The Alternative Press has been covering the world of hard rock, punk and alternative music since before the latter term was even coined. Last night, the inaugural AP Music Awards were held in the magazine’s homebase of Cleveland and thousands of fans turned out for an awards show that was light and lively, in spite of the heavy music favored by the performers.
Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 hosted the ceremony, which was held at Voinovich Park directly behind the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Featuring performances by Fall Out Boy (who took home the award for Artist of the Year), All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, twenty one pilots, A Day to Remember, All Time Low, and many others, the show kicked off with a medley of Frank Sinatra songs performed by Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco. That set the tone for the evening, which was irreverent and energetic.
In addition to the live performances, the AP Awards honored musical pioneers throughout the night. Guitar legend Slash took home the aptly titled Guitar Legend Award, and the former Guns N’ Roses axeman joined Icon Award recipient Joan Jett for a spirited rendition of the Rolling Stones’ filthy “Star Star,” which you can watch above (though probably not at work). Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins was introduced by wrestling icon CM Punk as he collected the Vanguard Award, and in his speech, Corgan made his motivations as a rocker clear.
"I didn't start a band to be anybody's [bleeping bleep],'' The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted him as saying . "I started a band to kick your [bleeping] head in,''
Racy language like the aforementioned quote was the standard for the night, and while it may have concerned the parents of the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra (the show's house band), it helped set the AP Music Awards apart from the phony edginess and manicured controversies peddled by other music awards shows. As much as anything else, the ceremony seemed designed to honor the subversiveness and DIY spirit of rock, which can be embodied by everyone from rappers like Cleveland’s Machine Gun Kelly (who also performed) to punk icons like The Misfits to hardcore bands like Pierce the Veil, the night’s big winner.
“What makes a great show is great freakin’ fans,” Pierce the Veil’s frontman Vic Fuentes told the crowd upon accepting the award for Best Live Band. The AP Music Awards were a celebration of rock fandom, and last night it was clear that for bands and audience members alike, that spirit burns as bright as ever.
Here’s a full list of AP Music Award winners, be sure to catch an encore of the awards show ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 10 on AXS TV.
Best Vocalist — Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco
Best Live Band — Pierce The Veil
Breakthrough Band — Crown The Empire
Best Bassist — Jaime Preciado, Pierce The Veil
Best International Band — Bring Me The Horizon
Artist Philanthropic Award — All Time Low
Best Guitarist — Phil Manansala, Of Mice & Men
Vanguard Award — Billy Corgan
Best Drummer — Mike Fuentes, Pierce The Veil
Icon Award — Joan Jett
Most Dedicated Fans — Black Veil Brides
Guitar Legend Award — Slash
Song Of The Year — All Time Low feat. Vic Fuentes - “A Love Like War”
Album Of The Year — Sempiternal by Bring Me The Horizon
Artist Of The Year — Fall Out Boy