The people have voted and their voices have been heard — the winners of the 2009 Rhombus Readers’ Choice Awards are finally ready to be unveiled!
However, before we do so, let me say a word about the voting process. There have recently been rumblings about accusations of all sorts of heinous ballot-stuffing and whatnot among the nominees, and I’d like to take a moment to say those things might be true — but, regardless of who put out Facebook messages urging their legions of adoring fans to vote, that does not undermine the integrity of the results.
Sure, the “best” band may or may not have won, but who can really say who is the “best,” as all art (and everything, really) is wholly subjective? That was not the premise of this poll — I don’t pretend that these little awards represent absolute authority on local culture. They don’t. If you really wanted to win, all you had to do was convince all the people who think you’re the best (see, still subjective!) to vote for you, and everyone had an equal opportunity to do so. (But, in reality, isn’t that the gist of any democratic election? Convincing the maximum number of people that think you’re the “best” to cast a ballot in your favor?)
As a result of this process, we had some fun and produced the results listed below. I don’t expect everyone to agree with them — hell, I don’t necessarily agree with them (as is abundantly clear here.) But that’s not the point. We’re not out to crown the kings and/or queens of Provo. We just want to know what the people (whoever they may be) think — and they have spoken.
So, without further ado, your winners of the 2009 Rhombus Readers’ Choice Awards (or rather, those who convinced the most people who think they’re the “best” to actually vote for them)…
Best Artist (Folk/Country): Moses (formerly Drew Capener)
After a whirlwind year that included forming as a full band, taking second at Velour’s Winter Battle of the Bands, and recording an album with Joshua James, Moses’ brand of firewater folk-rock seems to have whet our readers’ appetites. Consider us excited too.
Best Artist (Rock/Pop): Vinyl Club
Though they may still be mired in their teenage years, Vinyl Club is one of the local scene’s most promising young acts. Combining a myriad of different musical styles to create something uniquely their own, these upstarts are thankfully just getting started.
Best Album (Folk/Country): Seafinch, Who’s Going to Hold You in the Evening
We’ve made no attempt to hide our admiration for Asher Seevinck’s swoon-inducing collection of Christian folk songs. Even (or perhaps especially) if the bluster of Christian rock isn’t your cup of tea, you owe it to yourself to hear this beautifully constructed EP.
Best Album (Rock/Pop): Fictionist, Invisible Hand
Formerly known as Good Morning Maxfield, these guys have built one of the local scene’s largest and most ardent fan bases — a literal army of Fictionist foot-soldiers ready to mobilize to any show anywhere in support of their heroes. While their unique brand of experimental rock has inspired some stark divisions of opinion between the faithful and the non-believers, there’s no doubt that a lot of people love what Fictionist do — and they do it extraordinarily well.
Best Music Venue: Velour Live Music Gallery
Boasting some of the best ambience and coolest decor (not to mention the best acoustics) around, Velour has quickly become the go-to venue for many artists and concertgoers alike. Owner Corey Fox has been working with local bands since the early 1990s and his excellent venue will undoubtedly continue to benefit many artists for years to come.
Best Restaurant: Gloria’s Little Italy
This race was one of the closest. Both Pizzeria Seven Twelve and Guru’s got a lot of love from their respective fans, but it was ultimately Gloria’s Little Italy that snatched victory at the last minute. Located on the corner of University Ave. and Center Street in downtown Provo, Gloria’s does Italian food right — and at a reasonable price. If you’re in the mood for some authentic Italian cooking and maybe a little gelato, Gloria’s is the place for you.
Best Movie Theater: (TIE) Cinemark University Mall, Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons
The readers just couldn’t decide on a winner here, and I don’t know how much more there is to say. They’re both movie theaters and they’re both big. One is close by, the other has an IMAX screen. Which is better? I guess it’s just a matter of preference.
Best Clothing Store: Urban Outfitters
For some strange reason, I am in no way surprised that Urban Outfitters took this category by a very wide margin. As everything “indie” (read: music, fashion, fixed-gear bicycle-riding, etc.) has become increasingly “mainstream” — whatever those terms mean — over the last year or so, Urban has become the shopping destination for many an aspiring hipster. No one has made more money off selling skinny jeans, flannel shirts and floppy hats to the general public, indicating that what was once elitist, snobby and exclusive is now the new Abercrombie & Fitch. (I mean, Phoenix is on Gossip Girl, everyone and their dog is now wearing what just two years ago would have been derisively labeled “girl jeans,” and ironic mustaches are no longer all that ironic. Think about it.)
Best Hang-out: Velour Live Music Gallery
Same story, different category. Apparently Velour just RULEZ!
Best Trend: Sushi
I’ve never been one for sushi (despite my love of seafood), but it seems people like it even more than they like the aforementioned “girl jeans.” Though the raw fish dish beat out the skinny-jeaned supertrend by just one measly vote, Japan declares victory nonetheless.
Best Sports Moment: Real Salt Lake wins MLS Cup
Real Salt Lake’s victory in this category can only be attributed (in my mind) to one of three potential causes: a) the two BYU football nominees split the vote between them, b) our readership is generally sick of BYU football, or c) RSL’s championship was actually pretty awesome. I’ll avoid making a prediction and go with all of the above.
Best Event: Battle of the Bands at Velour Live Music Gallery
Everyone loves new music and there’s no better way to find great new local bands than Velour’s semi-annual Battle of the Bands competitions. December’s contest introduced to a bunch of promising acts, including Vinyl Club, NightNight, Moses and the Archers’ Apple, among others. These relatively new artists (and those that will inevitably follow in their wake) will be the ones to shape the local scene in the coming year and carry Provo into a new decade of limitless possibilities. Count me in.
Steve Pierce is editor and co-founder of Rhombus.