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The 2017 ALTERNATIVE PRESS MUSIC AWARDS In Cleveland, OH With Red Carpet Photos!

By Geoff Ketler, Cleveland Contributor
Monday, August 7, 2017 @ 10:51 AM

At The State Theater

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All Photos By Geofff Ketler/Aces High Photography

After taking their talents to Columbus in 2016, Alternative Press brought the 4th annual awards ceremony back to the north shore in what was set to be a triumphant return to Cleveland. Just days before the event, it was announced that the entire show would be moved from the 22,000-seat venue, aka Quicken Loans Arena, to the 3,100 capacity State Theater in Cleveland’s theater district of Playhouse Square. The official press release stated “logistical reasons”, but I think we can safely assume that ticket sales were not where they needed to be. Capacity issues aside, the State Theater provided a much classier feel. It was less like a concert and more like the SAG Awards or something. There were plenty of ushers and I could see several of the artists sitting in the theater amongst the fans. It was truly an up-close and personal experience.

The lobby of the adjacent theater was the setting for the red carpet. The typically raucous and crowded pre-show event that has been open to the public in years past was now pared down and behind closed doors as the hoards gathered outside the main entrance, trying to catch a glimpse as the buses and vans pulled up to the curb on Euclid Ave. The only fans allowed inside were the premium VIP ticket holders and since security dropped the ball on the barricade (or lack thereof), it was my job to photograph the red carpet with screaming fans right over my shoulder. Many of the marquee names skipped the red carpet altogether. There were no sightings of KORN or Corey Taylor and others stepped on the carpet just for their Alternative Press photo op before skipping the remainder of the line, ie PIERCE THE VEIL. GWAR made an appearance that was 100% in character and in full costume which pretty much made the event noteworthy. Save GWAR, AVATAR, CKY and a few others, it was a seemingly endless parade of unknown punk bands on their off-date from Warped Tour, dressed to the nines in their thrift-store Woody Allen jackets and hipster accessories highlighting their matching neck tattoos.

After the red carpet activity came to a halt, the actual awards ceremony was kicked off by ALL TIME LOW…I think. It was tough to tell since my media ticket placed me in the last row of the entire venue on the balcony. I know tickets were a bit tight due to the venue change at the last minute and I am not trying to whine about my seat, but it literally was difficult to make out everything that was happening on stage. On top of that, the event was plagued with glitches; missing audio during interviews on the live video feed, dropped volume on microphones, presenters gone MIA, you name it…it probably happened. There were plenty of positives though too. PIERCE THE VEIL played an incredible version of “Black Hole Sun” to honor the late Chris Cornell, NOTHING MORE ripped through a tight medley of new and old material and the “drum off” featuring Frank Zummo (SUM 41), Adrian Young (NO DOUBT) and Josh Dun (21 PILOTS) was memorable.

One of the marquee names mentioned previously, KORN was awarded the Vanguard Award and presented by SLIPKNOT/STONE SOUR vocalist Corey Taylor for their efforts in the architecture of “Nu Metal”. The entire band was on hand to accept the award despite their eleventh-hour cancellation of their headlining performance for the night. Sliding into the cleanup role to cap off the evening was first time host Andy Biersack (BLACK VEIL BRIDES) who sang a duet with Juliet Simms of Adele's “When We Were Young”. Andy did a swell job of hosting. His parts seemed minimized, short and sweet, as presenters freely headed to the podium between performances, but he managed the event as well as anyone. All issues aside, be it logistical or not, the crew was able to put together a decent awards ceremony even without the lead talent. My hope is that next year, the APMAs will be able to return to a larger venue, but with the noticeable popularity gap in big-names from last year to this year, I am not so sure the success of the awards show is growing or even stagnant. We will just have to see.

Check out some more red capet photos from the event!
All Photos By Geofff Ketler/Aces High Photography

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