FESTIVAL REPORT:  Shiiine On Weekender 2022 18

FESTIVAL REPORT: Shiiine On Weekender 2022

When: 11th – 14th November 2022

Where: Butlin’s Minehead Resort, Somerset, England.

The last few years have been tough! Let’s go back to the ’90s when everything was much easier! said Indie darling Louise Wener of Sleeper before launching into ‘Sale of the Century’ to a sea of ecstatic faces echoing every word “It’s never gonna be this good so just climb in….How long ’til reason makes us small again?” Fans came from across the globe to be here; from Ireland, Portugal, America Greece, Japan as well as from all over the UK. There is something quite magical about seeing the grooves of time ephemerally lifted from the faces of the indie Gen Xers in the crowd, bound by a bubble of pure euphoria, forgetting the bills and jumping in the mosh pit like a ’90s version of Cocoon. For one long weekend a year adulting can be put on pause and those lawyers, sparks, builders, nurses, directors, teachers, doctors, and dentists who spend all year telling everyone to follow the rules, spend all weekend “dancing in the disco bumper to bumper”, fuelled by nothing but optimism and Carlsberg. It was a joy to behold.

image 15
Happy Mondays

If the pandemic taught us anything it was the need for connection. Less Hi-De-Hi and more Mad For It, the Shiiine On Weekender is an indoor winter festival with less mud and more buzz, held in Butlins, Minehead. Now in its seventh year, Shiiine On is a “Celebration of Indie and Dance from the late ’80s, ’90s and beyond, bringing the bands that soundtracked the golden period in popular culture when clubbers and gig goers came together in what seemed like a decade long party.” Regular attendees feel more like family now, with their like-minded humour and warmth welcoming in fellow gig goers with open arms. The Shiiine On Team thanked everyone saying “It is truly humbling for all involved”.  They curated an immense line up. The Happy Mondays, paid beautiful tribute to their late bassist Paul Ryder, a Shiiine On stalwart, while Indie giants Ash and Teenage Fanclub headlined with an outstanding supporting cast including Therapy?, Reef, Badly Drawn Boy, Saint Etienne, Tim Burgess, Sleeper, Salad Stereo MCs, Badly Drawn Boy, Andy Bell Space Station, The Frank & Walters, Kingmaker 4AD, Spairs, The House of Love, The Beat Ft Ranking Jnr,  EMF, Echobelly, Space, Sack, Dub Pistols, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, Martin Carr & What Future, Utah Saints, Salad, and so many more, with the welcome inclusion of Studio 36 featuring comedy, talks, book signing, interviews, Magic Mod shows and an indie quiz.

image 23
Stereo MCs

While the Spike Island and Hacienda veterans and 45 year old Jarvis look-a-likes who ‘Seemed to have left an important part of their brain in a field in Hampshire’ (or maybe that’s me) are still the living beating heart of the festival, this year saw an increase in younger fans of the ’90s genre, mirroring and complementing perfectly the vibes image and energy of the original Britpop stalwarts.

image 11
Ash on the Skyline Stage

Like the Mod Weekenders in Brighton, the original music and energy remains the same…but the cross generational appeal seems to have broadened. There seems to be a real pull towards the ’90s at the moment. At the festival, Comedian Josh Weller said, “The clothes that I wore in the ’90s are now being worn ironically by the hipster c***s in Shoreditch.”  The ’90s aesthetic seems to have influenced so many Gen Z bands like Ecko and Deja Vega who also played over the weekend and were such a welcome shot of adrenaline.

