RECAP: 2016 RadioMilwaukee Music Awards

For the past nine years, 88Nine RadioMilwaukee has given out awards honoring some of the top names in Milwaukee’s local music scene, and for the past decade they’ve excelled the city’s local music scene by leaps and bounds. So it’s no surprise that their Walker’s Point studio was packed on Thursday night for an award show that not only featured honors for local artists, but also featured a stacked performance lineup, as well. Milwaukee’s music scene was incredibly well-represented on Thursday night.

The night was accented by DJ sets from Ian Ewing of Noh Life, and he kept the party moving, as what felt like most of the big players in Milwaukee music were in one room mingling with one another. An early performance from NO/NO kicked things off, giving the room a jolt of energy with their addicting synth pop-rock. Soul Low later kept that energy going, with a set that included singles from their “Nosebleeds” album, as well as a brand new song that according to frontman Jake Ballistreri, had just been recorded. Milo brought some hip hop to the party with an aggressive set that showed off not only his style and abstract rhyme scheme, but also a gritiness to his approach. At one point, he requested that the sound man keep “all that ugly shit” in the mix, referring to some technical glitches onstage. GGOOLLDD gave us a preview of new material as well, and managed to bring the entire room together in their set, which is surely a good sign for the band’s Turner Hall Ballroom show on Friday night. Lastly, D’Amato closed the night, turning the RadioMilwaukee studio into a funky dance party. One of the coolest aspects of this set, though, was the local-music star cast that surrounded D’Amato; members of New Age Narcissism, Airo Kwil, Rocket Paloma, SistaStrings, and likely more local acts made up his backing band. Truly a testament to the amount of homegrown talent that makes up the city of Milwaukee.

The night’s award winners made our predictions look, well, wrong. Very wrong. Which, in hindsight, is great. We should be wrong, because that means that there is so big of a talent pool now that the awards for local music aren’t predictable. Both new and familiar faces in Milwaukee music brought home awards on Thursday night, meaning that while established artist are gaining traction here, there’s a whole new wave of music ready to make things interesting in their own right.

Local hip hop was the star of the show on Thursday, as Scallops Hotel and Mike Regal received some much-deserved recognition. New Age Narcissism was well represented, as Lorde Fredd33 and Lex Allen took home trophies as well. However, in what feels like an upset win, Joe Quinto and Miguel Diaz took home best music video for “Black Magic”. Gloss Records can rest easy, as they have both the Band of the Year and Album of the Year in GGOOLLDD and Soul Low’s “Nosebleeds” respectively. It was a diverse array of winners, and nobody took home more than one trophy, which feels like an ideal outcome for many.

Check out the winners below, and if you’ve looked at our predictions, feel free to snicker at how inaccurate we were. One thing is for certain, though; if you were in attendance at RadioMilwaukee’s Music Awards Thursday, you can be proud of the local music scene. The night was exceptional, and it was really just the tip of the iceberg. Kudos to 88Nine RadioMilwaukee for their efforts, because they are clearly paying off when you look at the music being made in Milwaukee.


Critic’s Choice Award – Scallops Hotel

Best Disc We Missed – Mike Regal – “Premonitions”

Best Album Artwork – Lorde Fredd33 – “Dead Man’s View”

Best Independent Release – Brett Newski – “Land, Air, Sea, Garage”

Best Music Video – Joe Quinto & Miguel Diaz – “Black Magic”

Solo Artist of the Year – Lex Allen

Band of the Year – GGOOLLDD

Song of the Year – Chris Siegel Featuring Lex Allen, Siren, and Christine Hoberg – “This Is How”

Album Of The Year – Soul Low – “Nosebleeds”

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