This past weekend, The Coast (along with some pals) headed to a big field in Antigonish to listen to music, sleep horribly in tents, and get thoroughly ripped. This is our third Evolve. For one friend, it's his eighth year - for another, it's his 10th. It's hard to believe Evolve has, well, evolved from a tiny group of people dancing to one DJ to a full-on honest-to-God three-stage sponsored event featuring bands and DJs like Holy Fuck, !!!, Man Man, Battles, The New Deal, Mark Farina and more. But for most people who go to Evolve (including our two friends, who we suspect are Evolve Lifers) the main draw is celebrating the bizarre, sleep-deprived, dirty, drink-and-drunk addled community that forms and adheres with magical cohesiveness for three very special days of the year. That's why we really like it.
Our photos aren't too great, so please ignore the quality of the camera and instead try to appreciate the enthusiasm with which it was wielded.
Presenting Mr. Rich Aucoin, aka "King of Evolve" who played three shows on Friday evening, including a set with his full white-clad band on the mainstage at sundown. He's flanked by The First Aid Kit's Darryl Smith, aka "Best Hype Man Since Flava Went Shitty." Beautiful dance pop with a Peter Gabriel-esque expansiveness and residual longing. See them this weekend. They are playing a lot.
Every year there are many fucking great DJs at Evolve and every year our photos of them turn out like shit. So to all the DJs we enjoyed this year - DVD, Mizz Maxine, Johnny Sleep Dep, Gratefully Deadicated Soundsystem, Steve the Viking, Harmsworth (who made all the drum and bass kids rejoice after the genre's surprising lack of representation last year) Ill Gates, and the ghosts of Elite Force (who had to cancel due to a family illness) we tip our cups to you. Please know the photographs of you in our minds are clear as day. As are your sweet beats that made us dance until we puked. You're what Evolve is all about!
Oh yeah, some guy named King Khan played with his buddy BBQ. We dug their music immensely - the music and the men both seeming larger than life - and also found them surprisingly campy. We also enjoyed how Mr. Khan only smiled at the ladies.
Scrappy Singapore-born, Vancouver-bred Masia One began her set by stalking the stage, laughing at the crowd and doing a little two-step before unleashing her sassy dancehall-inspired words all over us. Fans of Lady Sovereign: You will love. And she's better. Ill Gates brought some juddering dubstep to accompany her. A note: We didn't really know what dubstep was before we came this year, because we're old and shit, but we sure do like it now.
Certain people like Xavier Rudd(pictured) and That 1 Guy beg to be seen for the novelty factor alone. When else do you get to see the one-man-band types playing three digeridoos, drums, a keyboard, samplers and whatever the fuck else he has on his lap? When the hand drummers came out, we swooned. Not our type of music all the time, but great to see here.
Again: DJs are boring as shit to photograph. But Skratch Bastid is one of the better ones to watch. Due to being woefully behind schedule (about an hour or so) Skratch paired his set up with the British-born scratch DJ Mat the Alien. Mat's freaky samples and dexterity added a lot to Skratch's kind-of-always-the-same set and it was fun to watch them duel back and forth. We wish more bands would let go of the ego and give their fans a different little treat like this.
Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees. Evolve loves these guys. We were seriously impressed by Rebekah Higgs' backup band - Jason Vautour, you are a powerhouse of sinew, sex and machine strength. We don't really know what that means, but he sounded great on guitar and provided a nice charismatic foil to Ms. Higgs' considerable charms.
We're pretty sure Shout Out Out Out Out were good. We were fairly wasted, to be honest. They do a lot of dancing and fist-pumping and they're very synthy and more fun to dance to live. Their new album kind of sucks, though.
What the hell can I say about A/V that hasn't been said before? He played the perfect stage at the perfect time (12:30am) at a festival that was made for him. When he closed his set with "NSCAD Girls" our group collectively lost our shit, along with the packed room at the Palace Yurt stage. He definitely put on our all-time favorite set of the weekend, and it's a shame only 30 people got to see it.
We're not generally huge fans of The New Deal's instrumental house, but they killed it this year. A friend of ours says he has waited for years for this band to come to Evolve. They had the crowd swooning and played for nearly two hours.
We like to call these two photos "Only At Evolve." We aren't sure if these are quite as hilarious as they were when we took them, due to a number of mitigating factors such as a considerable consumption of moonshine. Let us know in the comments.
We have to give a little shoutout to the festival grounds now. We completely agree with Outside magazine, who called Evolve a "musical Eden." Witness:
Frisbee at dawn...and...
It took 15 of us to raise that flag, and it blew like a beacon all weekend, for drunks, weirdoes, and friends. Thanks for another lovely year, Evolve.