Steve Jordan, founder of the Polaris Prize, discreetly passes a bottle of Smirnoff to an ecstatic post-victory Patrick Watson.
Just before he opened his two-song performance at the Phoenix on Monday tonight as part of the 2007 Polaris Prize gala, Patrick Watson welcomed the crowd of musicians, industry folk, and media to “the battle of the bands.” Two-odd hours later, and after quick sets from The Besnard Lakes, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Julie Doiron, Miracle Fortress, and Chad VanGaalen, it’d be a $20,000 battle that Watson would win. Sure, pretty much no-one expected Watson to win, but it’s really only fair: earlier that day, his band got a $16,000 bill in the mail from Budget for crashing a rent-a-car into a snow bank in Fargo. The culprit? Accidentally turning the wheel of the car while turning up the volume on the radio while turning around and singing along. Seriously.
More photos of the night’s festivities and a shot-by-shot recap after the fold.
And then Patrick Watson played (only after making fun of the Besnard Lakes a bunch of times, a trend that would continue for the rest of the night).
And then the Besnard Lakes played….
And then Joel Plaskett played….
And then Chad VanGaalen played….
And then Julie Doiron played….
And then Miracle Fortress played….
And then Feist and the Arcade Fire didn’t; both were playing sold-out shows in exotic locales (Paris and Washington). As repentance, Feist’s friend read an e-mail that Leslie had prepared in thanks, while Owen Pallett accepted the award on the Fire’s behalf (and they played La Blogoteque’s excellent video of the band playing “Neon Bible”).
And then Patrick Watson won!
A standing ovation! Note a very happy Joel Plaskett in the upper left and a very happy Olga Goreas of the Besnard Lakes in the lower left.
Patrick Watson and his very drunk and very happy bandmates talked about their dramatic car crash, and what they’re going to do with the $4,000––buy lots of hot dogs cheeseburgers and a hot tub. All photos by David Topping.