City Slang: Battlecross rules the DMAs

April 28, 2014

Battlecross 2

I will only say nice things. I will only say nice things. I will only say nice things.

At the 2014 Detroit Music Awards, honors were dealt out to Jill Jack, the Infatuations, Carolyn Striho, Funky D Records, Sean from Cybertrybe… you know the drill.

Nice things. Nice things. Nice things.

Olivia Millerschin

Most of the performances were outstanding, while some were interesting. Mark Pazman’s “Super Session,” a blues jam featuring talented dudes like Paul Randolph and Bobby Murray, was smooth, while Olivia Millerschin, the winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, delighted with some very sweet, heartfelt singer-songwriter fare.


A performance by Psychopathic Records band Legz Diamond & the Purple Gang (introduced by ICP) was wonderfully ridiculous (“Tommy Guns” and all), while local jazz man Charles Boles celebrated his “Distinguished Achievement Award” with a lively jazz tune.


Marshall Crenshaw, another “Distinguished Achievement Award” winner, played a low-key, three-song acoustic set that ended with “Someday, Someway,” and rapper Boldy James didn’t let an uninterested crowd get him down, driving through a hard mini-set. A posthumous “Distinguished Achievement Award” for Grande Ballroom poster artist Gary Grimshaw, collected by his wife, Laura Grimshaw, was a nice touch.


OK – two non-nice things. First of all, the “Light Up Detroit” tune, billed as Detroit’s “We Are the World,” was cringe-worthy. Forgivable because of the good intentions, and strongly performed by the musicians involved, but ultimately syrupy and ill-advised.


Also, reality TV star Jeff Gutt was frankly abysmal. Like Bon Jovi without the big anthems or Creed with extra “GRRRnnngghhh” angst faces, the guy looked every bit the reality TV star. It’s a shame, because a dart could have been thrown at the Blowout poster, and a better act than Gutt would have been selected. But we get it – Gutt is a Detroiter who represented Detroit on TV and fared fairly well. We get it. But jeez, it wasn’t easy to sit through.

Battlecross 1

Thank the Lord for Battlecross, a band with some balls who really shook up the pomp of the ceremony. These are the guys who planted a turd in the punchbowl, and it was a delight to watch. People started leaving, others looked on in sheer terror. The metal titans were only allowed to play one song, but in a few short minutes they proved themselves to be the highlight of the entire night.

I really enjoy attending the DMAs. The show is always fascinating; I always get to see an artist of note that I’ve never seen before. I’m aware of the fact that, for years now, I’ve said that the “awards” part of the DMAs needs a rethink, and that still holds. Same winners, year after year. But the organizers, who are good people attempting to do a good thing, put on a hell of a show again.

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  • Larry

    What about a band who has been together 25 years,Wrote a song about Detroit.Being together 25 years needs to be an award

  • Kat Paled

    Really? The Infatuations are the same old, same old? They won their first DMA statues last year, Brett. C’mon dude.

  • BC

    People’s Choice Award a year or two earlier. I like the band and have supported then for years, but my point holds.

  • Marq Andrew Speck

    25 years? Rookies! How about 40 years and still rocking?!! Sorry – couldn’t resist…

  • Marq Andrew Speck

    Brett’s probably talking about us “classic” rockers… who just won’t go away!

  • BC

    What difficult to understand about the concept of repeat winners?

  • Sean Mooer

    Hey Brett, I actually like your article because so far its the only one that really mentions the performances which I thought some were outstanding. It was good to see Battlecross perform and bring some heaviness into the awards show. I don’t even mind that you used my name in your sarcasm but in reality… that was my first individual award, so you might should have just listed “Cybertrybe” instead lol The same bands getting awards each year has always been a complaint But…. here’s what I think people are missing… being talented is just a small factor in “making it” or getting notoriety in this Industry. The other part is networking and promoting the crap out of your name or project. If no one knows you exist, how are they going to know to nominate or vote for you?

    I have to be honest… at least 1/3rd of all the nominees in our category I never hear about until the awards. Most people don’t go looking for bands.. they either hear about them by word of mouth or might accidentally catch them at a show that they went to see another band.

    The bands that seem to win each year are bands that go out there, network with other bands and organizations, promote all of the time and get to know their fans and treats them like family. I’ve noticed that some of the bands I do know that bitch a lot about this are ones that don’t use that formula and merely stay in their own little circle. I’m not bashing them… some of them deserve an award based on how good they are. In fact I get a little discouraged to see some bands not getting nominated… even in our own categories.

    I think its worth mentioning that Eprom Colony got their very first award this year (outstanding electronica recording) and to beat out Haflife is major and I bet if I were to see the count… that was a very close vote. I know that it was because they have been following that above formula for a few years and it is now paying off. Its even harder for them because they have such a very unique underground following.

    I always enjoy your articles and I’m happy that you support a lot of up and coming unknown bands in an honest way. But the bands need to look at themselves and not the DMA’s. The DMA’s use the Grammy’s as a template for their awards and I really don’t see how they can make it any more fair.

    Sean Mooer – CYBERTRYBE

  • KP

    How is it that 300 bands will be playing “one of the most legendary music events in metro Detroit” yet by my count, maybe 3 of 4 were picked for a coveted DMA..?

  • KP

    *3 or 4

  • Sean Mooer

    3 or 4? I see several on the blowout schedule that were nominated.

  • Kelly J

    Actually the Infatuations are a perfect example. They won the “People’s
    Choice” award a few years ago when nobody in town knew who they were,
    and this year were nominated in every category because they signed with
    management that works with the award foundation. When someone went to
    the page to vote, there were ads on the page to vote for the
    Infatuations.Same old same old cronyism.

  • Stephanie Cittadini

    Well said, Sean Mooer! Steve Scott Country (Outstanding Country Recording) as well as Eprom Colony (Outstanding Electronic/Dance Recording) and Volcano (Outstanding Hip-Hop MC) are all NEW “winners!” Steve Scott Country also won the People’s Choice Award, but NO mention of this artist or any of the NEW winners. There’s a lot of complaining about the same people winning all the time, but this year (at the Detroit Music Awards 2014) there were several artists that won for the very first time as you mention; but again, as stated, were completely ignored! Perhaps complaining is easier than discovering and getting to know new artists. The DMAF did an outstanding job organizing the event and giving established artists as well as NEW artists the opportunity to participate. It’s not the DMAF’s fault if the press decides that it’s easier to ignore the new winners!

    Thank you DMAF for a awesome night to remember, always!!!

    Stephanie Cittadini – BonaVita Publishing