WPGU, Buzz magazine host annual music awards

Coco Coca performs at the Local Music Awards at the High Dive on 51 E Main St. in Champaign on Thursday night, April 5, 2007. ME Online

By Elizabeth Weber

From three-peat wins to split bands winning awards to touching tributes and Howie Mandel impressions, the WPGU and the Buzz held their third annual Local Music Awards at the High Dive on Thursday.

This year’s show was hosted by Buzz columnist Michael Coulter and featured a variety of performances from local artists.

“They can’t get anyone else,” Coulter said jokingly of his status as the show’s inaugural host.

The show kicked off with a high-energy performance by solo artist Coco Coca, who was also nominated in the category for Best New Artist.

“I was totally nervous at first, but then I said ‘screw it,'” he said of his onstage jitters.

Other performances included the folk trio Casados, heavy rock band I:Scintilla, who won in the Heavy Band category and in the Album of the Year category, and rock band Tritone among many others.

Some notable winners include Santa, who won in both the Best New Artist category, Best Student Band and Best Jazz/Blues Band winner Kilborn Alley, who dedicated their win to the father of the guitarist’s who died recently in a car accident. DJ Bozak also won his third consecutive award for Best DJ.

Most notable was Lorenzo Goetz, who won Best Rock Band, despite having been split up since October.

Dropsixx, a veteran band in the Champaign-Urbana area, was awarded Best Live Band/Performer, feeling humbled for the recognition by fans who wrote-in the ballot for this award.

“We’ve been together some ten odd years,” said guitarist J.D. White. “It’s unbelievable.”

One highlight of the evening included a tribute to Chef Ra, a former radio personality for WEFT 90.1 FM, who died this past December. Accepting the award for Lifetime Achievement in his honor was former colleague Mick Wolf, who called Ra “a cultural icon” in Champaign. A tribute cover of “One Love” by Jazz Sandwich followed shortly after.

For more information on the awards, visit www.cumusicawards.com.