IT WAS a night of surprises at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards, with U2 going home empty-handed for the first time.
The band were beaten in all three categories: best band, best album and even best live performance.
It was a surprise in particular for The Coronas whose sophomore album Tony Was An Ex-Con was voted best Irish album ahead of U2’s No Line on Horizon by music fans.
“I know people say this all the time, but we really, really didn’t expect this,” said lead singer Danny O’Reilly. “We just assumed like everyone else that U2 would win. We hadn’t a clue.”
Expressing equal incredulity at their award was The Script, who won for the best Irish live performance of the year for their barnstorming set at Oxegen, even though U2 played three shows at Croke Park to nearly 250,000 concert-goers.
Drummer Glenn Power said they had not expected to win and had no script written. Snow Patrol was voted best band.
U2 bass player Adam Clayton was the only member of the band to turn up. He presented the industry award to Lord Henry Mountcharles, the owner of Slane Castle.
Singer-songwriter Wallis Bird followed up last year’s Hope for 2009 Meteor Award with the award for best female ahead of the favourite Laura Izibor.
An emotional Bird seemed genuinely shocked to win. “If I had known this was going to happen I would have written a speech and worn better shoes,” she said referring to the scuffed red brogues she wore, in contrast to the vertiginous heels which were most in evidence last night.
It was a bitterly cold night outside the RDS Simmonscourt, with many of the early arrivals shivering in their party dresses, but the awards attracted arguably the two hottest acts of the moment, Brit winners Florence and the Machine, who won a Meteor this year for best international band, and rapper Dizzee Rascal.
Dizzee Rascal said his duet at the Brits with Florence and the Machine lead singer Florence Welch earlier this week was “totally effortless”. You Got the Dirtee Love became one of the fastest selling downloads in history.
Dizzee also expressed a desire to record the Cranberries’ Zombie , a song he called a “massive tune”.
Veteran balladeer Christy Moore won best Irish male and, unsurprisingly, Westlife won the best Irish pop act for the tenth time.