“What a Buzz…Wow, man…Unreal” said indie band Ecko who, at the age of 18 and 19, represented a new brand of young Shiiine On musicians and gig goers who are heavily influenced by the ’90s indie scene. They played two epic sets over the festival including Centre Stage where they amassed a huge crowd of fans eager to discover the next big thing. Ecko said, “What a weekend. We seen some class acts and everyone we met were legends.” Ecko told GIITTV. “It’s a phenomenal experience and an unreal weekend with like minded people (at least musically).” When asked about the influence of the ’90s on their music they said, “A lot of the music from in and around the ’90s have influenced our sound and I think it’s quite prevalent in our music and the way we carry ourselves, especially the UK bands like Oasis, the Roses Ocean Colour Scene etc. I’m hopeful that they will include younger bands going forward it’s a phenomenal experience.” Listen here:

There are thirty years between ’90s bands like Oasis and the 2022 superb wave of Indie bands that are currently emerging. Similarly there were thirty years between Oasis and the Beatles. They never made any secret of their ’60s influences having the Bootleg Beatles supporting them at Earls Court, Knebworth, and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork in their heyday. Thirty years seems to be enough distance for current bands to be inspired by the musical past and for real musos to want that authentic ’90s experience that Shiiine On definitely offers.

image 8 edited
Shiiine On

Musician and DJ Dave Copson said “This type of music now has gone into the category where it is not age specific any more – ’90s music appeals to everyone. There are new artists creating music in this style and there is so much in the past that we can to go back to – it’s become its own genre….My guitar teacher got me into this music. A lot of younger people got into this type of music through their parents. We got people in their 50s coming along to our Cheap Thrills indie disco together with people who are 18 and they are singing along to all the words of the bands that are here at Shiine On today. This is my third time here and now my mate Chris who DJs with me has brought his younger brother too. It’s so well run. You have a room and a bed, it’s still like going to a festival without slumming it in a tent.”

image 21
Magic Mod and Badly Drawn Boy

As well as younger groups of muso friends, there are grown up families spending quality time together. In the Steve Lamacq Disco it was amazing to see dads and their grown up sons in classic indie Ts, dressed in parkas and Ben Sherman gear dancing and singing along to indie bangers at 4am. Daughters were dressed in hipster ’90s indie gear with their parents like a living breathing mirror of their former selves, while the ’90s vibe seemed to be something to aspire to – a moving moment of connection – even if it is all fuelled by lager and lime. “Shiine On til I die” said one lad, and one mum introducing her daughter to her ‘girl crush’ from Sleeper saying ‘It’s Still You,” she quoted the song lyric in a beautiful full circle. The warmth of the festival didn’t end there. The ‘Born Slippy’ chants of “Lager Lager Lager Mega Mega White Thing” were juxtaposed by Gareth Parker and his brother giving out cool keyrings and badges that they styled on Adidas trainers to raise awareness of Andy’s Man Club, a charity which aims to remove the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. Gareth said, “my brother and I gave out nearly 200 badges and keyrings to random people as a little gift. If just one recipient ends up going to a meeting and gets some support and help through Andy’s Man Club, it will have been worth it. #ITSOKAYTOTALK” Andy’s Man Club | #ITSOKAYTOTALK | Andy’s Man Club (andysmanclub.co.uk) This was echoed by Therapy?‘ set later on the Saturday Night with their unifying chat “It’s okay not to be Okay, It’s okay not to be okay”.

The warmth was palpable. It was like an indoor Glastonbury if it was set in a Stranger Things Mall or the Funfair from The Lost Boys. It felt like a giant school trip where your favourite bands are there with you too. It’s the kind of festival where you can meet a ’90s Glastonbury headliner or your favourite radio DJs in the queue for chips. One year I said “Hi-de-Hi” to Sean Ryder. The Dub Pistols invited everyone for a drink with them in Inn on the Green at 1 o’clock on the opening Day, while Marijne van der Vlugt from Salad showed her self painting her nails and singing in the car on her socials on the way to to the Festival. We ARE all on this journey of life together’ it’s that communal feeling that you get at Glastonbury…but with more banter and pitchers of cider.

Miles Hunt, The Wonder Stuff legend and Shiine On regular understood the intrinsic role that music can play in uplifting and uniting. In a 2018 interview regarding his Custodian album Miles spoke of a conversation that he had with Tom Robinson who asked,

“Who do you consider owns your songs now?” Miles replied , “The publishing companies do, but emotionally I do”, and Robinson replied, “No…it’s your audience, the people who have been listening to these songs for the best part of 15 years”, he said “they own them now. These songs have been a partial sound track to their lives and your job now is that of the custodian – to make sure those songs are treated with the respect the audience would hope they are played in.“And it’s just stayed with me,” said Miles.

