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Evolve 5 Review


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First of all, I'd like to thank Stu Dog and bouche for the tickets, rubberdinghy, Steph and Rosie for the ride there, and Punk, Velvet and The Sloth for the ride home. It was a great weekend of music and partying, and the east coast is just as beautiful and friendly as people say.

Day 1: We decided to wait for the nero van to arrive to set up camp, so we spent the afternoon drinking beer and getting acquainted with the venue. We caught a little bit of Vorcza Trio, which sounded pretty sweet, then ran into the nero boys as they pulled in. Some more pre-partying, then GTB. The Bus played extremely well, one of the best sets of the weekend. Then, I managed to get front row center for The Slip. Even though it was an extremely short set, they managed to kick mine and everyone else's ass all over the Evolve grounds. Simply beautiful and amazing. We walked over to catch Wassabi, the tent was packed and I ended up losing everyone. Spent some time wandering around, ran into Dave-O, who pointed me in the direction of the Blue Quarter set. I found The Sloth and Bear there, and BQ played the best set I've seen them play. I stumbled down to the Mushroom Stage, where I ran into Zephyr and his sister getting down to the DJ's there. I stayed there until morning, when I managed to find our campsite and relax for awhile.

Day 2: I slept/sweated to death in the tent for an hour or so, then it was more beer, some $3 donnairs (the best food we found all weekend), and off to catch Stephen Franke. It was good, but a little too jazzy for me. The Rheostatics were next, and they were surprisingly good. I left early to go catch Luther Wright & The Wrongs. I loved it. Perfect chill afternoon tunes. Hung out with guigsy for a bit, then headed back for more beers. Jimmy Swift was next, and they were playing well. Four songs into it The Sloth and I left to go catch Burt Neilson Band. So glad we did, BNB was one of the sets of the weekend, for sure. The Burties are back! Solid songs, and the jamming was unbelievable! Nice to party to them with Dave-O, Northern Wish and Bear. We headed back for more beer, then it was time for Spearhead. Not bad, but far too much cheese for me. I left early for some donnair love and a little rest before nero. I awoke sitting on a chair at the campsite, and I'd like to thank those who woke me up. I didn't want to miss nero, and luckily we got there with enough time to see them setting up. nero rocked that tent, another one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Their cover of Echoes went over amazingly, and the Lemondust is one I won't soon forget. Back to the tent, then over to catch Mellonworks. They were pretty good, went back for more beer, then Fat Jebus. I really like Fat Jebus, and I'd gladly catch them again if I had the opportunity. Back for a little more sleep, then we were up, packing up and heading home. I got home super early Monday morning, hit my bed for some much needed rest.

I recommend doing Evolve to anyone who has a chance. It was a good time that seemed to end far too quickly. I'm glad to be home, but I look forward to my next trip to the east coast. Cheers

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Yeah, what Del said!

Fantastic weekend, great to see so many Ontarians out. I'm going to be doing a full review for the site, but here's my quick hilights:

Big props to the organizers. From security to facilities to stage and sound, this was a PRO event. Short but sweet, The Slip was the set of the weekend (no surprise there). The Rheos killed on Saturday afternoon, definitely gained some unsuspecting new fans. The Burt's played the best set I've heard from them post-break up, and maybe ever. Nero raged on the late night stage and they granted me my Echoes request so I let their drummer crash at my place last night... ;) Good times.

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no time for a decent review, just walked in, going to slleep, but.....

Slainte Mhath were loads of fun. a ridiculous amount of energy, lots of celtic/gaelic tomfoolery with plenty of crowd interaction. everyone that was still around on the sunday afternoon (not too many folks, unfortunately) seemed to be having a blast. bit cheesy at times, but all in all i really dug em, and would see em again if and when the opportunity arises.

more later, sleep now.


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14:15 hours to get to Antigonish...(Thanks for staying awake Del!) I think we hit every Tim Hortons in Quebec and New Brunswick...

30:00 some hours home...

Did the drive back the long way...Including sleeping in a motel and a stop in Quebec City...


What a hell of a lot of stuff to see and do, trying to juggle different bands at different times, nursing hangovers, trying to find times to sleep and trying not to get burnt to a crisp!

I was not dissappointed with any of the performances I saw, nero and the slip were unreal, loved chilling with the Rheos in the afternoon, and got lots of energy from Spearhead and JSB.

Evolve was my first time to the east coast, and I have to say that I fell in love. Managed to squeeze in some time to do some touristy stuff, and it was great...Swimming in the ocean was a great way to cool down on Saturday afternoon!

