CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - Matt Mays & El Torpedo walked off with the most pewter and The Trailer Park Boys triggered an avalanche of F-bombs. The annual East Coast Music Awards were handed out Monday night in front of a capacity crowd at the Charlottetown Civic Centre that included Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "I know you," boomed Trailer Park Boy Ricky as he pointed at a wide-eyed Harper seated in the front row with his wife, Laureen.
"University of Alberta. 1982. Helix."
Island newspapers were flooded in the days preceding the show with letters from people who felt Ricky and his foul-mouthed, pot-smoking cohorts Bubbles and Julian were inappropriate choices as hosts of the annual showcase of Atlantic musical talent.
The fuss was lampooned when the nationally televised broadcast opened with the myopic Bubbles urging Ricky to keep it clean.
"Geez, Ricky, this isn't Showcase, it's the CBC," he fretted as the three lounged in a small trailer parked on the arena floor.
"You might be able to stop swearing for a few minutes but not for a whole show."
Sure enough, their conversation included a number of bleeped F-bombs that became the show's running joke.
Ironically, the Newfoundland band The Novaks performed a song that included three unbleeped expletives.
"We came out and rehearsed it and nobody said anything to us," singer Mick Davis told reporters after the St. John's rockers won the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award.
"It's in the English language," he added with a shrug.
Mays and his Dartmouth, N.S., bandmates finished the night with four awards.
The shaggy rockers won for rock recording of the year, group of the year, FACTOR album of the year, and single of the year for Cocaine Cowgirl, which they performed during the show.
Afterwards, Mays was asked about the band's scruffy, thrift-shop look.
"People see us coming a mile away," he replied, a battered wool cap pulled low over his eyes.
"You can't polish a turd."
Mays figures he's put over 200,000 kilometres on the band's battered van, The Night Owl, in 2 1/2 years of relentless touring and blistering live shows.
The band opened last year for Blue Rodeo and Sam Roberts on national tours that helped grow their audiences from almost nothing when they started to full houses now.
"What we're trying to do is establish a real fan base, not like an overnight fan base, because the ones that you work for stay forever," said Mays.
Celtic singer Mary Jane Lamond of Cape Breton went home with two awards - female artist of the year and roots/traditional solo recording of the year for her latest album, Storas.
Halifax singer-songwriter Joel Plaskett also won twice, for male artist of the year and for SOCAN songwriter of the year for his song Happen Now.
"I wrote Happen Now on my father's tenor guitar, so I have to thank him for buying it," Plaskett told the crowd after receiving the songwriting award.
Country artist George Canyon was named entertainer of the year for the second consecutive year. It was the only award voted on by the public.
"I figured Matt and the boys would win this - they've been cleaning up," said Canyon, who grew up in Nova Scotia's Pictou County but lives now in Alberta.
"It doesn't matter where I live. I'm a Maritimer."
The Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to legendary Cape Breton fiddler Buddy MacMaster.
His niece, Natalie MacMaster, performed a medley of his tunes, then gave her elderly uncle the award.
"I started when I was 11 years old and that was 70 years ago," the 81-year-old told the crowd.
"Once I started, I never gave it up. I just loved the music."
The show also included live performances by Canyon, Lamond, Lennie Gallant and Bubbles, who sang a song called Liquor and Whores.
J.P. Cormier of Cape Breton won for folk recording of the year for his album The Long River: A Personal Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot.
Cormier said he's been a longtime fan of the Canadian icon and received approval from the man himself for the recording.
"He is the bard by which I measure my writing," Cormier said. "All songwriters look at him as the grandfather of Canadian songwriters."