Well, it wouldn’t be a transtasman event in any field of human endeavour without the old rivalry coming up. Crowded House were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame last night – with some protests from Kiwis in the crowd.
The band received Australia’s highest musical honour at the star-studded event in Sydney, inducted by New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement had a few things to say about the award, telling the audience they’d been sent by the New Zealand Government to prevent the induction.
Clement asked Australia to “stop stealing our bands. You’ve got enough bands in the Hall of Fame.”
“We really need Crowded House. Our Hall of Fame is more of a doorway,” his comedy partner Bret McKenzie said.
Crowded House played out their big moment with a performance of their hit Distant Sun, while Missy Higgins and Bernard Fanning performed two of the band’s biggest hits, Fall At Your Feet and Better Be Home Soon.
Accepting the award Neil Finn thanked family, the “unsung heroes” behind the scenes and all the musicians who had played with them.
Kiwis have long been amused and irritated by their neighbours’ habit of claiming anything that originates on the western side of the Tasman as “Australian” as soon as it becomes successful.
That includes Russell Crowe, Keith Urban, Fred Hollows, any number of sportsmen, pavlova, the flat white, Anzac biscuits and the racehorse Phar Lap.
But Crowded House particularly gets under the New Zealand skin. Even their Wikipedia page states, “Crowded House are an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1985.”
At the 30th anniversary of the Aria awards, other big winners included electronica artist Flume, hip-hop group Hilltop Hoods and kids’ favourites The Wiggles.
Flume dominated the event, winning the Best Album and Best Male Artist awards for his second record Skin, and taking home trophies in the dance, pop and independent release categories.
Both Flume and Montaigne, who picked up the Breakout Artist Award, made a stand against Sydney’s lockout laws, which close music clubs to new guests at 1:30am and ban the sale of alcoholic drinks after 3am.
“If you’re going to prioritise the casinos and residential development and all that, over the art scene that we have … surely at least you can strike a balance,” Montaigne said.
Sia Furler was named female artist of the year. There was a huge standing ovation as Angie Greene, a campaigner for marriage equality, took to the stage on her behalf.
Greene said Sia had asked her to accept the award on behalf of “every single non-hetero and gender-diverse person who can currently not marry the person that they love in this country”.
The message was reinforced by Kylie Minogue and partner Joshua Sasse, who urged Australia to say “I Do” and said 2017 could be the year the country gets “back on the right side of history”.
Troye Sivan triumphed in the Song of the Year, beating Flume, Sia and Illy to pick up the award for Youth.
Main ARIA Award winners
Album Of The Year: Flume – Skin
Best Male Artist: Flume – Skin
Best Female Artist: Sia – This Is Acting
Best Dance Release: Flume – Skin
Best Group: Violent Soho – WACO
Breakthrough Artist: Montaigne – Glorious Heights
Best Pop Release: Flume – Never Be Like You
Best Independent Release: Flume – Skin
Song of the Year: Troye Sivan – Youth