Del and Sloth...Sorry guys...I got a "Wheel" donair...Two words...Holy FACK!

Anyhow, that's it for now...

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Was The Wheel open??? Damn. I spent $10.75 on a pack of smokes... Two words... SUPER PISSED! No worries on staying awake, thanks for the drive and for driving... Glad you had a good ride back brah. I slept most of the way home, which I desperately needed.

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After driving to Coventry two weeks ago, it was refreshing to arrive, wait a few minutes, get out of the car, set up camp and catch Vorcza Trio all within about an hour. My only complaint from the whole weekend was the general chaos when we pulled into the parking area. Once we parked the car, four attendants who were parking us were being asked the same question by everyone "Where do we go?" Can you believe that no one out there had an answer?! It didn't take long to figure it out, but we were looking for some *epic* info to get around having to carry stuff. It didn't work, no big deal. On to camping with the masses.....

After spending a good many years in and around this scene, the bands and the familiar faces- its exciting to me how I can attend these seemingly very closely related events and even though I know hundreds of the beautiful people out there- I inevitably meet more that I didn't know. It was awesome to run into old friends, new friends, and the ones I can't remember meeting the first time whenever it was. So we were in and setup and meeting everyone just by sitting at our campsite which was near the road and the GDSSystem.


After making sure to get a few beers into our bellies, we headed down to Vorcza. I only saw the first set in Moncton so a comparison won't work, but I thought this was a good set. The drummer seemed to be more of a third piece of the puzzle, while Thursday I felt as though he was keeping up most of the time. Groovy yes, mindboggling no. Next up was the Bus. I have to admit I missed the beginning of the set, trying to meet up with friends in the parking lot who were pulling in late. But what I heard from the campsite, and the last half of the set from the concert field was very good. I think they even busted a couple of oldies out, well I know they did but you would all flame me for not knowing the titles. Dennis gets extra props for hooking me up with some cold Bud Lights as Jebus took the stage Sunday at 7am.

The Slip. Wow. Good times. I am not the biggest Slip fan in the world so I only knew a couple of the songs, but the short set was made up for with intensity. I know from one of the press/ media pass jerks that Brad didn't think they played well, but I thought it was great. Much more upbeat and energetic than the last time I saw them play Evolve. Any kind of review from me, won't do these guys justice so seek out the opinions of Delhead or Guigsey.

Late night was a bit of a blur, as light beer became wine and Jaegermeister- and I became a bit too far gone to be writing a review. But here are my random thoughts and recollections: Wassabi was good, but this being my first time seeing them, they didn't live up to the hype. Not that it wasn't good, it just wasn't great. Blue Quarter were exactly the opposite, they blew away any semblance of a hype machine with a raging set. At times, I didn't even know what they hell I was listening to. Threat from Outer Space were standard funk fare. Nothing exciting, infact after a half hour I left to catch a few hours of sleep.

I'll let Velvet fill you in on trying to sleep while walls of bass for four lone tweakers rattle your desperately in need of sleep head.


After performing my usual festival duties of cooking breakfast for everyone, our group was tired but ready for "Rock-Saturday". The day was hot, sunny, dusty and really, really hot. Most people seemed to be struggling to get down to the main stage because when Stephen Franke took the stage there might have only been 150 people out there. That didn't matter much as the sleeper set of the festival was performed. I had heard a couple of their tunes before, but the album is much jazzier than funky. I though the set that SFandNFTTS played was awesome but not quite epic, that would come soon.

I had waited nearly 3 years to see that little Steinburger (sp?) system in Martins hands since I moved to the Maritimes, and now it was happening. I have to preface this by saying that the Rheostatics are one of my all time favorite bands (along with The Band, Phish and Blind Melon)....... but this was the set of the weekend. Sporting my "I am here for the Rheostatics" tshirt, I was ready for their brand of CanJam. Simply put this is one of the best bands to ever come out of Canada. The set was great. Top to bottom hits, rockers, ragers and even requests. My personal highlight was "Horses" which may have been the best version I have seen in 50+ evenings with the band. To all of you who saw the Rheos, pass along the word- I don't want to have to wait 3 more years for them to come out here again.