Miles gets it. He knows what his songs mean to people and the packed room that he played his Wonder Stuff songs to on the last night was many people’s highlight of the festival.

This ‘custodian’ analogy could be said of the songs of so many of the artists playing this weekend from Ash to EMF to Therapy, Happy Mondays to Sleeper to Saint Etienne , Echobelly to Kingmaker. Each and every one of those songs played such a huge roles in the lives of the huge Shiine On crowd, from the couples who met and had that as ‘their’ song or their first reminders of friends who they have loved or lost and soundtracks of key moments in their life. Similarly, it will have soundtracked the younger Shiiine On attendee’s life too, having listened to these songs on long car journeys with their parents. No wonder so many of them were up until 4am with multiple generations singing along to every word of every song at Steve Lamacq’s disco. The younger attendees singing to ’90s bangers – Carter, Sultans, EMF and The Prodigy songs while the older ones sang and danced along to current classics from Fontaines D.C. and Wet Leg with a good splash of The Smiths, The Strokes and Y2K songs  blended in for good measure. Shiiine On is an annual pilgrimage for a lot of ’90s stalwarts, people to get together with their Uni, army or school mates, or for couples to dance to the bands that got them together in the first place. And as people’s kids grow up and become adults they are becoming part of the Shiiine On Family now too.

While Brit Pop and Madchester is the beating heart of Shiine On, the organisers seem to acknowledge the other ’90s tribes too including the Grebo, Muso, Electronic, Shoegaze, Acid House and Grunge scenes to name a few. So many of these genres cross-fertilized in the musical Venn diagram that is the ’90s.

Everyone who went to Shiine On will have had a different experience. There was so much to choose from, treasures to find and stalwarts to follow. It seems to be loosely divided into Classic Madchester on the Friday, with the Happy Mondays, EMF, and Stereo MCs; heavier vibes on the Saturday with Reef, Therapy and Ash creating one of my highlights, with the beautifully curated Chill out daytime set from Badly Drawn Boy (another highlight). Tim Burgess and Utah Saints, Miles Hunt and Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band for the final bang of the festival weekend.


EMF raised the roof on the peak Skyline stage with festival stalwart James Atkin saying, ” Shiiine On you are Unbelievable” before launching into their dizzyingly infectious 1990’s hit, ‘Unbelievable’ .Clad in a white geometric top leaping from behind the decks draped in a Yellow Acid House flag. The crowd went wild. If you were in any doubt which decade you were time travelling to, EMF were perfect time pilots. Atkin’s voice remained pitch perfect and untouched by time, mixing intoxicating rhythms, and sweet vocals. “This is the greatest show on earth” he said before introducing their guitarist Vladamir who had come all the way from New York especially for the show. Classic tracks woven with a psychedelic version of ‘I’m a Believer,‘ and a homage to the Happy Monday’s ‘Hallelujah‘ introduced by a woolly hatted Dub Pistols singer Barry Ashworth whose set we were desperate to see earlier. Whether they are on at 4am or 4pm at Shiine On they always know how to get a party started.

image 14
Bez – Happy Mondays

As the Happy Mondays multi- coloured chequer board logo lit up the back of the stage the excitement was palpable. The soundscape layered to a crescendo. Beautifully thunderous reverb filled the stage with smoke and sounds from a Space Station filling the room. The show was about to begin. It was cinematic. This was a well polished foundation for Bez and Ryder to play over. While the band layered the opening riffs, the Queen of Shiiine On Rowetta with her powerfully soulful tones came out clad in a Yellow Robe made up entirely of Shiiine Logos. We already knew that this was going to be one heck of a show. This is not the first time that I have seen Happy Mondays or Black Grape at Shiiine On, but it was certainly the best. Ryder’s voice was in top smooth hypnotic snarling form, going from banger to banger, with a bucket (hat) full of crowd pleasers.. From ‘Kinky Afro’ to ’24 Hour Party People’ to ‘Step On‘ with many in the crowd closing their eyes and gyrating their shoulders and hypnotically to curves in the soundscape. Bez prowled the stage with his trademark smiling charm. He is both a Shamen and Showman, rousing the crowd every time he shook his maracas in our direction. The atmosphere was electric, especially when he called someone up from the audience to play the maracas with him. It is the most ‘together’ that I have seen the band and just when Ryder and Bez started having conversations about which year the song came out Rowetta held it together like their big sister keeping them on track with her soulful powerful voice and presence. The band too kept them in place and provided a solid cradle for Ryder’s superb vocals to bounce off. At one point when Shaun said, ” I need an autocue here… I can’t f*cking remember this one ”  the band and Rowetta riffed until he clicked perfectly back into place-.The frayed edges like this are charming and are what make it a Mondays’ gig. Even when he said “Turn off the light you sadistic b*stards” to the lighting crew, we know it was all in good jest.

