Last Sunday evening I found myself channel surfing, and with no rugby league, baseball or decent historical documentary to watch – I landed on the industry backslapping night of nights known as the ARIA (or Australian Recording Industry Association) Awards. Powderfinger were on, and the kids were lapping it up. Powderfinger are a great example of musical mediocrity being thrust to the top of the Oz industry when there’s really little else by way of competition. Did you read the ARIA hype about Powderfinger ? “In a fitting finale to their phenomenal music career,” and “One of the most beloved bands in Australian history”. Who wrote this tripe ? Phenomenal ? Please, spare me. If you hang around for 15 or so years, people start to heap the ‘legendary’ or ‘phenomenal’ tag on you that was once only reserved for such acts as Chisel, Easybeats, Skyhooks, Divinyls, Angels and the like. I saw Powderfinger very early on in their career in 1995 at the Manly Vale Hotel. They were OK. Middle of the road, certainly not deserved of all this lavish praise that’s bestowed upon them. How much overseas success did they have by the way ? Yup, there you go. They were named after a Neil Young tune, so points for that. As the night wore on, I found myself squirming as each act was announced, each more and more derivative. As far as I’m concerned, the best days of Australian rock ‘n’ roll are gone. The music lives on – but with no Billy Thorpe, Peter Wells, Ian Rilen, Lobby Loyde and the like, it’s pretty much over. I saw all those guys, so why would I get excited over a band like Temper Trap ? Shortstack ? Sure, I know, they ain’t pitching at my demographic, but with the funny haircuts and the lightweight guitar pop sounds derivative of everything that came before them, I’m sorry kids, but these dudes ain’t the saviours of rock n roll. Whilst I’m at it – bands like For Our Hero (any name will do nowadays for a band) and Shortstack have the cute factor that may appeal to the 14 year old girls (and maybe some confused boys too, as the image they portray looks pretty bloody feminine to me), but no musical integrity at all. Are these kids the future of rock n roll ? If so, count me out. Yet back to the ARIAs, still they came. Washington, The Temper Trap, Operator Please, Birds Of Tokyo – still I could see no Aussie rock torch bearers amongst this lot. The night wore on with ‘MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL ARTIST’ going to London quartet MUMFORD AND SONS. Of these banjo playing geeks, Aria write “With a gutsy, old-time sound that marries the magic of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with the might of Kings of Leon, their incredible energy has drawn Australian music fans in to their circle of songs, to the warmth of their stories, and to their magical community of misty-eyed men.” Who wrote this crap? Why is the Australian recording industry acknowledging a NON AUSTRALIAN band, particularly a bunch of limeys? Do you think in the UK they have a category for ‘best Australian Band’? I think not. The night was hosted by eternal hipster but still irrelevant DYLAN LEWIS. Predictably, every Mum’s favourite GUY SEBASTIAN performed live, as did the tie died friends of Bob Brown JOHN BUTLER TRIO. Who else made an appearance? Yep, the same old faces were trotted out – Timmy Rogers, the ever so funny ‘Chaser Boys’, Kasey Chambers and the absolutely awful Jessica Mauboy. The only highlight of the night was the appearance of the always smoking hot Carmen Elektra (whoops, Electra). The amazingly talented stalwart James Morrison (who as a musician was head and shoulders above all others there) won the award for best Jazz album but where was he ? Why didn’t he perform ? He has a funny haircut too. AUTHENTIC bands like Black Label have been around for a long long time and are completely ignored by ARIA – so it shows you just relevant the association is. Who will save Australian rock n roll ? After watching this garbage, I’m buggered if I know. You tell me – then we’ll both know.