The Evaporators won't be taken seriously. They slide
down tables. They knock down speakers. They yowl and pound and thrash
and...squeak. The Evaporators work hard for their
For well over ten years, The Evaporators have earned a
reputation as one of Canada's most entertaining live bands, blending
rollicking garage rock with some persistent onstage energy, side-spitting
humour, and some very snazzy outfits. Their live shows are not simply
concerts: they are raging, out of control parties that make the film
Animal House resemble a church picnic. Led by the boundlessly enthusiastic
Nardwuar the Human Serviette on vocals and organ, the
shows also include an abundance of audience participation and spontaneous
stunts that keep the crowd grinning from ear to ear.
Reportedly, The Evaporators formed while Nardwuar and
drummer Scott Livingstone were in the midst of doing push-ups in their
school gym class. Since then, the band's wacky humour and musical
exuberance have consistently set them apart from the hordes of dour bands
whose airtight sombreness constrict even the most jaded in society.
Instead of taking on serious subjects, The Evaporators
dodge them as if they were charging bulls.
Besides Nardwuar and Livingstone, The Evaporators feature guitarist David Carswell of The Smugglers, and bassist
John Collins, also of The Smugglers and, more recently,
the much-celebrated New Pornographers. In previous years,
the band boasted members such as Lisa Marr, known for her
current involvement with the Lisa Marr Experiment and for her frontwoman
status with now-defunct Vancouver luminaries cub.
Alongside this skilful group of musicians, Nardwuar boasts an impressive
resume of his own. In addition to his role in The
Evaporators, Nardwuar runs
his own record label and is best known for his status as gonzo journalist
for the likes of MuchMusic and CiTR, the University of British Columbia's
campus station. Nardwuar has subjected musicians, celebrities and
politicians, ranging from Gerald Ford to Marilyn Manson, to his
distinctive interviewing techniques. Like his performances with The
Evaporators, Nardwuar shows intense enthusiasm while conducting
interviews, relaying a barrage of keen research and asking questions that
can be amusing, insightful or even confrontational.
Nardwuar's unique journalistic skills can also be found in The
Evaporators' work. Samples from his interviews with the likes of
Tommy Lee, Timothy Leary, Alice Cooper and Dan Quayle are included as
segments between the band's songs on their recordings. The I'm Going to
France seven-inch single features one of Nardwuar's most notorious
interviews, his brief encounter with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993, during
which he asked Gorbachev, "I was wondering... of all the political figures
that Mr. Gorbachev has encountered... who has the biggest pants? Visit
Nardwuar's extensive website at www.nardwuar.com for more infos on his interviewing
While the band's antics may serve as the immediate source of attention,
The Evaporators' music is equally deserving of interest.
The group's sound
draws on a variety of influences, demonstrating a strong comprehension of
charged, unadorned rock 'n' roll. For the most part, their songs maintain
sharp brevity, barely reaching over a minute in length. It's abrupt,
floor-rumbling garage rock with Nardwuar's pitched yowl thrown in for good
In addition to releasing a handful of seven-inch singles, The
Evaporators have released a debut full-length, the entertaining
United Empire Loyalists, and the irreverent
Rash, a split-LP with one of Nardwuar's other unhinged
Thee Goblins. Thee Goblins share
The Evaporators' penchant for absurdity, donning sheets
on their heads and wearing matching purple cheerleader uniforms.
For the most part, The Evaporators' style of
humour-infused rock 'n' roll serves them, and audiences, quite well.
During one wild performance, however, opening for indie rock superstars
Pavement in 1994, Nardwuar narrowly escaped what could have been a
slightly serious altercation. He departed from the stage in the middle of
a song during The Evaporators' set and slid headfirst
down a table, inadvertently upending several drinks. He only managed to
avoid a royal prairie beating by swiftly promising to buy replacement
drinks, placating the disgruntled liquor connoisseurs and ensuring the
show continued without a hitch. Without fail, The
Evaporators provide magnificently rowdy performances.
by Rob Nay
CBC Radio 3