poor little juno never gets it quite right.
The annual CanCon love-in held in Hamilton this past Sunday did a big bend-over to hail our latest one-hit wonder as a new superstar. Buying too much of the hyper-hype emanating from the Nelly Furtado hit machine, the Junos made the perky cutie who wants it all and thinks she deserves it the big winner in a dull year.
The insta It Girl destined to become Nelly Who sooner rather than later is landing all this attention because she's managed to bag an elusive American hit.
But Canada's befuddled hit-meisters are missing the big picture. And even Nelly sees it clearly enough to have riddled her stunningly self-congratulatory post-awards interviews with claims to be part of a mysterious Victoria hiphop scene.
Nelly gets what her CanCon cronies don't -- hiphop, or urban music, is not the next big thing, it's the thing, and it's happening right now. Urban sells tons of discs in the States to white suburban kids as well as African Americans.
The Junos jammed the commercial cream of Canada's urban hiphop scene into a crazed seven-minute token tribute, a half-hearted attempt to deal with an issue they don't understand. Any of these acts could have taken a centre-stage solo spot and delivered a better show than the tired and bloated -- the music and the men -- Guess Who, who trotted out their second tier of rock chestnuts. Wasn't last year their year? Or was it 1969?
Canuck stars, including Gord Downie, Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor and Shania Twain, didn't show, knowing this was a very skippable year. The biggest excitement backstage came from watching Marlen Cowpland and her plastic breasts skip around the media room, no doubt scouting CanCon dogs for her next episode of Celebrity Pets.
There were plenty of parties, but little to celebrate. The best Junos showcase on Sunday played out at the EMI party at Canoe back in Toronto, where DJ Mastermind was spinning while Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, Esthero, Thrust and the Rascalz made the scene.
The event that mattered this week wasn't the Junos at all, but the launch of commercial urban music station FLOW FM at 93.5. A great party unfolded at the Circus Centre on Wellington Thursday night to celebrate the station's overdue launch.
Of course, FLOW has to prove itself over time. It's easy to love now -- it started out ad-free. But the commercials start Monday. And let's hope FLOW is daring in its programming and plays the real T-dot sound, not just the stuff that sounds like it came from the States. But on opening night, everyone's giving it the benefit of the doubt.
Iron-willed Denham Jolly first tried for his station 12 years ago, and as this solid man moved through the room there was a real sense of jubilation. FLOW delivered an impressive array of Canadian urban talent to the stage, and even hot U.S. R&B act Atlanta's Jagged Edge -- straight from picking up a best-video award from the BET television network -- did a song.
While the Junos offered us a rushed dance pack almost crowded off the stage during the urban medley, at FLOW members of the Rascalz were exchanging breakdancing chops all night, both backstage and in the middle of the packed dance floor.
It was a community night, as Choclair rapped onstage and the ever cool Maestro took it in, arms folded and smiling right up front, while Kardinal Offishall and Michie Mee jumped and danced.
The happy smell of weed rolled over the proceedings, and nobody looked nervous. As usual, the future was unfolding somewhere other than at the Junos. *