[Photo credit: Cristina Massei]
Does the world really need any more music awards? Normally I’d answer with a firm thumb down. However, tonight is a welcome exception: in the world of punk, public recognition has been lacking way too long. Well done then to Vive Le Rock, a printed music magazine that keeps flourishing when the likes of the NME are shutting down shop.
From Cock Sparrer to Charlie Harper to The Damned and Michael Monroe, the recurring theme is clear – the recipients of these Vive Le Rock awards won’t struggle to find them a spot on their mantelpiece. Hard to believe when in attendance are some of the most influencing legends of rock.
Tonight’s host is an institution of the London live scene, Mr Ginger Wildheart, who took a break from the first Wildhearts’ original line up reunion and a billion other projects to be here. After a 4 track set from TV Smith, Ginger presents the first award – the Pioneer Award – to the Cure, with Kirk Brandon collecting. Best New Band is Booze & Glory,while the Roots Award goes to The Selecter and Film of the Year to Rebellion: A Punk Movie. Finally Gary Crowley bags the prize for Best Reissue before The Professionals take stage to the crowd’s cheers. It’s a brief set bursting with energy and camaraderie, everyone seemingly having a whale of a time. Paul Cook is loving it and we’re loving his enthusiasm – ageless.
They’re awarded Album of The Year, presented by none other than… Shakin’ Stevens! There’s also a Rock in Peace Award to remember Malcolm Young, and the International Award that prompt a meeting and a hug between two old band mates: it’s Michael Monroe, theatrical as always, treating us later to a taster of his explosive live performance. It’s Cock Sparrer however who bag the Live Award, with a heartfelt thank you to their loyal fan base.
Icon Award? Who else but Charlie Harper! And the legend that he is, he spent the night at the bar chatting to people and posing for selfies. True f***ing rockstar you are sir. Captain Sensible presenting him with the award is the cherry on the cake of this climax moment at the Vive Le Rock punk-star-studded do.
Band of the year, of course, The Damned, with the audience’s loud approval. The banter between Vanian and Sensible tells the story of two older, more mature men who have no time for petty feuds but still know how to have fun and most of all how to entertain a crowd. Young, old, man or woman, if you haven’t seen the Damned live yet please do and be grateful for still having them around…
Before heading back home we’re treated to few more tunes from Shakin Stevens, Michael Monroe and Mr Harper, before a collective jam of Ace of Spades and a fantastic closing for the Band of the Year themselves. See you all next year I hope…
Full photo gallery from the event can be seen here: http://www.cristinamassei.com/MUSIC/VIVE-LE-ROCK-AWARDS