Underground Music Awards 2012

author TL date 01/11/12

Since the conception of the Underground Music Awards show back in 2009, the aim of the organisation behind it has always been to amplify exposure for bands that had the quality to deserve notice, yet never did because they did not fit the mold of the popular mainstream. And since then, we at Rockfreaks.net have followed and supported the initiative in our own small way, for while UMA is anything but genre exclusive, it is clear as day that much of the best rock and metal music being made in Denmark never makes it out of our country's underground, and indeed two thirds of UMA's categories are dedicated to these styles, so we have deemed it a win to cover the event despite it meaning that we have to open our ears and our pages to some softer music that we would not necessarily bother you with. And more often than not, we have not been exclusively negatively surprised by doing so.

Credit for article main photo goes to Jake Green

Credit for the rest of the photos used goes to Jonas Smidt Mogensen

After its beginning in Pumpehuset and the cancellation of the second annual UMA due to the closing of that same venue, the fourth attempted run returned to Bremen theatre in central Copenhagen - the same site that held the highly encouraging event of last year. Fans being used to holding their beers with slumped shoulders and casual clothing in the corners of gloomy city venues, arrived here to the sight of the event name illuminated on a proper shiny theatre board, many of them dressed in their sharpest threads to mark the ceremonious occasion. There was of course time for pre-drinks and mingling and even a proper "red carpet photo op" with familiar faces from the relatively closely knit Copenhagen music scene, and generally a good mood was about as people passed time before filling into the actual theatre to find their seats.

Performances

The large room would eventually fill up to about half to two-thirds of its capacity, and when the lights dimmed local folk/singer-songwriter Farmen welcomed everybody with an eponymous acoustic Danish song delivered from a bar stool at the corner of the stage, with lyrics imbueing the evening with an early underdog mentality. Upon his exit the carpets were drawn and hosts Bobby Mazloumi and Mirza Radonjica formally welcomed the crowd and iniated the back-and-forth format of the rest of the show, which per tradition features live performances between the presentation of each award winner.

Grace Tither doing some great singing in front of The Number's impressive DJ stand

The second of the performances was iniated by local electro/dance/dubstep duo The Number who were playing their last ever show while simultaneously playing a new song featuring vocalist Grace Tither. Normally PP would of course chase me off our site for saying this, but seeing as I even saw him rocking a bit in his seat for the song, I dare say it's a great shame for both casual and dedicated fans of the genre that The Number have called it quits. Their performance was immediately followed by technical metalcore purveyors Cold Night For Alligators, who delivered dazzling guitar intricacies while both looking vivid and entertaining and sounding significantly clearer and more enjoyable than was the case with fellow metallers The Interbeing's problem-plagued performance from last year (so kudos to the sound guys for handling the transition between genres).

Paper Tigers kicking it oldschool

After some more awards we got to see songs played by last year's winners from the Rock category Paper Tigers and from the Rap winner Peacefull James who was joined for the occasion by indie-folk group Hérö. The Rockfreaks.net delegation naturally enjoyed the former's animated take on their Oasis/Sgt. Pepper influences, while had our usual struggles appreciating the latter's hiphop set, even despite som inventive violin playing from Hérö's Jonas Klitgaard Hansen.

When the last award had been handed out on a night that featured by then had succesfully conjured up a feeling of community even among the fans from the different corners of the underground, the duty of closing things down remained to be carried out by gypsy-ska/punk outfit Patchanka who, despite another solid show, was received a bit ungratefully by an audience that seemed most eager to leave their seats and get refills from the bar.

Peacefull James treating Rockfreaks.net to the unfamiliar sound of hiphop

2012's Winners

Looking back on the evening, we found it highly encouraging that both the performances and the show overall was carried out with much more tightness and professionalism than we had impression of last year, with the hosts keeping the event fast-paced and encouraging the audience to reply with their rowdiest shouts and behaviour and with all of the performing artists sounding and looking like they had indeed been hand-picked from the top layer of the Danish underground. So while we at Rockfreaks were left a bit puzzled that our favourites from Jackstones and A Road To Damascus did not win in a close Rock category, we could hardly argue with the selection of Defecto as Best Metal Act, nor could we be anything but impressed with the progress the event as a whole has made in only four short years. We of course hope that this will translate into a growing realisation of the goal of bringing more attention to some of the country's most wrongfully underappreciated talent, but of course, time will only tell. Regardless, rounding off the coverage of UMA 2012 and without further delay, here are the winners from each category:

Best Rock: Gonzo Morales

Best Alternative: Boho Dancer

Best Pop: Mathilde Savery

Best Urban: Billow

Best Electronic: Umatic

Best Metal: Defecto

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