Shiiine On Weekender –Butlin’s Arena, Minehead, Somerset UK. November 6-9th, 2015. Day 4: Sunday
2:00 p.m. Stray observations from the weekend: we didn’t get to say goodbye to the hilarious fellow who was so excited for Shiiine that he bought his tickets LAST October, thinking it was for November 2014. You might have seen him during the Mondays in a very special shirt patterned with pictures of Las Vegas-Escort cards, with his mate, a festival warrior who popped back to work on Friday to close business on no sleep. Sadly, we all failed to meet at the specified pillar, is there a Jarvis Cocker couplet to be mined from this? Sunday allows time for one pitcher of “only cider” with mates and more bands to see together before we all go in different directions, even though one of them is clearly musing about returning to scoop up a certain lady pub manager he’s met, in what one only hopes will be shuffling steps toward the first ever post- Shiiine On baby.
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Finally getting off raver hours to visit thud crackle pop the Pete McKee exhibition in my favourite non-musical corner of Butlins. Photos will tell this story best but this is an installation that’s taken over a space as a record store with playable records and cultural commentary as additional labels. There’s a listening booth with handwritten notes of what each record means to the artist, a how to listen guide, really. A how to remember guide for those of us that can. Oh yes, it’s another glorious day when Power, Corruption and Lies is spinning in a record shop with that cover displayed with pride. Tearing up for you see, we are all children of New Order’s divorce and sleep is on hold to boot. The chat with the guys in the shop reminds me that the loss of these outlets meant the loss of our generation’s news stands. McKee’s art, including the festival’s program cover, is an inspired match for this inspired Weekender, and so is the sign above the register that promises no Phil Collins is stocked.
3:00 p.m. Pete Fij & Terry Bickers are those musicians that fans will travel far and wide for. Fij, of early 90’s (criminally underplayed) British Rock outfit Adorable, and Bickers, of House of Love (currently reuniting for Spring 2016 gigs and who once had a song called Shine On), have formed a duo over the last 5 or so years resulting in the excellent album Broken Heart Surgery and a new album in progress (may I suggest “a smidge more reverb” as a working title?). These musicians’ hearts are stronger at the broken places and their music and harmonies are smashing. Fij’s voice is still that rich and distinctive croon that can take us anywhere on the dial, and slip just as well into fearless stadium power, if only the situation would demand it. We get to hear Adorable’s “A To Fade In”. It might be a new discovery for some, so we’ve included it here as our parting track of the epic weekend. And not to put too fine a point on it, we hear The Sound of Love.
6:15 p.m. Sunday’s main stage acts include Cud, The Frank and Walters, The Wedding Present and The Wonder Stuff. Each of these bands bring their own eager following to the mix, like the team sport music is here. Having heard raves about The Wedding Present from some dedicated & discerning fans, David Gedge does not disappoint. Guitar Strings are broken, and an impressive amount of guts are left on the stage. It’s a great, great show. It’s impossible to believe this is all coming to an end.
9:00 p.m. The Wonder Stuff come out swinging and have the crowd jumping instantly. Miles Hunt remains highly energized and it’s a win for ending the main stage day on a high for the crowd. No that wasn’t me sobbing and weaving through the crowd like a drunk girl at prom during “The Size of a Cow” of all things because, yeah, (and worse, mishearing the lyrics) these COULD be the best days of our lives. Dammit!
11:00 p.m. Like many headstrong revelers there’s travel at odd hours ahead so it’s time for one last disco at the Dance Stage. Big Beat/Electronic giants Lo Fidelity Allstars are tonight reuniting for a special Shiiine On only gig, before a packed house of diehards. As their loyal core of fans that watched their rise back in ’99 know already, this band was AND IS as great to watch as listen to. YA HAD TO BE THERE. There’s a riveting bit of exorcism going on, of the sort that is heaven when it’s real, as now, and dross when it’s faked. A final hit of beautiful alchemy even here and now, at the final hours, done by no less than wizards (a title Noel Gallagher reserves for Johnny Marr). There’s only one way to handle the reality of the comedown, and that’s to strut out now as if you were Noel, Liam, Shaun, or Ian as best you can manage and not drain every drop dry until the breaker is pulled.
So we don’t yell at security: “You’ve ruined our night, if not our whole weekend, if not our lives!” by ending, Shiiine On. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
With very special thanks to Shiiine On Weekender & North Country Boys (and all the lads) all the bands we got to see and photograph and the top DJs most of whom we didn’t photo because we were dancing (Keep It Social, Cool Britannia Britpop DJs, Will Nicol, Graeme Park, Dave Booth, Derek Dahlarge) and everyone who took the ride with us then and now, you clearly all have impeccable shoes and haircuts, always. Three fingers up. See you later.
(We want to note that our coverage and omissions over the weekend was due to timing and availability and was not meant to be exhaustive, but the more we went along the more we hoped to include in our reporting. This is our version of the 6000 different stories that went down. We also like the stories we saw that were in a single look exchanged, a toast, a stranger’s hug, not written down, not lived through an iPhone. The comments on Facebook have got it when they say “best weekend ever. No further words necessary”. And we hear there are just as many great un-publishable photos as there are memories. We’d love to hear about yours and I know that Shiiine welcomes your (publishable) gig photos to their Facebook page.)
Words by Jacqueline Howell, photos by Dave MacIntyre aka the Canadians.
Pete McKee Art Exhibit