And at Sunday night’s 40th Juno Awards, the Montreal-based independent rock band cleaned up again and won four awards including Songwriters of the Year, Group of the Year and Album of the Year.
“Thank you, we are so happy,” Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler told the audience in accepting their first award of the night for Best Group.”I want to just give a shout-out to all the bands that we kind of came up with from Royal City to Hidden Cameras to The Unicorn to Wolf Parade and all the amazing Canadian bands and thank you so much.”
Arcade Fire homecoming victories for ‘The Suburbs” was a followup to winning Album of the Year at this year’s Grammies and winning Best International Group and Best International Album at this year’s Brit Awards.
“It’s a long way from Sneaky Dees — the first place we played in Toronto,” said Butler as they picked up their second award on Sunday’s show. The only category the band lost was to Daniel Lanois for Producer of the Year for his work on Neil Young’s “Le Noise” won.
That Saturday night win for “Le Noise” was just a prelude to Neil Young’s triumphant evening on Sunday. Representing the old Canadian values, Young was honoured with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award for his founding both Farm Aid and the Bridge School Benefit concerts.
“What year is this?,” remarked Young after shutting out Justin Bieber for Artist of the Year. ”I was 16 one time. He’s fantastic. He’s got some moves, doesn’t he?”
Young, who has not attended the Junos gala in 29 or so years, also won Best Adult Alternative Album.
The mighty tour-de-force that is Justin Bieber picked up two trophies via-satellite for Juno Fan Choice Award and Best Pop Album. ”Thank you so much for being so supportive,” said Bieber from Rotterdam, where he is currently on tour. “You guys have been incredible. 2011 has been absolutely crazy.”
Unfortunately, the Juno host and local-rapper Drake who led the list of nominees with six, left with no hardware. He was up for essentially every major category: Album, Fan Choice, Artist, Album, Songwriter, Single and Rap Recording. The latter of the bunch he surprisingly lost to the up-and-coming Toronto artist Shad on Saturday night.
However, the former Degrassi star had a refreshing opening to the show that involved Bieber on Skype exchanging verses on the timeless Sarah McLachlan tune “I Will Remember You”.
“You my friend have the voice of a young rabbi,” said Drake. Afterward, he was joined by pianist Chilly Gonzalez for a lounge medley that included a tribute to Shania Twain.
“You’re from Timmins, I’m from Toronto, you worked at McDonald’s and I eat McDonald’s, we should be together … Man, I’d like to make you feel like a woman baby,” he sang out.
Later in the evening, Bryan Adams presented his friend Twain with the Hall of Fame Award. The montage tribute video of her career included appearances by Anne Murray and Taylor Swift, who both praised her for inspiration.
“This is just a very beautiful moment for me. I’m really so proud of Canada’s talent,” said Twain. “I sit here tonight in the audience and I watch these amazing new artists up here on the stage. I have more pride in what the country has created musically than I am even of my own success. This is a beautiful country. I feel like I should just be wearing the Canadian flag tonight.”
“I love our lakes,” and then Twain dropped what will likely be the joke of headlines tomorrow morning: “I love our bush.”
Another highlight of the evening was the Love Letter to Toronto that featured today’s young and hot artists performing hits of yester-year! That’s likely how the initial concept was explained… It was well executed though. From Sarah Harmer’s angelic rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Carey” from Blue to Dallas Green’s take on “Old Man” with Young gleaming from front row.
Gordon Lightfoot and the Band were also paid tribute to by Jim Cuddy, Sarah Slean, Kevin Hearn, Serena Ryder, Greg Keelor, the Sadies and Derek Miller.
Other performers on Sunday were Down With Webster, Hedley, Tokyo Police Club, Johnny Reid, Broken Social Scene, Chromeo and Arcade Fire.