This was the first Shiiine On that Shaun Ryder had played without his late brother Paul and the whole band did him proud and he was amazing. They paid tribute to bassist Paul Ryder with the track ‘Hallelujah’. Shaun’s smooth bronzed vocals woven with Rowetta’s soaring gospel elevation of ” Hallelujah, Hallelujah” made the peaks in the skyline tent feel like a cathedral and a eulogy to their beloved Paul whose image was displayed stunningly on the cinema screen at the back of the stage. He may not have been there in person, but he was there in spirit and they did him proud. RIP Paul Ryder, you legend.

image 24
Paul Ryder RIP

After the huge and emotional Happy Mondays set, Andy Bell Space Station was a muso’s retreat in Reds His artistry is incredible, with loops and riffs layered with mathematical flourish. His expertise reminded me of Mercury Nominated Saharan guitarist Mudu Moctar but with more introspection and reflection. It was an engrossing piece of performance art, intergalactic beats laced with arpeggios. He is a musical wizard. He was like a Space Age Jimi Hendrix layering improvised riffs and pentatonic riffs over electronic deconstructed backing tracks from his solo material GLOK, going from electronic staccato back beats to layered harmonies. Even if you had no idea who he was you would know that you were in the presence of someone jamming with pure raw musical genius .

The crowd of musos watched him playing were enthralled, trying to figure out how he created such magic as he shoegazed. It felt like a real gift to experience this as I can imagine no two shows being the same. He seems to have channelled all his experience playing and song writing with Ride, Beady Eye, and Oasis together with his electronic DJ prowess to create this stunning soundscape which we were so lucky to experience. I am so pleased that Shiiine are including artists like this. It reminds me of when Wolfgang Flür from Kraftwerk played at Shiiine in 2017; it isn’t the usual genre for the festival, but it is one that we love. The music speaks for itself.

image 20
Andy Bell Space Station

Fresh from their triumphant sell out gig at London’s 100 Club Kingmaker graced the stage of Reds and the place is packed. It is a joy to see them back on the main stage, spot lit as they should be and this current line up is on fire. It was a big slot…soon after Happy Mondays. Starting with the propulsive crashing psychedelic-tinged indie licks of ‘Revelation‘ anyone who had forgotten that they loved Kingmaker were moshing along to ‘Lucy’s Down‘ and ’10 Years Asleep’ by the end of the set and were reaching over the barrier for set lists. It was a triumph. No wonder they have been handpicked by PWEI to support them in Glasgow. Full of snarling angst, wry humour and intellect their soaring melodies had us hooked. For some of us, it was the perfect sound track to our youth. The songs weren’t soppy and shallow. They are still full of grit and beauty, reflection and provocation woven with stunning harmonies in tracks like ‘Wave‘ reflecting the crashing and soaring force of the waves themselves. “Jacques Cousteau’s heart – you can but swim about, swim about it” .

The Smiths-like lyrics are a joy to behold. Bona fide bangers like ‘10 Years Asleep ‘with lyrics like “don’t pretend to care when you don’t care” had the crowd chanting in unison. The songs have strongly stood the test of time because they reflect the human condition in all its messy multi faceted glory. Tracks like like ‘Lucy’s Down’ saying, “I’ve survived harder falls than this/ With a sugar coated smile and a self possessive kiss” are strong, empowering and full of sass and wit. Just when you think the track is falling into a depressive spiral the drums boom and they euphorically yell “You lit up like a candle. Get Up Lucy” . Similarly, the soundscapes go through their own multi-faceted musical narratives from growling, crashing angst to stunning ornamentation.

