Article by Dee
Photos taken by Ellen Dixon
Anything to do with music, regardless of genre is an absolute delight, especially if it occurs in our very own region.
On June 3rd and 4th while many people may have been busy with Jubilee celebrations, I was at one of the north east’s greatest events – Evolution 2012. The last time I went was back in 2010 and the experience was breathtaking. Therefore with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Rizzle Kicks and Deadmau5 on the roster I was expecting this year’s festival to provide maximum entertainment!
Fuck me not only did it meet all expectations but was the best place to spend the bank holiday weekend, because it felt that summer was here and had brought a spark of life to the north east.
Spread over two days, it’s difficult for to summarise the whole event in one go, because each day brought its own degrees of listening pleasure. With this in mind it seems only logical that I go through each day individually.
Sunday 3rd June
Once I had my pass and assistant photographer Ellen had turned up we headed to Ballast Hills stage. Bearing in mind it was only a couple of hours since the public had flooded through the gates (with more and more people coming all the time); the place was nevertheless pretty busy. The weather may not have been perfect, but that didn’t matter because you could just sense the positive vibe and joy around.
While Ellen went to take her place, ready for doing what she does best, taking photos – I took my place near the barrier with the crowd. Its very rarely I manage to get to the front at any music event, so I was excited not only as a reviewer but also as a fan of live music to have such an ideal position.
The first of the acts I saw at Evolution 2012 was Toddler T. In an instant the crowd came alive to this guy’s amazing talent. At first I just stood and listened. However as the set progressed, my head started bopping away until all I could do is join the crowd and dance along! I cannot say I know any of his songs, but I was enjoying listening to him.
Leaving Ellen at Ballast Hills, I thought it was about time I headed over to Spillers Warf. If you think Ballast Hills is spectacular, the energy over at Spillers is unreal. By this I mean, once you enter you won’t want to leave – which is exactly how I felt. People were smiling, drink was flowing and you could really tell that everyone was there to party.
In all honesty for the first hour or so I didn’t really watch much live music because I was captivated by my surroundings. It really was the perfect place to be at that moment because as cliché as this sounds you could just feel the happiness in the air.
After saying a few hellos, I finally decided to go near the stage and bag me yet another ideal location. I am not the tallest of people so the right view is pretty damn important. Sticking around to see performances by Benjamin Francis Leftswitch, Miles Kane andMaximoParkI was bopping away. However I was saving my energy for one artist in particular – Dizzee Rascal. The other acts had already created a perfect vibe – but when it comes to Dizzee only one rule can be accepted – maximum adrenaline overload.
From the word go Dizzee Rascal brought his party vibe to the Quayside. I was in the heart of the crowd, so I could guarantee that my urge to dance to the insane tunes was imperative. Two reasons for this. Firstly if I didn’t I would have probably been trampled in the mosh pits. However more important than that you enjoy a show more if you let the music consume your soul. Usually when I am at the Academy I tend to be a wimp and stand by the side, but by using the best of the opportunity of being at Evolution 2012 I just wanted to go wild and party Sir D style!
With tunes like Holiday and Bonkers, as well as some of Dizzee Rascal’s latest material I was having the time of my life. I have only ever seen him on the TV and heard him on the radio. Therefore for me to witness with my own eyes a guy who brings so much passion, enthusiasm and perfect to a set is something pretty magical. My legs were aching afterwards due to all the dancing I was doing with some of the new friends I had made during the performance. I would probably say the most enjoyable moment was dancing to Dizzee Rascal while the heavens opened and down came the rain making it like something out of a movie.
Monday 4th June
If you think day 1 sounds intense, man you aint heard nothing yet. Unlike the previous day the sun was out this time, the weather as upbeat and lush as the people around. With my shades and summer clothes on – I headed straight over to Spillers Warf to watch the stage’s first act of the day – The Milk. Again another new band to me, but my word these guys were so amazing and the perfect start to Evolution day 2. I just wanted to go crazy to their music because it was different, unique and most of all fun.
