Tame Impala Kings of the ARIAS

PERTH’S Kevin Parker and his band Tame Impala cleaned up at the ARIAs tonight, winning five awards from their seven nominations, including Album of the Year.

Parker also took home Producer of the Year and Engineer of the Year, with the band’s fourth album The Slow Rush also winning them Best Rock Album and Best Group.
The band were humble in their acceptance speeches, despite also waking up to the news this morning they’re nominated for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Rock Song (‘Lost in Yesterday‘) at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, to be held in January.

“Even if we only feel like a group properly when we are playing live, I am so proud of us,” Parker said in one of his acceptance speeches.
“The timing is crazy,” he added later of the Grammys nomination.
“I woke up this morning knowing it was the ARIAs and had the butterflies in my stomach and then my phone was blowing up with everyone I know in America talking about the Grammys… But honestly, the ARIA stuff means a lot more to me.”

The band accepted their awards via Zoom from Fremantle, with a ‘live’ performance also beamed in to the ceremony.

Watch: Tame Impala perform On Track live at the 2020 ARIA Awards

How would COVID-19 affect the Australian music industry’s biggest annual night of celebration? This was the question looming in the lead-up to the ARIA Awards 2020.

The answer? Well, not much.

The event still went ahead at Star in Sydney. Yes, host Delta Goodrem and the winners and performers who were live at the event were addressing an empty room (save for, we assume, some crew members and key supporters) and the applause was canned. There was no red carpet fanfare, no media scrum and, well, no fans.

Some of the presenters – Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, Mick Fleetwood, Hamish Blake and Keith Urban, for example – were ‘virtually’ there, and many of the winners gave their acceptance speeches via video link.

Sam Smith, Billie Eilish and Sampa The Great – who also picked up three awards – all performed remotely, with Sam in London, Billie in LA and Sampa in Botswana.

Watch: Sampa The Great performs Final Form from Botswana for the 2020 ARIA Awards

One surprise of the night was brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach, known collectively as Lime Cordiale, went into the event with eight nominations but only walked away with the award for Breakthrough Artist, which was presented to them by last year’s winner Tones and I.
Ever humble, the brothers said in an interview they were shocked at even being at the event, which was the first time they had attended since being taken by their father as children and “standing at the back of the room.”
“We’ve had people like Kate Ceberano and Delta Goodrem saying they love Lime Cordiale and we’re like, how do you even know who we are?” they said.

Another surprise – for me at least – was aforementioned Australian music royalty Kate Ceberano using the term, “kicking it in the dick,” when referencing Australia’s (Victoria’s, specifically) virtual eradication of Coronavirus through COVID lockdowns, right before presenting Best Children’s Award.
Ah, a woman after my own heart with her potty mouth.
Oh – Teeny Tiny Stevies beat Matt Okine and KLP‘s Diver City, The Vegetable Plot, Tiptoe Giants and The Wiggles to win that one, if you’re wondering.

Veteran Indigenous performer Archie Roach was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame this year, after nabbing the awards for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best Male Artist.
‘Uncle’ Archie accepted the accolades with his oxygen tube fixed firmly in place (he has some health issues in recent times, including a stroke and lung cancer) and showed his wicked sense of humour in his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
“Thank you to the ARIA Awards for this wonderful award and recognition,” he said.
“They’re still as lethal looking as they ever were. You know I’d hate to trip and fall on one.”

Watch: Archie Roach performs Took The Children Away live at the 2020 ARIA Awards

Aside from Roach, the standout performance of this year’s ceremony was undoubtedly the tribute to I Am Woman singer/songwriter Helen Reddy, who passed away in September.
The subject of the biopic which won West Australian singer Chelsea Cullen her first ARIA for Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album was honoured by the best of the best women in Australian music, with Amy Shark, Christine Anu, Delta Goodrem, Emma Watkins, Jessica Mauboy, Kate Ceberano, Marcia Hines, Montaigne, The McClymonts and Tones and I on stage, backed by a virtual choir featuring *takes deep breath* Amy Sheppard, Christie Wheelan-Browne, Clare Bowen, Dami Im, Emma Donovan, Erika Heynatz, Fanny Lumsden, GRAACE, Kate Miller-Heidke, Katie Noonan, KLP, Missy Higgins, Mo’Ju, Odette, Samantha Jade, Teeny Tiny Stevies, Thandi Phoenix and Wendy Matthews.