The role of Kingmaker in the ’90s musical landscape deserves to be reassessed with the wit and politics of Armchair Anarchist and Lou Reed-style risqué allure of ‘”I am a young transvestite…I wear the clothes that women like'” paralleling the Velvet Underground‘s ‘Venus In Furs’ but with the self-conscious yelling shame of” What do you think of me now?” Imbued with light and shade, the tracks are purposefully provocative and all the better for it, less tongue-in-cheek than Pulp, but still full of wry wit and depth, beauty and grit. Bands like Kingmaker give us back our youth. They are gifting us our history and the addition of guitarist and vocalists Mike and Matt all add an extra dimension and raw energy to the tracks which have easily stood the test of time. They join original members Myles on bass and John on drums. They are all superb musicians in their own right and are on fire at the moment. It was a real joy to see this exact line-up go from a packed Inn on the Green in 2018, the pub slot, to the main stage at Reds in Shiine on 2022 where they belong. The sky is the limit for this line up of Kingmaker. Go and see them if you can.

image 16
Kingmaker 4AD

The Frank and Walters gifted us with a polished tight, enthralling and melodic set. A lot of bands in the Cork Scene in the ’90s played by their own rules; The Sultans of Ping with their witty PVC Ramones influence, The Frank and Walters with their quirky ” hippy diddly” orange bowl cuts and optimistic energy – even a certain Mr Cillian Murphy of Peaky Blinders fame who was  a  mainstay of the Cork music scene in his form acid jazz fusion band Sons of Mr Green Genes were all refusing to play by any rules, but their own. Who would have thought all those years ago that the Frank and Walters would have metamorphosed into one of the most polished sounding bands of the weekend. They looked like they all spent some time in  Tír na nÓg, lulling us gently with stunning melodic, soaring cinematic tracks like ‘Stages’ saying “As we go through different phases/We have all got our own problems/
And some day we just might solve them”
, a perfect song for this ’90s audience. They slid into ‘Goddess Athena‘ for a fan in the audience who had come all the way from Greece. After a few songs of elevated perfection, lead singer Paul Linehan said, “The lads told me not to speak between songs, They said I’d ruin the music.. Isn’t that right? ” “It’s okay it’s tomorrow now” said the drummer. Who was spot on with the midnight time slot.

Ahh …there they were, the Franks that we all knew and loved from the ’90s back with their banter, lightly pirouetting ballerina style on the stage and lying on their back bringing back that old wit that we knew them for, before they turned into a highly professional and skilled musical outfit that we know today. After soothing us with the more poetic recent songs, they thrilled the audience with fan favourites like ‘Walters Trip’, ‘Fashion Crisis hits New York’, ‘Colours’, ‘Michael ‘ and my all time favourite ‘After All’. The Frank and Walters have continued to remain relevant all these years, playing on BBC’s Young Offender’s Prom and soundtracking one of the greatest moments of the series. With over 36 thousand listeners a month on Spotify the Frank and Walters are straddling the generations and becoming Godfathers of the People’s Republic of Cork and the music world in general.


