The Wombats offer offering fans a bland, disappointing set

Evolution Music Festival 2009 review

By Anthony Hetherington | Published: Mon 1st Jun 2009

The Wombats

Thursday 21st to Monday 25th May 2009
Spillers Wharf, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 2JR, England MAP
£15 for both days, or £9.50 for day tickets
Last updated: Mon 29th Nov 2010

On a day which proved to unhappy one for the majority of the city with the relegation of the city’s football team, Evolution proved to be a great escape for those wishing to avoid the despair or the football all together.

Located on the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside, the venue is the suitable setting for the city's only major festival, and with the beautiful weather, the festival proved to be a great hit with the thousands that attended.

2009 saw the festival expand to a full two day event with additional smaller scale events spread over two other days, having previously only seen bands playing live on the Monday, and DJs taking control on the Sunday.

Mystery Jets
Over on the main stage, located at the huge car park at Spiller's Wharf, headline act The Wombats were backed by an impressive line-up of 80 new wave heroes The Human League along with new bands such as White Lies, Twisted Wheel, and local boys Detroit Social Club.

The second stage, shadowed by the wonderful architecture of the Millennium Bridge and the Baltic Art Gallery, saw an array of DJs and live dance acts take to the stage, including new Radio One DJ Kissy Sell Out and Northern Ireland's Japanese Popstars.

The first news of the day is that German electronic producer, Boys Noize, has pulled out due to illness, but despite this, the crowd seem to let the unfortunate news go past them, even more determined to have a good time.

The first DJ at the Baltic Stage is French electro artist Yuksek, here to promote his new album 'Away From the Sea'. With a DJ set including tracks from his album, along with his disco style remix of, band of the moment, Phoenix, it doesn’t take long for the crowd to get their dancing shoes on, thoroughly enjoying the new disco set that he performs, including the fantastic Aeroplane remix of Sebastien Tellier's 'Kilometer'.

Over on the main stage, local band Detroit Social Club, are greeted like heroes by the sizeable crowd. Bringing with them their brand of blues rock, songs like 'Sunshine People' prove to be a great hit, proving to be a very suitable song title with sun beating down more and more.

Following them on the same stage was Twisted Wheel, the band recently dubbed 'the new Oasis' by sections of the media. It's not hard to see the influences that bands like Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller have had on the band, but they certainly prove that they’re not just another rip-off merchant act. As the lead singer drawls out ‘She’s a Weapon’ for what seems like the millionth time, it’s soon clear that this band are going to be big. They know how to get the crowd going, and for this reason they’ve been able to land themselves high profile support slots with Oasis and Paul Weller this summer, a year after playing the unsigned stage at the Leeds Festival last summer. They've come along way and I see this band only getting bigger over the summer.

Chase and Status
Back over at the Baltic stage, Chase & Status, along with MC Rage, pronounce that they are going to 'tear it up', which they, basically, they do. Their '80s based dubstep and drum and bass proves very popular with the crowd provoking mass dancing and arms in the air moments especially with set closer 'Take Me Away'. With a lot of air play on Radio One at the moment, Chase & Status got the biggest crowd of the day, despite a lot of people leaving to watch the football and never seeming to return.

Following them was Doorly, a DJ from Huddersfield, but a resident of local club night Wax:On who were hosting the Baltic Stage. Playing a crowd pleasing set of electro, including the fantastic Erol Alkan remix of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Zero', he proved to be a more than adequate for tonight's headliner, French DJ Brodinski.

Playing an extended set due to the cancellation of Boys Noize, Brodinski proceeded to play a selection of techno and electro, providing a diverse set including his fantastic remix of fellow Parisian DJ Mehdi and his song 'Pocket Piano'. The crowd was greatly receptive to his set, and judging by the huge grin on his face, and poor, but belated dancing, so did Brodinski.

The Wombats
It was a different case over at Spiller's Wharf, where Liverpool's The Wombats, headlined the main stage. Despite playing a crowd friendly set of their most popular songs, such as 'Backfire at the Disco' and 'Let's Dance to Joy Division', the band never seemed to be completely comfortable on the big stage and the headline slot seemed to unsettle them. The band debuted some new songs from their forthcoming album, some songs were riddled with mistakes and from that the bad never really recovered, offering fans a bland, disappointing set.

But despite this, the first day of the festival was a huge success, and although numbers weren't as high as the following day, partly due to the football, if the festival is to continue to grow then this second day needs to continue.
review by: Anthony Hetherington

photos by: Anthony Hetherington

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