By: Matt Mackenzie
If you have not heard of the SAMMYs or what they represent, it is an award show for local musical acts that have made large strides in their musical journey and released exceptional works that deserve recognition. Held at the Palace Theater in Syracuse, NY, dozens of artists gathered under one roof to see if they would be the one to take home the award for the best in their genre. Hosted by Dave Frisina, a lifetime achievement award winner for his work with Syracuse radio and his constant support of local music, and headlined by bands throughout the night such as DOVE, The Merry Pranksters, and Count Blastula.
With hundreds of submissions for the collective 15 categories coming in, each category was narrowed down to the top five best for the major genres like Hip Hop/Rap, Pop, Rock, and Indie, along with top two or three for wide groupings such as country and electronica. All nominees filled the theater waiting for the moment their name would be called. Even if you were not the winner, it was constantly mentioned that being nominated meant you were a front runner and should be proud for all that you had accomplished up to that point.
As the winners for the genres we called, there were uproars of their name being called, collective cheering and shouting in joy. It seems that the largest amount of cheering occurred while the Hip Hop/ Rap nominees Sophistafunk, Supa Satty, Seth Dollar, Wigs, and Steve Cook were listed. Of these five Sophistafunk came out on top with the album Real Vibration and won the Hip Hop/Rap SAMMY. Jack Brown of Sophistafunk stated upon accepting their award “I would like to thank God and Dave Frisina… oh wait, they’re the same thing. Just kidding, we know God is a woman.”
Per every award show there is usually one winner who steals the night with how many awards they can win. That night the individual guilty of this was Sera Bullis. Sera Bullis, age 15, was nominated in the Pop category alongside BEA, Ben Mauro, All Poets and Heroes and Nate. Nominated with her EP The Road to Marcellus, it holds an incredibly strong and passionate voice with a determined energy. Later in the night the Brian Bourke for Best New Artist was given to Bullis and she deserves it entirely. On Friday, March 16th there will be a record release party in Bullis’ name at the Funk n’ Waffles Syracuse location.
Other winners through the night are as followed:
Best Alternative: The Action! “5”
Best Americana: Austin Macrae “Keeper”
Best Blues: Bad Mama’s Blues Band “There Goes the Rent”
Best County: Floodwood “Till I Die”
Best Electronica: Mazedude “American Pixels”
Best Hard Rock: Between Hope and Fear “With the Water”
Best Jam Band: Barroom Philosophers “Barroom Philosophers”
Best Jazz: E.S.P “Zero Gravity”
Best Other Style: Leo Crandall “The Art of Swimming”
Best Rock: Flashcubes “Forever”
Best R&B: Diana Jacobs Band “Good Metticine”
Best Singer/Songwriter: Amanda Rogers “Heavy Blue”
To end the night, three people’s choice awards were handed out to the favorite band, the favorite venue to see live music, and the favorite festival or music series. For the favorite band, a group called Infinity was given this honor. Infinity is a 70’s and 80’s cover band lead by Rick “Rocks’ Wilson for vocals. As for favorite venue to see live music, Wildcat Pizza Pub of 3680 Milton Ave, Camillus, NY, was given this title. Upon their acceptance they talked about how we all need to do our part to support local music by attending their shows and talking about them. For the final award, the favorite festival or music series award was given to the famous Taste of Syracuse. If you do not know what this is, dozens of restaurants and vendors come together around Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse to give their food out at low prices while the customer can also sit down at a few venue locations and listen to music while they eat. It is a free event to attend.
Dave Frisina closed out with one last talk on supporting local music and trust me, with what I heard throughout the days leading up to the SAMMY Awards I will most definitely be going to tons of shows when the summer rolls around.