Spairs is the moniker of Neds Atomic Dustbin singer Jonn Penney and drummer Dan Worton who plays the bass in this incarnation and who are joined by two stellar guitarists, a female vocalist, and fierce drummer on stage. On the album it is Dan who played drums, percussion, bass, rhythm and lead guitar on the tracks while Jonn wrote and sung. It was a joy to see them on stage with massive smiles on their faces bursting out of their Ned’s cocoon. The name Spairs is taken from the word despair (to be without hope) and therefore means hopes. Songs like ‘Run into a Standstill‘ are beautifully melacholic, “Don’t know when I lost my powers choose a better man… Why did we wait? We’re running to a standstill. I don’t know how I got so sour” with Penny’s characteristic humble but joyful stage presence. With dark silken vocals, he could be echoing the inner monologues of the spell bound crowd who were probably all Neds fans…or lost in anthemic guitars and threaded harmonies. It’s quite beautiful, reflective and cathartic, but still with that heavy back beat, ‘False Alarm‘ has the same enthralling harmonies and interwoven riffs. “There’s only us, in time we trust” he says. They look like they are having so much fun on stage. It’s reflective and harmonic but with heavy edges. We get one leap, characteristic hair flip and Rage Against the Machine-style mic holding, reminiscent of the Neds but this is grown-up Grebo and we love it. This is a far cry from the gigantic crowds that they have garnered both on the 6000 capacity Skyline stage at Shiine On when playing with Neds, but for that reason it feels all the more special. The Neds have been so generous singing all those original songs for so long, but these new Spairs tracks ae equally as enthralling, reflective and anthemic with lyrics like “Share the dark with me” and titles like ‘Apart Together‘ the tender depth behind more wonderfully spiky Ned’s Tunes like ‘Cut Up’ and ‘Throwing Things’ is being exposed and it’s darkly beautiful and anthemic. So go and buy the Spairs album and see then when you can, remembering that this more reflective, yet dark and edgy Spairs incarnation goes hand in hand with the Neds who are still filling huge venues across the country.

Sleeper took the main skyline stage at Shiine On Saturday and completely smashed it. The cool elegant presence of Louise Wener and her band are the epitome of how you grow gracefully in the music business. The most triumphant comeback show I ever saw were Sleeper in Brighton after a long hiatus and their Shiine On set was equally as triumphant. It will come as no surprise that Wener with her penchant for evocative story telling through her lyrics became a successful novelist and writing tutor. Seeing Sleeper re-emerge on the main stage was like seeing Olivia Newton John show John Travolta that she still had it in Grease.

For many in the crowd, Louise Wener is a triumphant reflection of all of us. I know that I wasn’t the only one who shed a few tears during the set. She had the crowd enthralled with her stellar band playing banger after banger including ‘What do I do now”‘, ‘Nice Guy Eddie’, ‘Inbetweener’ and ‘Statuesqe,’ dedicating one of their tracks to a fan who had travelled all the way from Japan. They even played Blondie’s ‘Atomic ‘ and Joy Division’s ‘Love will Tear us Apart.’ Throughout the set Wener bowed to the crowd, holding her mic out and bringing that sense of connection to the place, drinking in the cheers with elegance and grace. As the crowd leapt many said that this was their gig of the weekend.

I, for one, was delighted that there was a heavier vibe to the Skyline stage on Saturday night and Therapy?, the Northern Ireland trio raised the energy there to a thousand. “This is ‘Fan F*cking tastic” said bassist Michael Mc Keegan as they thundered through their decibel heavy, euphorically scuzzy riffs bridging the gap between metal pop punk and grunge. Singer Andy Cairns’ dark melodic voice charged through fan favourites like ‘Going Nowhere’ and ‘Screamager‘ for some of us, music like this is pure Therapy?. Floating over the top of the heavy-shredding the crowd bounced off the edges of the Skyline stage “Look after each other. Everyone okay. Everyone happy? said Andy, holding the audience in the palm of his hands with everyone chanting “It’s okay not to be okay.”

He dedicated the anthemic ‘Die Laughing’ to Taylor Hawkins, before getting the audience to vote for which drink Neil the drummer should get hammered on that night for his birthday. We voted for Buckfast. 6000 people in the skyline tent yelled “Neil Neil play the f*cking drums” as he went as wild as a teenager crowd surfing in a gimp mask got cautioned by security, but it was all in good fun. As they played their cover of Hüsker Dü‘s ‘Diane’ there was a huge heavy mosh pit. It was joyful and honest. Therapy? are stellar professionals and going to a Therapy? gig is pure catharsis. ” It’s going to be okay!” said Andy and we all felt that he was right

image 18

Just when you felt that the energy couldn’t be raised any more then REEF came on and blew the place apart. What a voice and what a band. This was the first time that I have seen them live and it certainly won’t be the last. The psychedelic blues-rock vibes felt like we were in the ’60s. Some may know them from the ‘Put Your Hands Up’ song that used to be sung on Chris Evans TFI Friday every week, replaced by the lyrics “It’s your letters” but they are SO SO much more than that. They are bona fide blues/rock wizards. It felt we were at an American Psych fest in the ’60s. Gary Stringer hand the most amazing stage presence absorbing the audience with every step and an immense voice with superb harmonies from the band. They covered the Fleetwood Mac song ‘The Chain’, joking that he was about to sing ‘Motörhead‘. The charisma and stage presence was intoxicating. Track after track had the mosh pit going wild and after that set they will have made an entire Skyline full of new fans.