Watch: I Am Woman Tribute to Helen Reddy live at the 2020 ARIA Awards

A number of awards were handed out in the pre-show event this year, including Best Rock/Heavy Metal Album (won by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard for Chunky Shrapnel, Best Blues & Roots Album (won by The Teskey Brothers for Live at The Forum) and Best Country Album (won by Fanny Lumsden for Fallow).
All of the winners for the pre-show awards were unable to attend the physical event in Sydney, so a number of gongs normally handed out during the main ceremony had an early run.
Fans of Ruel and Harry Styles were eagerly battling it out for their fave act in the live chat from the moment the live stream began with Styles’ Watermelon Sugar… Incidentally, he was the eventual victor of Best International Act, with Ruel not picking up any of his four nominations.

In a testament, perhaps, to the Australian music industry and the level of professionalism with artists and crew in this country, this year’s event was – in my opinion anyway – way better than the VMAs held a couple of months back.
Coronavirus has provided a number of massive challenges for awards shows like this one – this is the first socially distant commercially televised awards show in Australia – but they nailed it.
Even the media room – which this year was a media zoom – went off without a hitch.
If nothing else, the 2020 ARIA Awards proved one thing: we are resilient, and we will come back from this – but in the meantime, we can find a way to overcome it.


The 2020 ARIA Awards Winners

PRE-SHOW hosted by Ash London and Mitch Churi

Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album
Winner: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (Chunky Shrapnel)

Best Comedy Release
Winner: Anne Edmonds (What’s Wrong With You?)

Best Blues and Roots Album
Winner: The Teskey Brothers (Live at The Forum)

Best Children’s Album
Winner: Teeny Tiny Stevies (Thoughtful Songs for Little People)

Best Adult Contemporary Album
Winner: Archie Roach (Tell Me Why)

Best Country Album
Winner: Fanny Lumsden (Fallow)

Producer of the Year
Winner: Kevin Parker (Tame Impala – The Slow Rush)

Best World Music 
Winner: Joseph Tawadros (Live at the Sydney Opera House)

Best Dance Release
Winner: Dom Dolla (San Frandisco)

Best Independent Release
Winner: Sampa The Great (The Return)

Best Original Soundtrack or Musical Theatre Cast Album
Winner: Chealsea Cullen (I Am Woman – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Best Classical Album
Winner: Richard Tognetti & Erin Helyard (Beethoven & Mozart Violin Sonatas)

Engineer of the Year
Winner: Kevin Parker (Tame Impala – The Slow Rush)

Best Cover Art
Winner: Adam Dal Pozzo, Megan Washington & Michelle Pitiris (Washington – Batflowers)

Best Jazz Album
Winner: Paul Kelly & Paul Grabowsky (Please Leave Your Light On)

Best Soul & RnB Album
Winner: Miiesha (Nyaaringu)

Televised show hosted by Delta Goodrem

Best Video
Winner: Guy Sebastian (Standing With You – Directed by James Chappell)

Best Group
Winner: Tame Impala (The Slow Rush)

Best Australian Live Act
Winner: Amy Shark (Amy Shark Regional Tour)

Telstra ARIA Music Teacher Award
Winner: Sarah Donnelley (Wilcannia Central School, Wilcannia NSW)

Best Pop Release
Winner: Amy Shark (Everybody Rise)

Breakthrough Artist
Winner: Lime Cordiale (14 Steps to a Better You)

Best Hip Hop Album
Winner: Sampa The Great (The Return)

Hall of Fame: Archie Roach

Best Rock Album
Winner: Tame Impala (The Slow Rush)

Best Male Artist
Winner: Archie Roach (Tell Me Why)

Best International Artist
Winner: Harry Styles (Fine Line)

Best Female Artist
Winner: Sampa The Great

Song of the Year
Winner: 5SOS (Teeth)

Album of the Year
Winner: Tame Impala (The Slow Rush)