Thursday, January 8, 2015

Friends Indeed


Christine Newsom photo of WXRT air staff from the WXRT Facebook page.

About midway through the WXRT 2014 Listeners Poll Gala last night, Tributosaurus launched into Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” as host Lin Brehmer returned to the podium. Without needing to elaborate, Brehmer, who is the FM radio station’s morning DJ, laughed and asked the audience, “Get it?” Most of the people who had come out to City Winery no doubt appreciated the tribute band’s riff on Brehmer’s oft-spoken claim, “I’m your best friend in the whole world!” The catch phrase, like much of what Brehmer says on the air, is delivered with humor but also accurately sums up the bond WXRT has cultivated with its listeners over five decades.

That loyalty was one of the main reasons so many fans braved the ghastly wind chill on a night when they could have stayed home and watched The People’s Choice Awards on TV. The promise of a free drink and a spread of hors d’oeuvres certainly played a role, as did the opportunity to see the critically acclaimed Tributosaurus. They provided accompaniment as WXRT’s on-air personalities came onstage to reveal the results of this year’s poll. The Gala had kicked off with Brehmer and his morning news anchor Mary Dixon doing a few minutes of stand-up comedy based on the leading entertainment stories of 2014. 

Here are the top five results for each category:

Terri Hemmert presented the Best Local Venues: 5. Lincoln Hall 4. City Winery 3. Metro 2. The Vic 1. The Chicago Theatre.

Richard Milne presented the Best Local Acts: 5. Cheap Trick 4. Mavis Staples 3. Smashing Pumpkins 2. Buddy Guy 1. Wilco

The Regular Guy presented the Best Movies: 5. Birdman 4. The LEGO Movie 3. Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Gone Girl 1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jason Thomas presented the Best Concerts: 5. Foo Fighters at Cubby Bear  4. Arcade Fire at United Center 3. Lollapalooza 2. Wilco Winterlude at Riviera Theatre 1. Jack White at The Chicago Theatre and Auditorium Theatre

Frank E. Lee presented the Best Songs: 5. Arcade Fire – Afterlife” 4. Kongos – Come With Me Now” 3. Foo Fighters – Something From Nothing” 2. Jack White – Lazaretto 1. Hozier – “Take Me To Church” 

Lin Brehmer presented the Best Albums: 5. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye  4. Beck – Morning Phase 3. Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 2. Jack White – Lazaretto and 1.The Black Keys – Turn Blue

For a complete list for all the categories, check out the WXRT website

After the official ceremony had ended, Tributosaurus played an eclectic set that included songs by The Band and Stevie Wonder. Meanwhile, the on-air personalities fanned out through the audience, greeting old friends as well as people they had never met before. It was an impressive scene filled with smiles, handshakes, and even quite a few hugs. 

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