image 12

Indie legends Ash headlined the Skyline Stage that night. How could they POSSIBLY compete with the last two bands? Well they did and they smashed it. They multiplied the already elevated energy in the room and they blew it out of the park with banger after banger, playing a grand total of 16 tracks back to back From ‘Goldfinger’ to ‘Shining Light to ‘Angel Interceptor’ to ‘Buzz Kill‘.I don’t think that this band get enough credit for how technically proficient they are, as well as being stellar song writers and performers. I only saw them playing with sometime bandmate Charlotte to a younger crowd in London a month ago and here they are more elevated than ever.

They seem to straddle the generations effortlessly. Looking like they have a Dorian Grey painting in the attic, Tim Wheeler blasts out ‘Confessions in The Pool ‘ and ‘Kung Fu‘ while Mark Hamilton licked the bass, pulling shapes, creating perfect rock silhouettes and feeling every key change. They will have made 6000 new fans after that outstanding gig. Rick McMurray’s harmonies don’t always get the credit that they deserve either. He is clearly an epic percussionist, but it’s his harmonies that frame Wheeler’s voice perfectly.

They are stalwarts and have remained youthful and vibrant in the last thirty years since the first time I saw them in a GAA field in Tipperary at The Féile  Festival ’94. I have seen them every year that they have toured since. This career spanning Shiine On set is probably one of the most elevated that I have ever seen Ash. The previous bands set the perfect springboard and then Ash reached new heights, filling the crowd with pure euphoria. Just when we thought that the Reef and   Therapy mosh pit couldn’t possibly be matched Mark leapt into the crowd with his guitar just like IDLES and the pit around him went wild. Surely this was the peak of the Weekend?

image 27

Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Ash gave a shout out to all the Irish bands playing at Shiiine On and how good it was to see their old friends. Tim spoke of how Andy Cairns of Therapy? saw them playing at The Penny Farthing in Belfast and took them on tour soon after. Then out walks Andy. He came on stage and started singing ‘Alternative Ulster’ (the Stiff Little Fingers song). It was beautiful and emotional and echoed Ash’s role in the ‘Vote Yes for Peace’ when they were just teenagers. In May 1998 they played a landmark gig in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall in support of the ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum to accept the Good Friday Agreement. They were joined by U2 at the last minute and many people see this as a catalyst that brought many first time voters to the ballot box and helped ease the ‘Yes’ vote through.

image 26
The Good Friday Agreement. ‘Yes’ celebration. John Hume (SDLP), Bono (U2), David Trimble (UUP) and Tim Wheeler (Ash). 19/5/1998

It was their music that united many of the Protestant and Catholic youth in the ’90s. They said that they were too young at the time and left most of it to the ‘grown ups.’ That is why I found the ‘Alternative Ulster’ set at Shiine On so moving and monumental. It was Ash’s gig that led young people to vote Yes for Peace on both sides of the divide. Ash never really speak about politics, they don’t need to. Their music speaks for itself. The Shiine On set feels like a full circle; playing with Therapy who spotted them in Belfast all those years ago, again, emphasising how music can be such a powerful, uniting force.

Watch Them Play Alternative Ulster here:

It was wonderful to have a trio of slightly heavier bands on the main stage on the Saturday, representing, the full range of indie tribes as well as the beating heart of Britpop and Madchester. The line up was bursting at the seams with indie treasures like SACK, who are one of Morrissey‘s favourite bands. DJ Dan Hegarty even described their lead singer, Martin McCann as “one of the most gifted and unique vocalist that Ireland has ever heard.” Treasures like these could be seen throughout Shiine On.

