Music took centerstage at this year’s Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards show, culminating in costume-clad performance by indie-dance act Icky Blossoms.
That performance brought OEAA attendees out of their seats and to the front of the stage at the downtown Hilton Omaha ballroom, 1001 Cass St. The two-song set of “Sex to the Devil” and “Heat Lightning” closed out the eighth year for the local arts and entertainment awards showcase.
The Saddle Creek Records act were joined by local cultural assassins, the Church of Tomorrow, and a horde of local fans dressed in feathers, glitter, face paint, skulls, vintage threads and one bunny costume, with a few giant cardboard heads in psychedelic hues waving around to add to the visual stimuli.
Church of Tomorrow founders Nicholas Marsoulnier Wasserberger and Mark Andrew Steffan also presented awards alongside local entrepreneut Megan Hunt of Hello Holiday.
The dance rock explosion served as the celebratory end of the music’s big night on the OEAA stage. Earlier in the evening, the award show put a spotlight on Antiquarium Records’ founder Dave Sink, who passed away in 2012.
Sink was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in fostering the development of Omaha’s indie music scene.
Former Antiquarium Records partner Kevin Jones presented the award to Sink’s sister, Stephanie Gruber, and her family.
Besides running the record shop in the basement of Antiquarium Bookstore, Sink encouraged local performers, stocked hundreds of local releases, sent out local music to prominent international tastemakers and even released local music on his own One Hour Records imprint.
In a video tribute, several generations of record buyers and local musicians offered up their own remembrances. The video included a Love Drunk video session with Yuppies’ Noah Sterba playing a song for Sink in front of the old Antiquarium storefront, 1215 Harney St.
Among the archive footage and pictures, a bespectacled, 13-year-old Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes enthused about the store. Local musician
“This is the best music store in the country, right here in Omaha, Nebraska,” Oberst said in the old video footage. “Nothing beats this place.”
As Oberst speaks in the clip, Sink works the register in the background and jazz music filters through the background.
Local musician Simon Joyner puts Sink’s impact on his own music career plainly. Without Sink, it might have never happened. Sink paid for the recordings and released Joyner’s early material.
“I never would have recorded my music in the first place if Dave hadn’t told me too, basically,” Joyner says.
Before the tribute, local musical talent kept the night’s entertainment rolling, as a host of live musicians even backed up ætherplough’s experimental performance piece.
Bloodcow and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns provided an intriguing collaboration, adding girl-group soul backing vocals to a loud rip of raucous party metal. Voodoo Method led off the night with their spirited two-song set that paired rhythmic, throwback soul with a blues-inspired blast of alternative rock.
OEAA Music Award Recipients
Best Hard Rock: Bloodcow
Best Rock: Snake Island!
Best Songwriter/Folk: All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
Best Album: Icky Blossoms by Icky Blossoms
Best Blues: Kris Lager Band
Best Soul/R&B: The 9’s
Best Country/Americana: Matt Cox
Best DJ/EDM: BASStoven
Best Indie: Cursive
Best New Artist: Universe Contest
Best Artist: Icky Blossoms
Best Cover Band: Secret Weapon
Best Ethnic: The Bishops
Best Progressive/Experimental/Funk: Satchel Grande
Best Jazz: Steve Raybine
Best Hip-Hop: Galvanized Tron