At this point in the day it was quite hot, and The Trews were up. I was hoping to hear them from our campsite, but it was drowned out by hour 37 of the worst techno you have ever heard coming from the Unity Stage. I missed them completely, and got refreshed for the JSB/ BNB battle that was about to start. I haven't seen many Burt shows lately, so I opted to check them out, and return to the Swift once BNB was done. I think I made the right choice. This was one of the best Burt sets I have seen since my first show in Kitchener in 1996. They opened with a ridiculously tight Shine on You Crazy Diamond, and just tore through their set. The jamming was great, as was the sound. And after talking with Mike and Jeff earlier in the day, I was thrilled when they gave in to the request and played "Don't Do It" (the Bands version of the Marvin Gaye song).

Stumbled back to JSB to catch them in fine form. These guys are either the funkiest rock and roll band, and the rockingest funk band- I am not sure which. Solid set. There were lots of kids talking about this one later on.

I'll spare you the Spearhead details. Maybe this stuff is for some of you, but I can't stand the "do this", "do that" crap. I attended Catholic church regularly growing up- so as soon as movement orders are being given, I tune right the hell out. I ran back to camp to put on the Homer Simpson suit, and try to avoid looking like another member of some weird hippie cult commune standing, sitting, clapping and burning lighters on command.

Late night got messy. The bottle of Jaeger that was procured for the weekend for three of us, dissappeared down my throat sometime after midnight, and I kept given'r till nero. My memory is hazy (yes, like the moors of Scotland) but I know that nero played a song that could be listed on a set list as Lemondust> Evolve Jam #1> Evolve Jam #2> Lemondust. These guys are too good and you know it. Awesome Upper Canada representation for the set too!

After nero, I wandered away with some new friends and ended up waking up in a chair about 2 hours later to some fireworks going off over my head. That was really weird, but more than that was the fact that I walked right down to the late night bands and started all over again. I caught Melonworks, who are very good and fun as hell to see at 6am. After that was some quality time with Dennis, Delhead, The Sloth, some Bud Lights and Fat Jebus. I don't even remember if I saw the end of the set- but it was the first time I remember seeing them with a DJ scratching (the guitarist from Melonworks) which added a perfect new element especially considering what was going on around them.


Before tearing down the site completely and getting to a much needed Tim Hortons, we did catch the surprise of the weekend: (no not the #Surprise# act that was playing later that day- does anyone know who it was?): New Shady Grove. Wow, a band I have never heard, playing wicked music, and the guitarist (the tall one) also happened to be one of the nicest dudes around (sorry about that gig in the Peg on Civic Holiday Monday). These guys have the potential I have been waiting for from a new band in the CanJam scene. Go see them! After taking load #1 of stuff back to the car, we headed down and caught Hot Toddy's set. I have seen them before and I thought this time it was uninspired, and could have been much better. They are a great band, who might have just had a bad day. Before they even started song #4, they were talking about getting in the van and driving home. Of course who am I to complain, I wanted exactly the same thing.

And thats what I got. A Subway and a three hour nap later, and phishshn had me home for a rest.

If anyone has pics of me running around in the Homer suit I would love to see them.........

Go Team Rage!!!!

Thanks for listening.


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that was great. thanks.

i feel like i have a lot to say, too, but im not sure how its gonna come out, or come off.. whatever, though..

as far as evolve goes, for me, this year i felt like it could have been whatever i wanted it to be, i just had to do it. it was laid out as such that i could be in any type of mind frame, in any kind of musical mood, and chances are i could find a good positive vibe and like minded people to share those times with. i think thats a sign of a really good festival. however, its also pretty easy to walk into the exact opposite, if you find the wrong place at the wrong time. but, it is what you make of it. and its there for all people to take in.

the people were wonderful throughout the weekend, i saw a lot of positive vibes, people helping people get here and there, do this and that, set up, carry gear, even something as small as pullin up to a stranger and offering a sip from a water bottle, they're little things, but they go along way in keeping the morale of the people up, which just increases its own positive values as it goes on... positive energy perpetuates itself. and so, i only have one memory of a moment where i thought someone was being a close minded fu©k in over hearing something... thats not too bad, considering what, 4000 - 6000 people over 3 days?

the music was stellar. it was entertaining, it was enlightening, it was poetic, it was peaceful, it was rockin, it was political, it was everything it needed to be at the right time.

