Some of the most prominent stars of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music descended on the Novo theater in the LA Live entertainment complex, for the Loudwire music awards and concert. The first annual event replaces the former Golden God awards show that used to take place in the same venue, formerly known as the Nokia club. After a several year hiatus, the show is back under their new moniker.
The festivities began early on one of the hottest days of the year in Los Angeles, which happened to be the first day of the World Series of Baseball at nearby Dodger Stadium. By the time the first musicians arrived to stroll down the black carpet in mid-afternoon the temperature had soared to 103 degrees. As the long line of presenters and performers swelled on the carpet, veteran rockers mingled with the newest performers on the Heavy Metal charts in a sweltering mass. Bright lights and camera flashes engulfed the tightly packed group of musicians, who desperately tried to maintain a rose persona while chatting with the gauntlet of reporters.
Inside the Novo, the theater was a much more pleasant environment, with the plush air-conditioned venue offering up multi-level full bars, a VIP lounge, and state of the art light and sound for the event. The show began with a live performance by the legendary lead singer of Judas Priest, Rob Halford going the new Goth metal band In This Moment. Halford sang a dark duet with the charismatic lead singer of the group Maria Brink, parodying Billy Idol’s song White Wedding. The groups take on the song changed the lyrics to Black Wedding. In This Moment is known for preforming in a dark gothic style complete with all sorts of theatrical accouterments. The explosive opening song was one of the highlights of the long evening of music and awards and set the pattern of performances featuring veteran rockers joining newer bands from hardcore genres. The band also played a song from their latest album Ritual.
Host Chris Jericho opened the awards part of the show next. The feisty Jericho wears two hats, one as a professional wrestler, the other as the lead singer of the hard rock group Fozzy. The evening dialogue was chock full of irreverent and sophomoric humor belying a hardcore rock event. But the mostly irrelevant chatter was punctuated with heartfelt tributes and uplifting speeches. Members of Steel Panthers and Eddie Money teamed up to present the first award to Zakk Wylde for best guitarist.
The next music set featured Ice T leading his genre-bending breakthrough band Body Count in the new song No Lives Matter from their new album Bloodlust. The architect of Megadeath, Dave Mustaine was a significant contributor to the new album, and fittingly he appeared to play with the band on their second song from the new album, Civil War. The song opens the new album featuring Mustaine’s voice and exquisite guitar riffs.
More awards followed including an exceptional courage award to the godfather of heavy metal guitar, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. Iommi was the hand model for the awards trophy a cast of his hand with the iconic “Hand of Doom” heavy metal salute. A short video examined the process of making the trophy and the story behind the award. Iommi had worked in a factory in England before becoming a musician and had his hand mangled by a machine. The determined musician rehabilitated himself becoming the premier metal guitarist in the world.
Texas rockers Nothing More played the next set just returning from their triumphant performance at this year's Aftershock Festival in Sacramento. The band led singer Jonny Hawkins, opened with Go to War which morphed into a Skrillex tune, First of The Year. Skrillex began his music career as a punk rock guitarist before becoming an EDM star and probably would have enjoyed the Nothing More version of his song. Hawkins then rode his giant hydraulic percussion machine that looked like a device found in a Mad Max movie. The band ended the night with a salute to Chris Cornell playing the Audioslave tune, Show Me How to Live. The group was joined by singer Aaron Pauley from Of Mice And Men for the intriguing cover song.
More awards followed for veteran rockers including Rob Halford, who received the Lemmy Lifetime Achievement Award. Sporting a Lemmy T-shirt, Halford honored the former lead singer of Motorhead, who passed away in 2015. Halford also thanked the fans for being the “lifeblood of what we do.”
Space rockers Starset played the next set, performing songs from their Vessels album. The innovative group brought their unique performance to Los Angeles, also just back from an impressive Aftershock appearance. The creative band was sounding like a cross between Arcade Fire and Metallica, featured innovative video, giant smoke volleys, led spacesuits synched to the music and more, to produce a fascinating Si Fi version of metal.
After another round of awards, the new hardcore band Power Trip took the stage to perform a high energy set. The band had just won the award for the best new metal song, “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe),” which they opened with. The band was joined by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta for an explosive cover of Motorhead’s We Are The Road Crew.
Lzzy Hale of Halestorm gave the most emotional speech of the evening next while accepting the Best Vocalist award for Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Hale, who wrote a song about the beloved singer who recently committed suicide, tearfully injected, "All of us, we have terrible beasts and demons and vices that we battle daily. And as humans, we have a responsibility to everybody, to each other to lift each other up. We are in this fight together.” Sammy Hagar then received the Humanitarian Award for his volunteer efforts that have raised nearly 4 million dollars for multiple charities. The good-natured Hagar urged music fans to volunteer and help others. Hagar shouted out to the Grateful Web fans on the Black Carpet. The singer wanted to honor Jerry Garcia's 75th birthday and can be seen in the new Grateful Dead documentary, "The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir."
Halestorm then took the stage for the most uplifting set of the night, beginning with a cover of Soundgarden’s Fell On Black Days, in honor of Chris Cornell, who also committed suicide this summer. Then lead singer Hale, who is the new face of female hard rock, welcomed iconic veteran female rocker Lita Ford, as well as New Years Day's Ash Costello, Huntress' Jill Janus, Pearl's Pearl Aday, Sick Puppies' Emma Anzai, Stitched Up Heart's Mixi Demner and Butcher Babies' Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd, all to sing with the band. The band launched into The Runaways classic, Cherry Bomb, honoring Ford and her groundbreaking band.
After another flurry of awards New York’s speed metal veterans, Anthrax took the stage for a blistering mini set. The band opened with their classic Caught in a Mosh, that launched the crowd into a mosh pit frenzy. The band then surprised everyone with a classic rock cover of Carry On My Wayward Son, by progressive rockers Kansas.
Following the final awards segment, the band many young fans came to see, Avenged Sevenfold performed a blistering four-song set. Avenged had just won both the Metal Artist of the year and Metal Album of the year awards and were clearly the crowd favorites. The band played “The Stage,” ”Nightmare,” “God Damn” and “Hail to the King,” ending the marathon evening of music and awards on a high note.
Courage Award (Presented by Ultimate Classic Rock) - Tony Iommi
Lemmy Lifetime Achievement Award (Presented by Eagle Rock) - Rob Halford
Humanitarian Award (Presented by AXS TV) - Sammy Hagar
Hard Rock Artist of the Year (Presented by Frontiers Records) - Stone Sour
Metal Artist of the Year (Presented by BlackCraft) - Avenged Sevenfold
Hard Rock Album of the Year (Presented by The Music Experience) - Stone Sour, Hydrograd
Metal Album of the Year – (Presented by Razor & Tie) - Avenged Sevenfold, The Stage
Best Guitarist (Presented by PRS Guitars) - Zakk Wylde (Solo, Zakk Sabbath)
Breakthrough Band of the Year (Presented by Apple Music) - Beartooth
Best Bassist (Presented by Indigo Hotels) - Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
Metal Song of the Year (Presented by Apple Music) - Power Trip’s “Executioner’s Tax”
Hard Rock Song of the Year (Presented by Apple Music) - I Prevail’s “Alone”
Best Live Band (Presented by eOne) - Iron Maiden
Best Vocalist (Presented by Fearless Records) - Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)
Best Drummer (Presented by Rockin’ Roastin’ Coffee) - Mario Duplantier (Gojira)
Best New Artist (Presented by Century Media) - Greta Van Fleet
Most Dedicated Fans (Presented by BMG/RISE) - Babymetal