|Shiiine On Weekender 2019|
15th - 18th Nov 2019
Butlins Minehead Resort, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 5SH, United Kingdom
Right. Let’s nail a few Urban Myths at the top before we move on. You may still hear a few poor uninitiated folk say that events like Shiiine are ‘just nostalgia events at a holiday camp’. Sorry mate. Wrong on every level. Let’s start with Butlins first shall we? It’s not the 1950’s. Butlins has evolved into quality contemporary holiday resorts with first class facilities, fine dining, and more amenities than you can shake a stick at. With a range of accommodation and dining options to suit most tastes and pockets, there are cost options from simple chalets, to quality apartments, and even luxury detached bungalows if that’s your bag. Throw in their wonderful Splash Waterworld (pool parties yeh!), cinema, bowling alleys and the like, and they are great places. With arenas to easily swallow the six or so thousand punters at bashes like Shiiine, they are ideal locations – particularly for winter festival breaks. Their music festival weekends represent a veritable bargain. Remember too that Cream Teas (and more beer) beckon in lovely Minehead a couple of minutes walk away if it all gets too much.
Secondly, music weekends like Shiiine are proper FESTIVALS. It’s festival people, there is a genuine festival feel, a vibe that permeates everything… with the added benefit that it’s all indoors, and no camping. A warm bed and shower seduce you every day. Events like Shiiine generate that elusive festival spirit of camaraderie, a gathering of the clans, like minded souls with a common purpose. It’s a community of thousands, and you are right at the centre of it. Everyone at Shiiine is a player. The crowd is the festival and it’s wonderful. It’s got the Buzz, The Vibe, It’s the real deal. An audience passionate and knowledgeable about their music, but also prepared to leave any musical prejudices at the door and give everything a shot. North Country Boys promote this bash, and their diverse music policy drives it all of course. Shiiine is a celebration of a musical age, not a collection of musical genres.
Nostalgia? I think not. Shiiine focusses primarily on the late 80’s/early 90’s scene in all its diversity and glory… and mainly attracts an audience to suit. But that’s not the half of it. It’s the music of most of their youth sure, but this music defined their generation; their attitudes, their world view, it made them the good souls they are today. The Shiiine crew don’t rock-up to somehow relive their youth and revel in the past. They are there to celebrate who they are today. This music, and the multitude of scenes surrounded and generated by it, shaped them, and is still shaping them. They owe who they are in 2019 to some of this music. The culture and attitudes it drove lives on. It’s all there, embedded in their DNA. It’s a look down from the top of the pyramid at the building blocks of their lives. They are all there to wonder at the view. Shiiine isn’t about nostalgia, its actually the reverse. For those attending, it’s a celebration of NOW.
I Think that just about nails it.
Our Reviewers adore Shiiine. FFA thought last year’s shenanigans excellent. Take a read of the FFA Shiiine On Weekender 2018 Review for just a flavour. This Reviewer thought Shiiine 2019 surpassed it for atmosphere and audience. Butlins Minehead Resort is a worthy home, and the crowd were lovely. The bars were buzzing and the air crackled. There is plenty of non-music stuff too including cinema, comedy, and exhibitions, and we’ve not even mentioned the artists yet! And that’s the rub. Shiiine is now bigger than the artists it hosts. The festival itself is the thing. Artists come and go but the community remains. You could book Shiiine 2020 today, without any bands being announced, and you just know it will be a cracker.
At Shiiine 2019 over fifty class acts appearing over the weekend, it’s impossible to list all the Good Times; and that would be, well, just a List. Reviews are all opinion and this happens to be ours. Your intrepid Reviewers saw plenty, missed even more. Either way, we had an absolute blast. If your favourites don’t even get a mention then more fool us – we’d be thrashing elsewhere, or constrained by space, and certainly drinking and frazzling our synapsis either way. So it goes… it’s been a tough call to filter the best from the very best in this Reviewers ‘umble opinion, but here’s the FFA final cut:
What a way to kick start a festival – Reverend And The Makers! One of THE festival bands. The mayhem accompanying ‘Silence Is Talking’ laid down a marker for the wild shape shifting and sing-alongs which would become a feature of this mad crowd over the weekend. Technical issues did for a frankly disappointing headline set from the Lightning Seeds, but fear not – late Friday night offered up one of the best Shiiine sessions this Reviewer can recall over in a throbbing Reds.
