Evolve 2011: Day 3 | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Evolve 2011: Day 3

or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Dub FX

On Sunday, most of our camp staggered towards their cars, headed home. Around ten of us decided to stay, despite the plump grey clouds hanging ominously above us. At this point my tent, bedding, clothes and rainboots were so mud-fucked that it didn't matter. We stayed.

There is something very decadent about drinking red wine on a Sunday and listening to DJs in the sunshine for upwards of four hours. San Miguel and Criminal Intent serenaded us with electro house and drum and bass and it was purrrrfect. I spaced out and watched the hippies and tweakers move in their own special ways while the sun warmed my filthy skin.

The newly-flame-haired Vilify came on, letting loose an onslaught of deep, black-as-pitch dubstep and jungle. She endeared herself to me immediately by playing a dubstep remix of Tyler the Creator's "Yonkers" and went on to drop some major crowd pleasers - I heard snippets of "Gimme da Loot," Buju Banton's "Champion" and Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam" amongst others. Super fun! Also, she's hot.

I was going to post a photo of Vilify here but I can't find any right now. Instead I will post a photo of the worst tent I saw all weekend. Poor guy.


Then the Caravan happened at the Palace Yurt. Unsurprisingly the crowd looooved them. They are pretty much the perfect Sunday camping band. Fuckin' vibes all over the place. Wicked.


Later we skipped over for No Flyers Please, who were playing Evolve for the first time ever. They were incredible. Best set ever. Probably one of my favorites at Evolve. I am admittedly biased because I would enjoy No Flyers Please anywhere, whether they played in a yurt, an igloo or an abattoir in Calcutta. As it was, they went over well in the Yurt. Lots of barefoot dancing, and I saw a guy in a Gumby costume.


We ended up at the Synergy Stage for Dub FX. My friends had raved about his set the previous evening, so all pistons were set to awesome, or something. Here's the thing - on paper, Dub FX sounds like something I would hate the shit out of. From the Evolve website:

"Benjamin Stanford is a worldwide street performer and studio recording artist from St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia. His trademark is creating rich live music using only his voice aided by Live looping and effect pedals. Dub has travelled to all far reaches off the globe to perform with his fiancée Flower Fairy. "

Street performer? Voice music? Flower Fairy? Generally, all signs would be pointing to EYYARGHGH!

However, Dub FX was awesome. Totally, unequivocally awesome. I'm still trying to figure out how he and his fiancee (who, yes, is named Flower Fairy and wore an animal costume for the entire set and is probably one of the better female MCs I've seen in my life) managed to hold a giant audience captive for nearly two hours, using nothing but a bunch of pedals and their voices. I am still trying to understand how he managed to rap in three different voices and it didn't sound cheesy or abnormal. I'm still wondering how those fucking pedals worked and how such a moving, beautiful array of sounds came out of them. How could they create such an atmosphere using so little?

Then Chali 2na joined them onstage, his voice rumbling along the organic dub beats, speaking in half patois, half party-rap coo, and when he wasn't speaking, he watched Stanford thumbing and stomping and turning knobs, his eyes slowly widening in reverence. I looked around and saw nothing but dancing bodies and grins that were so wide they looked painful. It was pure happiness.


My Evolve ended pretty much there. I had seen everything and I was satisfied. And like this man we saw, doggedly weaving on a pair of stilts into the sunset, we left the field feeling a little fuzzier and more relaxed than when we arrived. The best thing you can do after Evolve is try to preserve that rare sweet feeling for as long as possible.


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