Tips For Evolution Emerging - Nick Wesson (Narc. Magazine)
Next up in our top tips for Evolution Emerging 2017 is Nick Wesson, the current acting editorial assistant for NARC. Magazine. The freelance photographer has worked with numerous bands, magazines, websites and record labels both in the North East and internationally so has a pretty good idea on who to check out at our May event. Delve in below and find out more.
1. What are your thoughts on Evolution Emerging Festival and the current state of the North East music scene?
I think there's a kudos attached to Evo Emerging that isn't as strong with other North East festivals. I know, from speaking to bands and artists, that getting to play the event is seen as a validation of their work. It's something that bands can use as a badge of honour and it gives them a platform to engage a captive Ouseburn audience that they may not be able to tap in to elsewhere and at other times.
The North East music scene goes through peaks and troughs and I think we're somewhere in between at the moment. 2017's Evo Emerging will be that point where the bands that make their mark will be confident of their place going forward. Last year Avalanche Party and Mouses played amazing shows and since then have gone from strength to strength with tours, extensive radio play and a growing fanbase, and they're blooming as as result. They deserve huge credit for the hard work they put in but also the exposure and knowledge they have gained by doing the press events and workshops with the likes of Generator as a result of their Evo spot is probably invaluable. It's been a while since a band from the North-East has made a proper dent in the nation's consciousness and it's long overdue. Who's it going to be? If I was a betting man, I'd put my house on Avalanche Party being huge in the next couple of years, but who honestly knows? I hope other bands see how far they're going and rise to the challenge.
2. Who would recommend to watch at Evolution Emerging this year?
I'm going straight in with the stuff up the hill at Tanners. The last few months have seen me become a little bit obsessed with the north east hip hop scene and I'm really pleased that there's such a strong representation of this. Chaos Jigsaw has only been performing a short while but he's something really different in terms of what you'd expect.
It's also great to see Leddie MC and Jister (both from Teesside) getting on the bill. Leddie had such a strong album released earlier in the year and she's battled against all the odds to finally start getting the recognition she deserves. The fact that she's got a great flow and a strong social conscience makes her unmissable in my eyes.
The same goes for Jister. His new record that drops early May is an absolute stormer from start to finish. If you've never seen him live before, you're in for a treat. He's funny, he's erudite and he really engages. He just makes it look so easy. Also, Zico MC is one I can't wait to check out. I only picked up on his stuff recently and it's really hardhitting. It left me open mouthed with awe at his skills.
I'm also looking forward to finally getting to see Novyi Lef as I really appreciate their aesthetic approach. They're doing something pretty intellectual and I love that. The Black Sheep Frederick Dickens are always really intense and thought provoking and put on such an engaging performance considering they're a duo. They're also really tall and unbelievably sexy with it.
3. Do you have any tips for first time festival goers?
Pace yourself! It's easy to get on the booze early and be completely out of it by about 6pm. Also, while it's great to get settled down outside The Cumberland Arms on a nice sunny day, don't get too comfy. There are a lot of bands on the bill that might just change your life - or at least your weekend - for the better. Don't be that guy who gets so lost in the socialising that you miss the gig that everyone else is buzzing about for the next year.
There will always be clashes so make sure you go and watch the band you didn't see the next time they play. It's about going in with an open mind. If you end up watching someone you think is rubbish, five minutes away there'll be something else to take your fancy.