Alternative Press Music Awards in a Classier Venue for 2017

Laura Jane Grace will be among the artists rocking the 2017 APMAs. [Ryan Russell / Total Treble Music]
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A showcase of alt rockers will hit the State Theater stage tonight as the fourth annual Alternative Press Music Awards returns to downtown Cleveland.  The APMA ceremonies have moved between different venues each year and the producers think the itinerant event have found a new home.

Alternative Press Magazine publisher Mike Shea says you may be seeing a lot of skin art on display today.

"The city of Cleveland is going to be packed with tattooed musicians walking around," he laughs.

The Cleveland-based publication created an awards ceremony in 2014 to celebrate performers from the world of punk, metal, hip-hop and other forms of indie rock.  The event made its debut in the open air of Voinovich Park, next to the Rock Hall.  In 2015, the awards moved to a draped-off portion of Quicken Loans Arena. Last year, the Republican National Convention prevented a return to that venue, forcing Shea to stage the show in Columbus.  The "Q" had been booked for this year, but was changed last week to the 3400-seat State Theater in Playhouse Square.

"We've always had a problem since we moved indoors," said Shea.  "We're not selling 20,000 tickets - we never were." 

Shea says tonight's ceremony is sold-out and he thinks the venue will improve the show, making it more like  the Tonys or the Oscars, which are also held in theaters.  Singer and Cincinnati native Andy Biersack hosts this evening's festivities, and among the tattooed artists will be transgendered rocker Laura Jane Grace.  Shea says she's a symbol of the iconoclastic spirit of the APMAs - a ceremony he hopes has finally put down some roots.  

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