One of the best things about the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards is the way it brings together an eclectic group of musicians for a single night of camaraderie. It’s a time where band members can congregate, catch up with other musicians, see a few friends and possibly take home some shiny recognition for all their hard work over the past year.
From country to cover band, each category was packed with nominations of some of Omaha’s best musical talent. The new format of the ceremony showcased the seasons with four segments that highlighted each category and nominee with a video that also included commentary from local performers. And though the videos were lengthy, they were interesting to watch, with all winners of the segment announced after the presentation.
The pre-show cocktail hour killed it this year with DJ Shor-T, as she got everyone in a great mood with her signature style that blended perfectly with the atmosphere and cocktails. Mariachi Zapata kicked off the event with an inspiring live performance that set the stage for an exciting evening. There were a lot of memorable moments this year regarding the music discipline. As always, the nominations were packed with heavy hitters in each category. Live performances featured rock, hip hop, and slam poetry stylings, ending the evening with a stellar collaboration of all three that kept the audience entertained until the very end.
The night included many memorable moments. BOTH took home Best Hip Hop/ Rap and Artist Of The Year and charmed the audience with their humble and hilarious acceptance speeches. Local music icon Dereck Higgins took home Best Progressive/Experimental/EDM for his first OEAA. Higgins acknowledged the Omaha music scene with true class, encouraging people to support the scene and musicians to keep inspiring audiences.
A touching moment occurred when Reader Columnist B.J. Huchtemann received quite the surprise as she watched Josh Hoyer take the podium to announce the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. Those of us in the know happily watched Huchtemann as she realized the award was being given to her. Smiles, tears and a moving testimonial video paid tribute to her dedication to local music and the Blues scene.
The night was capped with a collaborative musical performance that blended rock, hip/hop, slam poetry, soul and indie band members. The mix was a perfect end to a night that put the spotlight on local music. After the show, Kait Berreckman and Shark Week helped celebrate the night with an after party at the Slowdown.
Following is a complete listing of the music award winners:
BEST ROCK: FREAKABOUT
BEST HARD ROCK: Screaming For Silence
BEST ALTERNATIVE/INDIE: See Through Dresses
BEST SINGER-SONGWRITER: John Klemmensen
BEST DJ: Dojorok BEST COUNTRY: Belles & Whistles
BEST AMERICANA/FOLK: The Electroliners BEST R&B/SOUL: Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal
BEST HIP HOP/RAP: BOTH BEST BLUES: Hector Anchondo Band BEST JAZZ: Omaha Guitar Trio
BEST PROGRESSIVE/EXPERIMENTAL/EDM: Dereck Higgins BEST ETHNIC: The Prairie Gators
BEST COVER BAND: Secret Weapon ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Twinsmith-Alligator Years
ARTIST OF THE YEAR: BOTH
BEST NEW ARTIST: Rothsteen
BEST RECORDING STUDIO: ARC Studios
BEST LIVE MUSIC SOUND ENGINEER: Dan Brennan – Slowdown
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: B.J. Huchtemann