nothing against them, I just didn't realize that college music fans really dug them that much. I don't even remember who announced the nominees for Animated Woodie, but for the most part this was actually a really solid category. Gorillaz beat out Gnarls Barkely, Mark Ronson, Psapp and... umm... Against Me.
A drunken Lady Sovereign announced something, refusing to read the teleprompter, and then it was finally time for the Woodie Of The Year. Ghostface Killah was the presenter, giving out the trophy to Angels & Airwaves. Oh yeah, Ghostface Killah also admitted that he listens to Norah Jones while he works out. After Tom DeLonge accepted the award, SNL's Fred Armisen did a very brief intro for the final performer of the evening, TV On The Radio. As always, the band sounded amazing, blazing through two songs including the bass-heavy "Province" and the crowd pleasing "Wolf Like Me."
That pretty much sums up the evening. Imogen Heap, Beck and TV On The Radio were all quite great. Getting to see Silversun Pickups' video for "Future Foe Scenarios" between one of the filmed segments was pretty cool as well. Gym Class Heroes were interesting, Jared Leto is a wanker, and the youth of America still likes their pop punk screamo. The concept of the MTVU Woodie Awards is quite noble, and where else would I be able to hear wasted college kids yell that they think Imogen Heap has nice cans. See all the fun I would have missed if I had opted for the free drink VIP treatment of the liveblogging crew? Oh yeah, and being around these kids makes me feel really, really old.
If you want to see the entire list of winners, click over to MTVU's official website.