Firstly, Transglobal Underground nicely illustrated the sheer diversity of the Shiiine experience with a splendid set of world music electro beats. Sheema Mukherjee and the ever-changing Underground family excelled. This was, as they say in popular parlance, ‘an up for it crowd’; and they had the joint bouncing. Apollo 440 filled the 1 a.m. slot and delivered arguably one of the best sets of the festival. Their rock/EDM mash ups have always been special, and they generated an atmosphere in Reds reminiscent of the best of the underground scene. By the time the fabulous ‘Altamont Super Highway’ pounded the crowd, FFA were away with the fairies. The audience, the artists, the atmosphere, the total experience, encapsulated everything the Shiiine buzz is all about. Marvellous scenes… and it was only Friday!
Great set from Babybird, with Jones’s voice as haunting as ever. With a nice line in putdowns (mostly unwarranted), the guy simply owned the stage. But all roads on Saturday afternoon simply had to lead to Jah Wobble. Everyman icon, and all-round good guy, he’d surrounded himself with some fabulous musicians for a simply stunning set. Musically excellent, Wobble’s laconic style belies a brilliant back catalogue spanning the decades. He delivered, back-to-back ‘Visions’, ‘Becoming More Like God’, and ‘Public Image’ and yet ended with a mock yawn for goodness sake! The man is a Titan. Fabulous stuff.
There were some cracking emerging artists performing at Inn on the Green over the weekend, but perhaps best of the bunch were post New Wave outfit Social Room. Young and raw, what this outfit may currently lack in finesse is more than compensated by swagger! These guys have attitude, talent, and potential – go check ‘em out. Idlewild whipped up probably the best storm in the Skyline on the Saturday night. Polished indie punk effortlessly delivered. A great set.
OK, OK, this Reviewer may just be a tad biased, but vying for set of the festival had to be Jim Bob. Having delivered a mesmerising early-doors set at Shiiine a couple of years back, this was always going to be the gig to watch… and so it proved. An acoustic format peels back the layers of a song, exposing lyrical beauty and musical structure; what better than Carter’s acerbic lyrics to put under the microscope? The man is both a genius and a showman. Most of the crowd knew the words to EVERY song – they were even adding vocal harmonies and in-fills! The Shiiine buzz that night was absolutely electric. This was everything a Shiiine experience should be; artist and crowd in perfect unison, lost in the moment. It was spine tingling at times to be part of such an intense, passionate community, bonding as one. Thank you Shiiiney people. It was an honour to witness.
To cap it all, Big Boss Man, proved, if proof were needed, that Jaks hosts some fantastic acts irrespective of status, and Shiiine offers up wonders everywhere across the site. Have. A. Good. Time. All. The. Time. A great show of blistering keyboards and bongos from the Boss Man Bouzida, encompassing everything from Jazz-funk to R&B. Wonderful musicians and a great club vibe. The rest of the night was, erm, a bit of a blur.
A great couple of hours of comedy aided the comedown. Four excellent comics, and hugely entertaining. Spoken word really adds depth and value to any festival and all four acts were right on the button. The ‘Try not to block me’ one-liners of Medium and Seer Clinton Baptiste were really, really funny. As was the topical Royally related Baptiste classic ‘I’m getting the word….’ Lovely stuff.
When Shiiine hits you with Bliss (see what I did there?)– it just keeps coming. Jesus Jones! Touring Liquidizer! One of the finest indie-rock albums ever. The later global commercial success of the Doubt album somewhat overshadowed Liquidizer and pigeonholed the band as just another indie-pop band in certain quarters. Anyone witnessing their Shiiine outing will be in no doubt that this excellent band can rock. They always have. Always will. Their set was a masterclass. Excellent musically, the pacing and dynamics tight as a nut, a throbbing, singing crowd, and that Shiiine buzz. ‘Move Mountians’ blew everyone away. Fabulous album. Fabulous band. Yet another contender for set of the festival. Pop Will Eat Itself once again took the rumour that they are the British Beastie Boys around the back of the hall and gave it another good kicking. These guys are their own men and a class act who created riotous scenes in Skyline. This was proving to be an excellent Sunday. A fine set from Neds Atomic Dustbin followed, although the Neds twin bass and fuzzy lead driven soundscapes sometimes muddied in the cavernous Skyline.
The Wonderstuff epitomised everything a last night headliner should be. A great show, stunning musicianship and a fabulous crowd. No forced ‘audience participation’ needed here. They danced and sang the bloody roof off to a brilliant ‘Greatest Hits’ set. Six thousand like-minded souls getting on down together. A wonderful experience to close the Skyline. Dodgy were the curve ball for this Reviewer; somehow, they had simply passed me by. Impressive vocal harmonies from a great band in an excellent set, and once again the crowd were united in song for ‘Good Enough’. It was. It all was.
There you have it. To paraphrase Miles Hunt, ‘Shiiine is the festival that never ends’. Nuff said.
Article and Snaps by Barrie Dimond