The Slip? fu©kin' right. no ones posted a setlist here yet, but i remember it going like this: wolof, poorboy, soft machine, nellie jean, if one of us should fall, get me with fuji, proud. it kicked all our asses. i think the Wolof opener was the highlight for me, because they came out and did this really beautiful soft intro, then just slammed into it balls out, guns blazing, and really rocked the fu©k out of it. said here we are, put on your helmets. if one of us should fall was beautiful, fuji was an extra thick ball of gooey goodness, and i think proud was a strong way to close, thats a really great riff in that song and the vocal delivery at the end is really effective for the song as a whole.

i thought grand theft bus was a lot of fun, too, a great way to get everyone really rockin and get the blood flowing... i felt vorzca trio was a little slow to begin with, i found them very similar to mmw, so i went to the mushroom stage and checked out slowcoaster, and man they were a lot of fun! they had everyone rockin and dancin and movin, the mushroom stage had one of the biggest crowds i saw there all weekend, and it was jumpin'!

i have to agree with the burt neilson sentiments from above, i thought that was one of the more supercharged sets i've heard from them. they were bang on, the song selection, tight jamming and great timing with the transitions, they had everyone in the palms of their hands.

rheostatics were all rock n roll, too, and yeah, the horses was great, but my highlight was the Saskatchewan with Chris Brown on keys, and Kate Fenner on vocals. luther wright and the wrongs surprised the sh!t out of me, i really really enjoyed what they were doing. really nice to relax and chill out for a little while and take it in with Del.

after that, though, came my favourite set of the weekend. yep, even more than the slip.. and when i think about the weekend, i also think this was the only time i saw an act and there was no one around that i knew, and no one i talked to saw it.. im hoping someone else on the board did and can offer their thoughts... but there were people there, and i hope some people got it like i did... but it was Chris Brown and Kate Fenner. i thought it was easily the most politically charged set, even moreso than franti and spearhead. the lyrics were strong and powerful and had actual meaning. when they spoke to the audience, it wasnt bullshit, they spoke from the heart and the head in a very down to earth and human way, not a rockstar on the stage way. their music was funky, danceable, soft and beautiful, and kate's voice is just unbelievable. not to mention for the bulk of their set they kept inviting members of luther wright and the wrongs and the rheostatics on to back them up, mixing and matching players on various instruments from various bands on various songs, it was quite the pot pourri of improvisation, but brown kept it together by calling out the chord changes as they went along... it was really just a super super set.

franti and spearhead were what i expected them to be. but they had a lot of energy, and they had the crowd moving, and regardless of the way the message comes out or comes across, i guess the as long as the end result is that the message comes across, i guess thats ok, and people seemed to be grasping that idea.. i mean, long winded or not, the guy can talk.

had a shitload of fun during JSB and Nero was just unbelievable for me. Nero's set was really the first time i really got to get down hard and heavy and just have a blast dancing and letting the music blast me in the face. i usually had my camera bag on me, but this time i went and put it away so i could let loose... man, what a reward! thanks so much guys!

and i also gotta mention something else, for guys like me who sometimes need to relax and chill out and perhaps allow some things they may or may not have ingested to take their course, the gratefully deadicated soundsystem is a perfect safe haven to chill out, hear some familiar tunes, feel real good, melt into the earth, with people dancing and hula hooping all around... its like it can be the ultimate first aid at Evolve, if thats what you need. i found it a couple times with someone pretty special and it turned out to be some of my favourite times and memories of the festival. i hope they keep bringin that guy back.

lastly i just want to say thanks to everyone who helped me out, hooked me up, hung out, shared a laugh, a smile, a sip of water, a hearty handshake, a moment in eyes, feeling with the music, or a breath of the air.


(fu©k, this took me forever to write... kudos if you made it through this right after northern wish's, hahah)

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I can echo your sentiments about Chris and Kate having seen them at Bluesfest last year. I enjoyed the Chris a little more than the Kate but just wait because Zero is gonna hop on here and trash me and profess his love of the Bourbon Street Tabernacle Choir and all that (See Luke? I pay attention.)

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Well, I can't be as thorough as Sean, but I had a great time... The drive out was good, met up with some familiar and not-so-familiar-but-soon-to-be-familiar faces in Moncton at Dave-O's for Vorzca, got really drunk...

Friday we pulled into Evolve after a wicked wrong turn that took us straight to a beach on the ocean... My travelling buddy's first time out East, he was impressed... Friday we saw a wicked wicked Bus show, I can't remember much of the Slip because I drank too much, woke up the next morning to a wicked hangover and lots of people banging beats that I hated...

