The 31st annual Rockbjörnen awards ceremony, organised by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, and voted for by the public, took place in Stockholm last Wednesday, 1st September. The focus of this year's awards was on live music, and included the recent series of virtual concerts - "Live-löpet" - which as you know I had mixed feelings about :) anyway this year's ceremony took place in a tent on Djurgården and had a little 'downmarket' feel to it, but, hey, rock n' roll!!
Only it wasn't really too rock n'roll: the ceremony should maybe have been renamed "Popbjörnen" as many of the acts, whether nominated, winners, or performers, were more on the 'pop' side.
The ceremony was presented by Linda Sundblad who brought the right amount of rock-chick glamour to the evening with a selection of costume-changes, some more bizarre than others!
My major problem with the show this year was that it was just far too long, at over three hours. The length of the show didn't justify the amount of awards being given out - and more time seemed to be spent on mingling/backstage interviews than actual 'awarding'.
Anyway, onwards to the first award of the evening, for Årets Svenska Låt - best Swedish song of the year. Of course you'll know which song I wanted to win in this category - "Keep On Walking" by Salem Al Fakir, which, for me, is the best Swedish song of the year. However, the public vote went to "Från Och Med Du" by Oskar Linnros, who launched his solo career earlier this year and has had a phenomenally successful summer. His debut album's been well-received by both critics and the public alike. If Salem hadn't won in this category, I wanted Oskar to win it so I was pretty happy with this result.
In any awards ceremony where the public vote is involved, it's inevitable that the acts with the biggest fanbase end up with the prize. And so it was for Årets Konsert - concert of the year. The award went to Tokio Hotel, who still have a massive fanbase, although personally speaking I'm not so keen on their music as I used to be. The award was presented by Aftonbladet's music columnist Markus Larsson, I wouldn't imagine Tokio Hotel would get much airplay on his CD player....anyway the band weren't there to pick up their award as they are touring at the moment so accepted their award with a video message.
The next award - Årets Utlandska Låt - international hit of the year - also went to Tokio Hotel with "World Behind My Wall" which I can't recall being such a big hit in the Swedish charts, but that's fan power for you, yet again.
This year's awards featured a few live interludes, the first being by the always-reliable and always-wonderful The Ark. Ola was as 'understated' as ever and had two costume changes. If I remember rightly, they played "Take A Shine To Me", "Superstar" and then "Calleth You, Cometh I", which, if I'm honest, overstayed its welcome a little. Or maybe I just wasn't in such a good mood, I don't know :)
As I said earlier, there was a bit too much time spent on backstage/mingling interviews but it wasn't all bad, as some of the celeb-spotting was fun - oh look, there's Måns Zelmerlöw looking very nice in a black coat! - and Sean Banan was, um, "bringing up the rear" (you wouldn't get that at the Brit awards would you!!).
But back to the awards: Årets svenska livegrupp - best Swedish live group - went to...Kent. Oh, quelle surprise. I do like them, but it does get a bit predictable with them winning all the time.
Årets kvinnliga liveartist - best Swedish female live artist next. And the award goes to....Robyn! Oh what a good choice! However she wasn't there to pick up her award as she is on tour, but sent a video message.
Next live act on stage was none other than Eric Saade, with "Masquerade", "Break of Dawn" and finally, the song which he'll always be remembered for - "Manboy". He performed a very professional set and gave a better live performance than I was expecting from him: very professional.
Mingle time again....and who should be interviewed next? Only Salem and Nassim Al Fakir, who looked as if they were both having a lot of fun. (Salem was also interviewed later by Linda Sundblad). It was nice to see Lina and Tess from Alcazar there too, but there was no sign of Andreas...
A word about some of the people presenting the awards - comedienne Nour El-Refai used some colourful language, whilst Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, accompanied by fellow politician Maria Wetterstrand, revisited Bildt's Grammisgalan 2008 comedy jacket fashion disaster :)))
The prize for - Årets festival - Festival of the year - went to the organisers of Peace and Love.
Then it was time for the second award of the evening for Swedish music's brightest new star, Oskar Linnros - Årets Genombrott - Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Well done Oskar!!
Next live act of the evening was Tove Styrke. The Idol 2009 runner-up is now launching her solo career with her debut single, the very catchy "Million Pieces". She has so much charm and charisma, but something seemed to go very wrong during her performance and it all went off-key. I wondered if she maybe lost her earpiece or was there another problem with the sound?
More mingling, then...
...the final award of the evening, the award for Årets svenska manliga liveartist - Swedish male live artist of the year. Again I'd hoped that Salem Al Fakir would win this one, he's had a fantastic year during which he has won the hearts of the Swedish people, and had a long, successful summer tour. However, it's another one of those categories where the presence of Lars Winnerbäck is enough to guarantee an award. I don't really understand Winnerbäck's appeal, but each to their own, I suppose.
The final live act of the evening was Hoffmaestro & Chraa. I'd heard of them, but hadn't heard their music before. It felt as if there was about 20 of them on stage (!) and they certainly provided a lively conclusion to the evening's proceedings.
OK, time for some photographs. These red-carpet and onstage shots are all courtesy of Swedish celeb-spotting website www.stureplan.se - enjoy!