Prairie Rockers, Paul Rodgers and Party Rock Dominate at 2012 Indie Awards


This year the show belonged to the Sheepdogs.

At the 12th annual SiriusXM Indie Awards at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, the end of Canadian Music Week (CMW) also marked the culmination of a triumphant year for the prairie rock band.

With wins in all four categories they were nominated in, even host Jeff Leake couldn’t help making a joke out of their success: “Best new band out of Japan . . . the Sheepdogs!”

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, natives won the iconic black Indies guitar for Favourite Rock Artist/Group of the Year, Favourite Single of the Year (for “I Don’t Know”), Favourite Live Artist/Group of the Year, and Group of the Year.

However, the highlight of their night must have been the point when Paul Rodgers (legendary frontman for Free and Bad Company) came on stage to jam with them, performing “I’ll Be Creepin’,” “I’m a Mover,” and “All Right Now.”

It has been a good year for the quartet, whose road to success was helped in no small part by their victory last year after beating out 15 bands to win a coveted Rolling Stone‘s cover shoot. The recognition was followed by even more exposure through avenues like performances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and the featuring of their music on the popular crime drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

“This has been a dream of ours,” Sheepdogs frontman Ewan Currie confessed onstage, referring to the opportunity to play with special guest performer, Rodgers.

Another big winner for the night was the band whose name can’t be said on mainstream TV without being bleeped out: Fucked Up took home the Indie for Favourite Punk/Hardcore Group or Artist of the Year, as well as Favourite Album of the Year for David Comes to Life.

Group frontman Damian Abraham could not control his glee at the win. “To get recognized is definitely not something I ever expected or even planned for,” he told Cadence in a post-win chat. “But the fact that people voted for us, the fact that they took a break from the disgusting, perverted activities they do on the internet to vote for me . . . I’m, like . . . mortified – but mortified with joy. Not in a bad way.”

The show was rich with performances from Pavlo, the Pack A.D, Young Empires, and Dan Mangan, as well as 2012 Hall of Fame inductees, Treble Charger, who were introduced by Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene fame. The 90’s pop rock band, which reunited earlier in the week for a show at the Phoenix, played a rousing set featuring their songs “Red” and “American Psycho” to appreciative cheers from the crowd.

“I remember you from 1997!” lead singer Greg Nori said to the audience at one point, before Canning came onstage to present them with their Hall of Fame award plaque.

Passion Pit were the headlining performers, and although theirs was a shortened set – about five songs in total – they made up in vigour what they lacked in time. Frontman Michael Angelakos gave an energetic performance, and another surprise guest for the night, Graham Wright from Tokyo Police Club, substituted on the keyboard for the band.

The performance of the night, however, belonged to Rich Aucoin. The Halifax native, who took home a prize of $10,000 as the SiriusXM Emerging Artist of the Year, demonstrated precisely why he was worthy of the win. With a show that included a heady mix of electronic and live music and a pulsating screen flashing clips of pop culture videos – as well as streamers, confetti, crowdsurfing, and a giant, rainbow-coloured parachute spread across the top of the crowd – Aucoin cemented his reputation as the current king of party rock.

For a full list of winners at the 2012 SiriusXM Indies, check here. See you at next year’s awards!