Saturday the Rheos played, I foolishly stayed on my ass with a girl and a hangover instead of getting down with Sean and Dave-O at the stage.. Sean was right, that Horses was epic... I think that's where Bidini teased Floyd as well (before the 'I thought there was strength in unions...' line). Encore kind of didn't do it for me, a slow ballad about Ozzy called "Power Ballad For Ozzie Osbourne" (sic)... In other Rheos news, new album called 2067 comes out October 5... Went to see Luther Wright, always good times... The heat was seriously hurting me and my hangover, so I had to go chill somewhere... Then the crazy night started with Jimmy Swift kicking everyone's asses... I loved their set, it got rid of my hangover too.. Before Spearhead went on I started drinking again, stayed for about half of the show before heading back to the tent to get lubricated for nero. This was my fourth Spearhead show and every show is exactly the same. And like others said, I don't take that well to the 'Do this, do that, how you Feelin'!' kind of thing... Anyways, on the way back to the tent I caught a bass and drums duo playing some really good stuff... Turned out it was two guys from Kajema, who we ended up missing on Sunday... Anyways, at nero I had a totally fantastic time, Echoes was brilliant, and everything else awesome too. Sean's buddy Nick ran around with an inflatable shark, I laughed a lot at this... After nero I stayed up with the Grateful Dead Soundsystem for a long time, I was seriously loving that... Passed out eventually and woke up to the worst fu©king sh!t music I've ever heard Sunday morning... They've got to stop the DJs...

Sunday morning packed up the car, chilled with Sean and Dave-O some more, had some poutine to ease the hangover, watched a pie-eating contest, then got the hell out of dodge. Scary moment outside Antigonish, the guy ahead of us fell asleep at the wheel, crossed into traffic, ditched, did a full end-over-end flip into a barrel flip... We slammed on the brakes, ran back to help him, he was totally unscratched, got out of the car on his own, said 'That's a hell of a way to wake up.' I wanted to hit the fu©ker. He could have killed people, not to mention himself. If it happened 2 seconds later he would have plowed into a minivan carrying a church group full of kids. What a complete a$$hole. Make sure you always get sleep before you drive!!!!

The best part of Evolve for me: Not to slag the bands, they were always great, but I totally dig the social aspect. Met so many great people, hijacked shade seats with Dave-O, Christina, Sean, Nick and PJ a lot of the time, thanks everyone, you made my weekend. Great seeing you for sure. And to those others that I talked to for the first time (Velvet, Punk, Guigsy etc..), hope to see you again around... Guigsy, sorry I couldn't really say anything when I met you at the Rheos set. That was the peak of my sunburn / hangover / girl trouble time... Next time I'll be friendlier =)

Anyways, the rest of Sunday was spent with a friend of mine in Wolfville, got some fresh lobster, drank at 2 of the 3 bars in Wolfville, got some good footbag in and then got some sleep. Made it home from Wolfville to Ottawa yesterday in 15 hours, including a lengthy stop in Levis to try and find the Canada-US hockey game (turns out it's tonight)... Met the guys from Kejama outside Riveiere-du-Loup, they're at Come Together next weekend, seriously nice people, you should check 'em out...

That's my incoherent explanation of my weekend.... Now to do laundry...


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Could someone please make me understand why the stages pump ground-shaking dj's all night until 11am when there are thousands trying to get some rest and literally 3-10 people at the stage watching the music?

Evolve is a great fest, but the inescapable all-night dj's are enough to stop me from going again.

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We had a couple of discussions regarding this at the festival Velvet... Maybe if you were on... I was going to say better, but I'll just say different, drugs, you might not be feeling the same way... I had NO problems staying up Friday night, chilling down at the Mushroom Stage, listening to fairly good trance/hard house. Saturday night, I was fighting to stay awake, listening to jam bands at the Unity Stage. The fact that they were playing really generic house music on the main stage (right by where you were camping), probably didn't help. It also helps if you actually like techno... The thing to keep in mind is that not everyone goes to Evolve for the bands. I met a ton of kids who were there for the DJs only. Those kids don't want to go to sleep at 6 or 7am, they want to party/rave 'til 10 or 11am, then pass out and get up for the following night of DJs. I understand your plight, and I agree that if there's only 3 kids dancing to shut it down, but what I witnessed at the Mushroom Stage on Friday leads me to believe that DJs are an essential part of what makes Evolve tick. Perhaps in the future they could leave the DJs off the main stage, either that, or offer ear plugs to everyone at the gate...

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I think Del nailed it there. Having spent a lot of time in the Halifax rave and jam scene I recognize people from both camps there. Although when I mentioned in a review that they're like two trains passing each other on the path to the campground it didn't go over too well. It is a crucial part of Evolve in terms of attendance for sure. Also it's Joe's trip and as far as I know he used to at least come up with a lot of the loot so you know money talks. The scary thing is that my ex's uncle Sonny D is one of the headliners. Yikes!

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