Last time you sipped a rooftop martini or danced ’til twilight under hot strobes, did you consider the hardworking creatives that made your night soar? Well, the organizers of The Second Annual Chicago Nightlife Awards, did. More than twenty awards were handed out to a multitude of Windy City heroes: barbacks, DJ’s, monthly theme party organizers, photographers and more, during this much awaited event, which is replicated on both American coasts.
But this local ceremony, held Tuesday night, June 2, at The Concord on Milwaukee Avenue, included its own dazzling lineup of presenters and awardees. Some, dressed in chic, eye-catching gowns, were thrilled to pose for photos on the red carpet. while other guests wore business casual garb, but despite diverse style preferences, the common denominator remained a great sense of enthusiasm and desire for community building.
Musician and former “MTV Rocks Off” star, Jesse Camp, arrived early with an entourage, including musical members of Jesse and the Eighth Street Kidz. Wearing reams of jewels, a floppy hat and a fake fur, he expressed thanks to Chicago media and guests for celebrating Chicago’s unique tastemakers.
Camp later cohosted the actual awards ceremony with Jeremy Scheuch (Do312) after a short film, featuring nominees, shots of tony, boutique hotels and other hot spots, was screened. Camp and Scheuch traded asides and watched musical acts: Mic Terror, Glasslux, Hurt Everybody and IDYLL create everything from mellow vibes to pulsating beats, between awards.
Here are some award highlights: Tom Gavin, Daniel Brunelle, Gordon Bramli and Ryan Luciani, of Gemini Club took home the trophy for best new Chicago band. You may have already rocked to a few of their electronic gems, like “Empty Bed” or “Sparklers.” The band offered “massive thanks to everyone that voted” on their Facebook page.
Derrick Carter’s prize for Chicago’s best DJ drew positive comments from admirers near the stage. Lincoln Hall topped off the “Best Live Music Venue, 700 or under” prize. The River North new kid, Headquarters Beercade, came home with “Best New Venue.” Camp made quite a fuss over Mike Finnegan when presenting him with the “Best” Bartender” trophy.
Amourena Tsokatos didn’t stand on ceremony when accepting her GoGo Dancer trophy and photographers, Glitter Guts, received a huge round of applause when the two recipients accepted theirs. Zack Eastman was dressed to the nines. I’m sure the East Room is the place to be seen and pampered, which is why he was deemed: “Best Manager.”
The Mid has been creating quite a buzz this year, too, with locals, international tourists and visiting DJ’s. No wonder this dance club took home the “Best New Venue” award. For those who have enjoyed consistently great lineups, like Patti Smith, Paul Weller and Weezer each summer and for more than a decade, it was a no-brainer when Riot Fest received the award for “Chicago’s Best Festival.” They’ll be in Douglas Park this summer, bringing together some more superb acts.
But the awards aren’t only for musicians and exciting venues. Some writers scratch their heads, trying to merge witty observations with hard facts, but Fake Shore Drive creates entertaining content every day of the week. Who would argue that he’s Chicago’s “Best Blogger”?
After hours, personnel from Shipwrecked Band Series, repeat winners of the “Best Monthly Party” award, recounted the fun they’ve had matching up their cadre of international DJ’s with the company’s loyal cruise patrons.
And, of course, it takes more than glitter and daring necklines to make an awards night special. Chicago is a city that has always honored its sports figures and this night was no exception. In fact, when mascot, Benny the Bull, showed off his one-off, award-winning smile, he lit up the already vibrant Concord, like a giant disco ball. That’s the Second Annual Chicago Nightlife Awards, bringing all citizens together, from all walks of life and across many disciplines. Thank you, Chicago. See you next year.