Like a miniature, more musical version of City Paper’s Best of Charleston party, the inaugural City Paper Music Awards attracted some of Charleston’s best musicians and their fans to the Pour House Wednesday night. Music Editor T. Ballard Lesemann emceed the event, a blend of awards show and concert. Winners were chosen based on an online poll featuring everything from Guitarist of the Year (Sadler Vaden) to Blues Artist of the Year (Sarah Cole and the Hawkes) to Jazz Band of the Year (Charleston Jazz Orchestra).
Upon accepting their awards, a “flying skull” plaque designed by John Pundt, winners either headed backstage for an impromptu photo shoot or plugged in to play a few songs. The Freeloaders’ Elise Testone channeled Grace Potter with a jammy, wailing set, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra got horny with Duke Ellington’s “C Jam Blues,” and Dangermuffin sprinted across the street from a gig at Zia Taqueria to play a set. (Sadly, the night’s big winner, Cary Ann Hearst, was on tour and couldn’t make it to accept her five awards.) Attendees were basically fed a pu-pu platter of some of Charleston’s most talented musical acts, and no one left hungry. Or thirsty, either — guests helped themselves to Firefly drink specials and a couple of kegs of Westbrook beer.
The most exciting moment of the night? When Pundt interrupted The Shaniqua Brown singer Rachel Kate Gillon’s acceptance speech for Metal/Punk Band of the Year, saying that Motormouth Mabel is the best metal band. Because you can’t have an awards show without an obnoxious Kanye moment, right?