Anyone attempting to take stock of just how seriously the Boston music scene takes itself need only look at Hallelujah the Hills’ video for “I Stand Corrected.” Presented as a tour of famous spots in Boston music history, the clip strings together grainy black-and-white footage of the band playing in front of various nondescript locations, while on-screen captions describe bogus, increasingly preposterous facts about nonexistent local music legends.
And on Sunday night, the Boston Music Awards named “I Stand Corrected” Video of the Year.
Strange as it may seem for an event designed to declare one performer better than others at what they do, humility is part and parcel of the BMAs. Unlike national-level awards ceremonies such as the American Music Awards and Grammys, the BMAs don’t seem interested in anointing a handful of dominant acts to sweep the night. The maximum number of trophies that anybody took home was two. That included the night’s big winner, Will Dailey, who won both Artist and Album of the Year for the finely-tuned (but varied) adult singer-songwriter pop of “National Throat.” The wins helped to vindicate Dailey’s decision to leave his major-label deal in favor of crowdfunding his album.
The Stephen Colbert-endorsed Lake Street Dive won the award for Best Jazz Artist, also taking Song of the Year for “Bad Self Portraits,” a handsome pop confessional in the mold of Carole King. Bad Rabbits, 2013’s Artist of the Year, extended its prize tally by winning the Best Pop/R&B Artist and Best Live Artist categories with its smooth, crisp ’80s-throwback funk. And Hallelujah the Hills’ Pavement-like slacker raggedness earned it Best Rock Artist honors along with the video award.
Two prizes cast an eye back on Boston music’s history — the actual saga, not the fake Hallelujah the Hills yarn. Randi Millman, a behind-the-scenes fixture who, among other accomplishments, spent a decade and a half booking bands at T.T. the Bear’s before departing in 2011, was named 2014’s Unsung Hero. And the guitarist and songwriter Johnny A. was inducted into the BMA’s Hall of Fame, in recognition of a career that extends back to the 1970s and includes stints with the Streets, Hearts on Fire, and Peter Wolf as well as a distinguished solo career.
But the BMAs also pointed to the future, anointing When Particles Collide as Best New Artist — the band’s spiky, muscular rock hints that this won’t be its last time collecting a trophy. And Best Live Music Venue brought another unexpectedly forward-looking choice in the Sinclair. Apparently, the two years that Harvard Square club has been open were enough to develop a fanbase sufficient to outvote partisans of longer-established venues, even after its shiny newness subsided. No doubt the newly celebrated space will be the site of mythic Boston-music memories to come — real or invented.Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.