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Nickelback wins big

Last night’s Juno Awards at Vancouver’s GM Place reflected a shift inthe event’s tone from past years: An effort to get a little more ruggedand raw.

Last night’s Juno Awards at Vancouver’s GM Place reflected a shift in the event’s tone from past years: An effort to get a little more rugged and raw.

Along with the usual Can-con rockers, this year’s nominees included several indie artists, from F**ed Up’s layered hardcore to the thrash-electro of Crystal Castles. Much of the show — from performers to jokes — reflected a focus on riskier material.

Backed by a stage of psychedelic plants, host Russell Peters started off with a Bollywood-themed song and dance. But halfway through the song, the dancers ripped off the sometime hip-hop DJ’s costume so he could showcase his popping and locking techniques. The transition reflected his promise to tweak a few nerves during his second stint as host.

Sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll: Peters hit all three with jokes about yearning for Anne Murray’s sex tape, slams on former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page’s recent drug-related troubles, and stage props that looked smokable.

Rock-grunge act Nickelback claimed the night’s two biggest prizes — group of the year and album of the year, as well as the Juno fan choice award.

“The press are gonna hate us tomorrow,” joked frontman Chad Kroeger. “We apologize for hogging up all the air time.”

Super producer Bob Rock inducted ’80s rockers Loverboy into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Sarah McLachlan received the Allan Waters humanitarian award, and perennial Juno winner Bryan Adams sang Walk On By.

k.d. Lang and Buffy Saint-Marie awarded Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green songwriter of the year for his quieter work as City and Colour. Green was joined onstage by the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie to perform Sleeping Sickness.

Fresh from an Australian tour with Kings of Leon, rockers The Stills won Junos for new group of the year and alternative album of the year. Other standouts included back-to-back songs by Crystal Shawanda, Divine Brown and Serena Ryder, and a rocking version of Them Kids by rock album of the year winner Sam Roberts.

 
 
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