After an impressive set I went to the UMT stage also located at Spillers. The thing which makes Evolution such a respectable and rewarding experience to be part of is that it also gives local up and coming artists, the opportunity to get themselves recognized. One of the bands to do this and amaze me at the same time was South Shield’s based, Bright Lights. The material, commitment and determination they showed made this a fantastic set to watch. You could certainly tell influences of Paramore and those who may remember a band called Tsunami Bomb. Bright Lights played all their own material with each song having perfect character, identity and vibrancy. I hope I get to see Bright Lights again as my first impression of them is one that makes me smile with delight.
Wanting to see what else was going on I headed back to the main stage to see Spector. I liked this band quite a lot due to the fact that their music was both quirky and entertaining. Its not the normal type of music I tend to listen to but was nevertheless a pleasant surprise.
As I looked at my watch it was still half 3, and there was still plenty more fantastic live music to come. Again making sure I was fuelled with maximum energy for the rest of the day, once Spector’s set had finished I just relaxed in the sun by the Quayside. They say that the Quayside is stunning at night when theMillenniumBridgeis illuminating. However I think its equally as beautiful during the day especially when its vibrant and the sun is shining down on the river Tyne.
Knowing how busy the main stage would soon get, I headed back to Spillers Warf just in time to catch the last part of Band of Skulls performance. They were pretty good tunes that made you want to headbang – and also another example of the variety Evolution offers the audience.
Once their set came to an end, this is where things really did become busy as by now the entire area was packed with people all coming to see Rizzle Kicks. I tried to keep up with the crowd when everyone was dancing, but as the mosh pits got more and more rougher I had no option but to go to the sides and catch my breath. This would prove a rather brilliant call to make because still filled with adrenaline and hyperness I still wanted to dance. Not wanting to let a mosh pit defeat me, I let the groove take over until I was in my own little world – a party going insider my head that showed no signs of finishing anytime soon.
Initially dancing on my own, it made me smile to see new friends comes towards me and ask if they could join me. Anyone who sees me dance should know that I follow my own routines – imagination and randomness. So it was a thrilling experience to show and teach them some of my moves. By the way I cannot remember all your names but a special shout out to all the amazing people I met.
Back to Rizzle Kicks then. It really made me overjoyed to hear Traveller’s Chant. Why? Well it’s a song that which shows the public how strong and talented these two guys are. What is worth noting even more though is that Rizzle Kicks are a mighty fine example of the new and explosive talent that exists in the British music scene.
Needing to stretch my legs one last time I took a brief break while waiting for Noah and the Whale to finish their set. Then at 8.25pm I legged it like a rocket full of hyperness to find the ideal position for Deadmau5. Bearing in mind they were not due on stage for like another hour, there I was stood getting more and more hyper, while dancing to the background music. Ha-ha good times! I remember thinking to myself – I don’t give a damn if people stare because I am here to have a good time. Its not everyday I get to go to a festival that blows my mind.
As soon as the background music stop the entire crowd screamed – me included ha! For those who like music by the likes of Cage & Aviary, Carl Taylor and even my personal favourite DJ Tiesto – Deadmau5 is definitely an artist that creates a level of energy you never knew would be possible. What we must remember is that music is not just about the lyrics, because more important than that are the actual beats. The beats Deadmau5 presented to us were of the highest quality. Usually to hear this level of amazing music you would generally either have to get yourselves on a plane toIbizaor count down the days to Creamfields in August. Therefore the very fact that the organisers of Evolution offered Deadmau5 made this year’s festival an absolute honour to be part of.
Not only did I have an awesome time at Evolution 2012 – but it was a festival full of variety and created the perfect atmosphere by all that attended – not just the artists but the crowds, organisers, and staff present. All I can say is that it has been the perfect start to summer 2012 and probably the reason why your lovingDeehas found his inner party animal. Evolution 2013 – Bring It On!!!!!