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It's like Prize Day...
The Choice Music Awards
We sent our resident spy down to Vicar Street in Dublin to bring you all the backstage gossip and big talking points from the Choice Music Prize of 2006. Don't tell anyone else...


1. Our Rigsy manages to offend the entire room within twenty seconds of coming onstage. Hosting the awards alongside channel six fox Michelle O Doherty, he's determined to let everyone know the nordies are here to take over. Reading out the nominations, he makes a big deal over fellow countrymen Snow Patrol, Divine Comedy and Duke Special, before barely mumbling the names of the other "daft mexicans" there to "make up the numbers".

2. Republic of Loose open proceedings with a filthy version of 'Somebody Screamed'. They storm onstage, looking scruffy as ever and immediately bring the tone of the whole ceremony to a place where suits and posh shoes certainly aren't welcome. Suddenly everyone feels comfortable and up for a party. At the end of the night, the Loose seem generally miffed not to have won, which impresses ATL no end. We don't like people being that sporty and gracious, you see.

3. Wonderful curveballs. Si Schroeder's beautiful performance is an unexpected treat, given many in attendance had never heard of the man before he took to the stage. Following the two fragile, epic ballads he played, it's assumed the entire audience will pick up his album 'Coping Mechanisms' first thing Thursday morning.

4. The absentees are discussed backstage. Johnny Tiernan from Alternative Ulster is there putting forward a case for Oppenheimer, his number one Irish album of last year while Duke Special is annoyed Iain Archer wasn't included. Rigsy is wondering why the Desert Hearts aren't on the list. The trio decide to do whatever it takes to get even more Northern Irish albums on the list next year.

5. Neil Hannon makes the mistake of telling Rigsy backstage what he'd like to spend the ten grand on, should he win. Rigsy decides to use this in his intro - "lets welcome to the stage, a man so rock and roll he says he wants to spend the prize money on a new kitchen". Neil is asked about this plan several times in post interviews and is forced to discuss potential worktops and his current dining room table.

6. The Immediate charm everyone in the room. During their introductory video, their lead singer David Hedderman charms the entire room�.by saying very little. They seem like such nice guys, and their performance is one of the best (and certainly the noisiest) of the evening.

7. The absentees seem generally gutted they can't be there. Snow Patrol explain they're in the states, but graciously admit they'd be mortified if they won. Fionn Regan is on tour in Austrailia, but it transpires he attempted to book a return trip that would take him to Dublin for nine hours before returning to Sydney for a show. The organizers stepped in at the last minute, telling him to quite literally "wise up".

8. Duke Special steals the show. Every time his name is mentioned there's a round of applause, and in one instance - some girly screams. No other act get a reception anything like the Dukes. He performs 'Freewheel' and 'Salvation Tambourine' to total fawning and euphoria. He's also a ridiculous 1/5 to win the award. As far as most are concerned, it's a no-brainer. However, Peter is gracious in defeat. He's best pals with Neil Hannon after all. And as is pointed out backstage, he's a guy with so much happening at the moment, he'll never be shy of something to get excited about this year.

9. Neil Hannon. Just a wonderful, charming man and an insanely good songwriter getting exactly what he deserves. He's genuinely amazed to have won and in no fit state to make a speech. It takes several moments for him to compose himself, but a nice manly kiss with a certain lanky co-host seems to help. He makes the simple point "ten people sat in a room listening to a bunch of great albums. They liked mine the best. It's amazing". Hats off to Hannon and lets celebrate the spoils coming up north, shall we?

10. In conclusion, then, Ireland really has it goin' on. Northern Ireland especially. Ten genuinely awesome albums and at least another ten that could also have made the list. Good times, eh?

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Photo Gallery

Gig Details
Venue: Vicar Street
Location: Dublin
Date: 28/2/2007

Director - 'We Thrive On Big Cities' (Atlantic)
The Divine Comedy - 'Victory for the Comic Muse' (Parlophone)
Duke Special - 'Songs From the Deep Forest' (V2)
The Immediate - 'In Towers & Clouds' (Fantastic Plastic)
David Kitt - 'Not Fade Away' (Dublin Discs)
Messiah J & The Expert - 'Now This I Have To Hear' (Inaudible)
Fionn Regan - 'The End Of History' (Heffa)
Republic Of Loose - 'Aaagh!' (Loaded Dice)
Si Schroeder - 'Coping Mechanisms' (Trust Me I'm A Thief)
Snow Patrol - 'Eyes Open' (Polydor)

Related Links
+ Choice Music Prize