Saturday night’s, 2am Steve Lamacq disco is one not to be missed. It is probably one of my favourite things at the festival in my three years here as it is a reliable ‘all killer no filler’ set of bangers, playing all the tunes that you love but rarely hear. No matter what goes on at Shiine On and which genre of live treasures you watch, you know that Lamacq’s disco will unite all the ’90s tribes.


Day three was more of a chilled day and I think that this was perfectly curated. Not everyone agreed, but for me this more chilled last day was what we all needed even if we didn’t want to admit it. This year had the new edition of Studio 36, which after doing 27000 steps before midnight and 10000 at Steve Lamacq’s disco we needed a sit down. Comics including Alex Haddow and Josh Weller did superb sets and Tim Burgess did a fascinating hour long interview with Steve Lamacq where he gave insights into his songs, explaining his songwriting process and how The Sundays You’re not the Only one I know” influenced The Charlatans. They both spoke about the arc of the album and the importance of tracks six and seven as track six was usually the B side of the album and it was fascinating.

Tim then took the time to speak and sign books for about 90 fans before hitting the stage with his band featuring Helen O’Hara of Dexys on violin. I had seen them together before so personally loved the interesting avenues that this music was going down. The arrangements were lush and I was thrilled to hear so many of his latest including ‘Flamingo,’ and the hook-laden ‘Here Comes the Weekend’ and staccato, cinematic ‘Lucky Creatures.’ The harmonies evoked modern psychedelia while the fiddle-laced version of “The Only One I Know” worked remarkably well in my opinion even if a more traditional version was expected. There is a wonderful urgency and progression in Tim’s work that keeps pushing him to move forward and forge new paths. He spent hours giving himself to the crowd that day and I don’t know how he had the energy to get on stage after that, but he was bursting with creative expression and delight and energy in the music that he creates.

Four days after Shiine On, Tim was crowned a worthy winner of the Artists‘ Artist at Artist and Manager Awards 2022, with a catalogue that reflects his standing in UK music – thirteen albums with The Charlatans, six solo albums, his own record label, and numerous collaborations with some of the most well-known UK artists across the ’90s, ’00s and ’10s. He champions music with an equal passion. Previous winners in the category include Nile Rodgers, Guy Garvey, Tracey Thorn, Joan Armatrading and Massive Attack. This makes us even more lucky to have seen him at Shiine On.

image 6
Tim Burgess
image 9
Badly Drawn Boy

Mercury winner Badly Drawn Boy was outstanding on the Skyline Stage on Sunday and was also many people’s highlights of the festival. He was exactly what we needed on the third day of the event. He said that it was the biggest venue that he’d played lately and that he hadn’t enjoyed a gig so much in 25 years. Every track had a story. He spoke of going to Joe Strummer’s house up the road from Butlin’s and how it was his mum’s 80th Birthday that day. He played ‘Shining’ for his late brother Simon (RIP) and we were all brought to tears. His voice was cracking with emotion. “I’ve tried to hear you’re not near. Remembering when I saw your face” . It was stunning. ‘All Possibilities‘ and tracks from About A Boy as well as “Silent Sigh’ and ‘Once Around the Block” were the perfect balm for our weary souls. He was warm, witty, humble and immensely talented. After three days of this Indie-topia we needed this sonic hug.

For those who were lucky enough to stay, the weekend was topped by Miles Hunt who was many people’s festival favourite with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band and Utah Saints ending the weekend with a bang

It was the perfect end to a perfect long weekend. It feels like so much more than a festival. It is a family of likeminded music lovers, an Indie Never-Never Land where you lose track of time and space down a musical rabbit hole and we can’t wait until the next one.

Shiiine On 2023 is in 17th -19th November – For more details see below:

Shiiine On | Legendary Indie and Dance Music Festival – 17-19 Nov 2023

For More information on Andy’s Man Club see here:

Andy’s Man Club | #ITSOKAYTOTALK | Andy’s Man Club (andysmanclub.co.uk)

Photo Credit: Lene Raynor ( Moments to Media) Carmel Walsh

Youtube Videos from Shiiine on: Gavin Taylor 66

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.