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Winners fit just right at Boston Music Awards

Members of the Field Effect celebrated Song of the Year honors Sunday.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Awards ceremonies are ostensibly about crowning winners. But if you are the glass-half-empty type, you might say that they produce considerably more losers on the whole.

It's something we alluded to here in a preview story about this year's installment of the annual Boston Music Awards, held, once again Sunday night, at the Liberty Hotel: there is no pleasing everyone. Sometimes in Boston there is no pleasing anyone.

Although opinions have always varied wildly on what the criteria for the awards should be, a Goldilocks approach seems reasonable, meaning an act should be neither too micro-local, nor too wildly successful to qualify.


In that regard, many of the major awards went to bands who fit just right.

The eminently likable Kingsley Flood won Album of the Year for "Battles," a blend of bucolic folk and rousing, broadly instrumented rock that has already further cemented its national presence.

Artist of the Year Bad Rabbits's "American Love" was the long-awaited coming-out party for the perpetually ready-to-explode R&B, rock, and funk magicians.

New Artist winners Speedy Ortiz's "Whip-Smart"-evoking guitar confessionals will probably also find them on a list of best new artists around the country this year. Strident power-poppers the Field Effect won for Song of the Year with "Ogunquit, ME."

As in previous years, however, it is the live aspect of the event that is typically more memorable than the awards. This year's 20-odd acts presented a cram session in Boston talent throughout the multiple ballrooms, conference rooms, alcoves, and rotunda of the sprawling, multitiered space.

Performers were a mix of old and new: the screaming sax-led funk and blues of Barrence Whitfield with Grits and Groceries, the gliding dance sheen of Electronic Act winners Bearstronaut, the Tuesday Night Recording Club led by Aaron Perrino and Brian Charles of the Sheila Divine, with guests Bill Janovitz, and members of the Field Effect, Sidewalk Driver, and Mean Creek doing Boston classics by Dinosaur Jr., the Cars, and more.


If it were the only local show you had been to all year — and it seemed like it was for many — you would have come away a winner. A runner-up at worst.

Luke O'Neil can be reached at lukeoneil47@gmail.com.