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The Matthew Good Band may have picked up the most hardware, but if there was any clear winner at last night's MuchMusic Video Awards, it had to be the funky, freewheeling extravaganza itself.

The live televised event, which pulsated from the parking lot to the private offices of the Much WorldHeadquarters on Toronto's Queen Street West, is best described as carefully choreographed pandemonium. And this year's gala -- which featured American guitar-rock superstar Lenny Kravitz on stage with aging Canadian rock stalwarts the Guess Who for the opening performance, heavy metal legend Bruce Dickinson rubbing shoulders with boy band B4-4 and Hollywood celebrities like Anne Heche and X-Men's James Marsden mingling with Trish Stratus and Val Venis of the WWF -- turned out to be an eclectic cocktail mix that offered something for just about everyone.

The Matthew Good Band was honoured for best video and best rock video for its song Load Me Up. But considering that the Vancouver rockers went in with 11 nominations, their showing could hardly be considered a sweep. Not that it mattered to the band's down-to-earth front man, a musician who writes songs that barely conceal his contempt for the trappings of the music industry and didn't even bother to attend the Juno awards last winter.

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"I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't win at all and it would be 0 for 11," Matthew Good said, as he shuffled off stage after picking up his first award. "But I'm kind of screwed now, aren't I?"

Mr. Good did concede, however, that the unconventional MuchMusic awards -- with no Teleprompters, no podiums and groundbreaking genderless categories -- is one "big party" and "pretty unique."

The only concession to the conventional award-show format, perhaps, was the red carpet, or should we say carpets. Three lengths of shabby indoor-outdoor carpeting were rolled out between the streetcar tracks on Queen Street before the show began.

The first limousine rolled up at 7 p.m. MuchMusic VJ George Stroumboulopolous jumped up on the hood and worked the crowd up into a frenzy. Things just kept getting crazier from there.

The Barenaked Ladies, fresh from a civic ceremony earlier that day at which they had been presented a key to the city, were the first to arrive.

"They cultivate hysteria well," Ed Robertson observed as he surveyed the mob.

The road was soon clogged with the crème de la crème of the industry, many of whom were there to present awards: Vancouver rock diva Bif Naked, rapper Choclair, DJ Chris Sheppard, Danish bubble-gum pop stars Aqua, remix masters Boomtang Boys, last year's big winners Len, Toronto rocker Edwin, Rob Thomas and Adam Gaynor of Matchbox Twenty, rapper turned pop singer Snow and Winnipeg's Chantal Kreviazuk, who appeared so glum it seemed she already sensed the coming shutout (she didn't win on any of five nominations).

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Inside, the famous roamed freely among the not-so-famous guests, as international and Canadian bands rotated through five different stages.

The only person who didn't seem to be having a great time was Anne Heche.

She was spotted in Moses Znaimer's VIP party on the second floor, surrounded by an entourage, looking gaunt, pale and slightly traumatized.

The winners

Best pop video: The Moffatts, Misery Best rock video: Matthew Good Band, Load Me Up Best video: Matthew Good Band, Load Me Up Best dance video: Love Inc., Here Comes the Sunshine Best rap video: Choclair, Let's Ride Best independent video: Saukrates, Money or Love Best soul/R&B video: 2 Rude featuring Jully Black and Grimmi Grimmi, Dissin' Us MuchMoreMusic award: Shania Twain, Man, I Feel Like a Woman Best French video: Stefie Shock, Je Combats le Spleen Best director: Bruce McCulloch for My Music at Work by the Tragically Hip Best post-production: Choclair, Rubbin' Best cinematography: Dream Warriors, Breathe or Die CP

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