Ten years ago, the city didn’t have a lot of things we now take for granted. Liverpool ONE, the Kazimier, Bold Street Coffee, SevenStreets. You know, the amazing things you’d be lost without. Ask us to choose the one thing we’ve gained, in the past decade, that we couldn’t live without and, frankly, you can keep your Apple Store and your artisan beers. Or answer is unequivocal: where would we be without Revo?
Celebrating his first decade with this summer’s homely hoe-down of brilliant local acts (Baltic Fleet, Dogshow, Tea Street, Loved Ones etc), FestEvol, Steve Revo recalls the bands, the venues and the bloated riders that made him the man he is…
Why did you start? What possessed you?
Back in 2003 I think there was only Liquidation playing guitar music in Liverpool, other than that it was pretty desolate. I was working for Shell at the time and djing after work at home for a few hours a night was the only thing keeping me sane. I was friends with Reuben Wu from school and he’d come over and practise with me. His band, Ladytron, were doing well with their second record and were touring all over the world. We were into bands and electro and when they came off tour we were looking for something to do together.
Sam Jones had just started working at EBGBs, it was just a basement, everything from the ground floor up, was a building site. Daniel Hunt from Ladytron booked us in with Sam at the club for a regular Friday night run, we teamed up with a German DJ who was studying in Liverpool called Plastic Penny who spun electropop and was working on a night called Ping Pong and we formed Evol, it just came about really quickly and we were up and running…
Why are you still doing it?
What else would I do now? Back when the club was up & running, I was made redundant and decided I’d had enough of working for big corporations and as music was all I ever really wanted to do decided to run with it. We’d carved our own opening into the business. It’s something I love and has been a labour of love from the start, if there was any other reason I doubt Evol would’ve lasted.
There are many…
Fat Truckers/Bloc Party/Weird War at EBGS. Arctic Monkeys, Kooks, The Faint, Gossip, Animal Collective, 2manydjs, White Denim, Death In Vegas and Alt-J at O2 Academy. Klaxons, CSS, Friendly Fires, Liars, Juan Maclean, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine, The Maccabees, Foals, Presets, Reverend & The Makers, Japandroids, Ladytron, 2manydjs at Korova. Chilly Gonzales at The Capstone Theatre. The xx, Wild Beasts, Caribou, Metronomy, Les Savy Fav, Thee Oh Sees, Fucked Up, Battles, WU LYF at the Kazimier. Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde at East Village Arts Club
What are the main changes you’ve seen in the past ten years?
The scene meanders, or constantly shifts, like the sands of the Sahara. Venues comes and go, they seem to have a shelf life of three to five years in Liverpool, from Erics, planet X, Korova, Kazimier, there’s a sequence between all of them, different time periods but they all connect. DJing became digital and the whole art changed overnight…
Record labels seem to have been struggling last few years, tour support for bands releasing records has dropped, therefore touring prices have gone up, a US band that would’ve cost £150 in 2005 is now £500 plus accommodation, a rider and catering in 2013. The costs are now heavily on the promoter and rely on strong advance ticket sales… the old £5 ticket is the new £9 or £10 ticket as a result.
What life lessons have you learned along the way?
Nothing comes easy without hard work.
We had a gig with Chromeo once, it wasn’t such a bad show when they finally got going but they’d managed to bum everyone out in the venue. They just didn’t seem to like Liverpool, the venue, the staff, me… they were playing big venues in the US on tour with the Beastie Boys and Korova, even though it was the ‘spot’ to us was just in their minds too small and a big step back. I stood in the stairwell that gave stage access when they went on and their laptop fucked up, they came off freaking out, shouting before going back on and getting their shit together. I felt a higher power had intervened for them being nasty to everyone…
Hard to beat Thee Oh Sees at the Kazimier, that was dream made reality… maybe MBV in Liverpool Cathedral with no sonic resistance, that’s one I think about. Public Enemy with Flav & Prof Griff is another, I’ve been close on both but so far no cigar… but I’m quite happy with shows attraction 500 to 1000. Once the bands get much bigger and start doing arenas I lose interest. I like small venue shows.
Gig you’re still praying to get?
I have one in mind but I don’t want to evil eye it by talking about it before the ink is dry on the contract.
FestEvol – is this your greatest gift to the city? Discuss.
Maybe, I think Evol is the gift that keeps giving, that’s the main thrust but certainly FestEvol has allowed the standard gig format to be ripped apart. The venue is a big help, without the outdoor ‘garden’ I don’t think I could replicate the vibe anywhere else. FestEvol is a lot of fun to do, from steadily building the line up, working with your favourite acts, mixing in some guests from outside that need a strong introduction to Liverpool, the design and promo. The anticipation of event. The actuality of the event.
I noticed pretty quickly last year that FestEvol was something we needed in the summer here, it effectively polarized and galvanised the scene and brought everyone together. It was a real buzz from start to finish and this year seems no different, everyone is behind it again.
Pics: Marie Hazelwood (Main – Clinic, second – Oscar Valentine Reddrop, third – Hey Carianne)