First Review: Evolution Festival 2011

Rhian Daly reviews the festival on the Tyne

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Photographer:Luke Hannaford

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Rhian Daly | 30 May 2011

What a difference two days makes. Saturday morning, Newcastle’s quayside looks tranquil and picturesque. Come Sunday night, it’s strewn with discarded flyers and the limp bodies of Geordies unable to make it further than a few paces out the gates. Evolution 2011 has ended and now the recovery process begins. 

For some, it really will be a recovery that’s needed. A girl struts past VF on Sunday wearing a crop top emblazoned with the slogan ‘Too drunk to fuck’, and from the wobble in her walk, you’d have to say it was well on the way to being accurate. She also looks underage, as a lot of Evolution’s attendees seem to be. 

Crowds @ Evolution FestivalAt times, the festival feels as if it’s more about how many units can be shifted than who’s on stage. The amount of obvious under 18's stumbling around, clutching bottles of vodka and rum they’ve snuck past security is concerning and the atmosphere on both days is dampened by the consequences of inebriation. Fights characterise Sunday, even early on provoking emerging pop star Spark (7/10) to reprimand sections of the crowd for being violent. 

For those that have come for the music though, Evolution offers a great line up of legends, established contemporaries and up and comers. Headlining on the Saturday is Iggy and The Stooges (9/10), Pop proves just how batshit crazy he is, gyrating around the stage to tracks off the seminal album ‘Raw Power’. “Gimme some people! Come up here, y’all!” he screams into the microphone, picking out people from the front rows to join him on stage to “dance with The Stooges.” It’s a great moment that buoys not only the lucky handful thrashing next to Iggy but those watching on from below too; it almost feels like we’ve been transported from the Tyne to New York City with the energy and, well, raw power that’s on show here.
 
<a href='/artists/az/51820' title='Brother'>Brother</a>
                        @ Evolution Festival 2011Oozing the same confidence and energy, Brother (3/10) play an earlier slot on the same stage - but unfortunately for them it borders on arrogance - something that might not be so much of a problem if they actually had the tunes and the ideas to back it up. Instead, they just sound like a lazy mish-mash of Manchester bands past, most noticeably Oasis and Happy Mondays - they’ve even got their own version of Rowetta doing backing vocals. 

Someone who can’t be accused of such unoriginality is Tinie Tempah (8/10), whose set flies by in a flash, turning the concrete in front of the stage into one vast ocean of writhing bodies. ‘Pass Out’ proves to be the anthem of the weekend, given a repeat airing by the beatboxer who introduces Plan B (7/10) to close the festival. It’s unfortunate for the rapper-turned-soul-singer, as the effortless pop hook of ‘She Said’ certainly gives Tinie a run for his money. 

As Plan B leaves the stage and the thousands still wanting to dance head to the afterparty, it’s time to reflect on the weekend and the festival. Drunken, vomiting teenagers and brawling lads aside, Evolution is a fun two days in a beautiful setting with a great line up. If you can look past the few but obvious negatives, it’s a brilliant fixture in the festival season. 


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