The famous Maxwell’s rock club and restaurant was the site of the third annual Hoboken Music Awards last weekend, honoring and embracing the buzzing music scene in Hoboken.
Affectionately deemed “The Hobeys” by fans and musicians alike, the awards show drew a packed house on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 8:30 p.m. The night featured performances from local bands such as Motorboat, Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians, The Fave, and more.
The HMAs were conceived in 2009 by David Entwistle, longtime host of the People’s Open Mic, which showcased local artists in town. Through the HMAs, Entwistle hopes to honor and promote musicians in Hoboken through a night of performances and awards. Last year’s show took place at the Northern Soul bar, and the inaugural event was held at the now-defunct Goldhawk Bar & Lounge.
“It means so much when it comes from the fans.” – Stephie Coplan
“This was a tough year for us,” said Bailey in an interview. “With the music scene in Hoboken growing all the time, the sheer number of nominee submissions was outstanding.”
“[It’s] just a testament to the vibrancy of our scene,” added Bailey.
The Hobey judges included Steve Shelley, longtime drummer for Sonic Youth; Lindsay Klein of 105.5 WDHA FM, and Brian Phillips of 101.9 RXP FM. Awards were distributed from a variety of categories, including outstanding band, solo artist, and album, as well as the People’s Choice Award.
A jam-packed house
Residents made their way to a crowded backroom at Maxwell’s at 1039 Washington Street to witness performances from Motorboat, Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians, The Micks, The Fave, The 65’s, and Cecilia Celeste. Awards were distributed based on eight categories.
Karyn Kuhl and Khaled Dajani won the outstanding female solo and outstanding male solo categories, respectively.
“It was a great night,” said Kuhl, “[filled with] a lot of good spirit and energy.”
“I’m grateful to Dave Entwistle and Stephen Bailey for helping to keep local original music alive in Hoboken,” continued Kuhl. “It’s so important to the heart and soul of this town.”
“To win the award was really cool,” said Dajani. “To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting it. I went to support the scene and nominees that were there.”
Dajani has made a name for himself in the Hoboken music scene as a solo artist in a genre he refers to as “Alternative World Fusion.”
“It’s a mix of Spanish meets Arabic meets rock and roll,” said Dajani. “I try to really blend in as much as I can from different genres.”
Dajani often performs at various Hoboken venues, including Northern Soul, Hobson’s Choice, and the Elysian Cafe. He was also recently featured at the Digable Arts Festival at the Monroe Arts Center.
Other winners included Stuyvesant, an indie rock band, who took the outstanding band category as voted by the judges. Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians, a piano-driven rock band, won the People’s Choice category for best band.
“It was great to win, it was a huge surprise,” said Coplan, who mentioned that she spent hours calling friends the night before to encourage them to vote. The People’s Choice award is won by amassing votes on-line.
“The bass player, John [Hebert] and I just went crazy calling everyone we knew,” continued Coplan, adding that her group evidently received about 400 votes right before the deadline. “We’re glad it paid off.”
Coplan also expressed her satisfaction with winning the People’s Choice category in particular.
“That really meant a lot to us,” said Coplan, whose group performed at the awards ceremony. “It means so much when it comes from the fans, because you know that’s a real reflection of how the public thinks of you.”
Stephie Coplan & The Pedestrians were scheduled to release the music video for their single, “Jerk” this weekend at the Living Room in New York. Their first album has a release party slated for Jan. 21 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York.
The Milwaukees won outstanding album for their LP, “American Anthems Vol 2.” The Waking Lights won outstanding EP for their self-titled release.
The Nico Blues won the outstanding video category for their single, “Folk Song #2.” Lea Noelle Simone also won an award for outstanding scene contributor for the Pier Sessions, an outdoor concert series on the Hoboken waterfront.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at email@example.com.