By Carron Stacey
WHEN?: 16 to 19/11/18
WHERE?: Butlins Minehead Arena
Rush, rush, rush – got to get there for Salad as Drink the Elixir was one of our favourite hits pre-Britpop in the 90s.
- Read on for reasons including My Life Story, Darling Buds, Shed Seven, Sleeper and Steve Lamacq
Sadly time, and traffic, got the better of us, but we did make it for My Life Story. Strumpet is one of my favourites from that era too, mostly due to the “ba ba ba” section – who doesn’t love a “ba”?
I never thought I’d see it performed live – they were seriously good. A completely crazy lead singer in a cool suit. What more do you need?
Louise from Sleeper next, that’s what we need. We all love her. Having seen her at Victorious in August, we knew the set was good. Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love and Blondie’s Atomic were good covers. Inbetweener is one of my favourites from that time (there seem to be many of them already); the story just aches to be finished. He dreams of a long life, she dreams of a fast getaway…
So, Shed Seven. A year after the release of their latest album, they opened with Room in my House and it seemed like they’d always had it on the set list. We’ve seen them countless times. They never fail to deliver; Rick never fails to amuse us with his interludes, he just knows how to work his audience; a nod to the Stone Roses… they work hard and are rewarded by the huge love their audience has for them.
Alan Leach’s end-of-gig flip was only bettered by his hosting of the Britpop Quiz the next day, attended by too many hungover music fans who were better than us! Post-main arena, the smaller and more intimate venues hold many surprises at Shiiine – The Darling Buds being one.
I think I’m just slightly too young to recall their music, though I remember seeing their name. Andrea Lewis Jarvis has still got it as a lead singer – with an awesome dress too!
Collapsed Lung ate their goal later on, energetic and moustached-up – a great set. They warmed up perfectly for the craziness that is Bentley Rhythm Ace. (I will just admit that I’d forgotten the James Atkin/EMF link, but I do want to never hear his DJ set again from last year, sorry). I saw them back in the day but they were not like they are now! An amazing drummer, a cranked up air raid siren, the bassist from PWEI and … well … James Atkin in leggings and a gold rain poncho. I can’t do them justice, just go and see them. You won’t be disappointed.
Tributes – normally I have to be slightly unsober, and they have to be on in the evening. This year, they were on during the day and I was sober! Hey Pixies were brilliant; Frank’s voice was perfect and Kim Deal was the full deal (their joke) doing Gigantic. A great wall of sound that worked just on its own.
Stipe, on afterwards, were similarly excellent. I sadly had to miss some of it, but Orange Crush was videoed for me for my later pleasure. Michael’s voice was perfect and Mike Mills’ hair was spot on! Good shout.
The next day, Blurd played along to most of the real videos – quite a feat actually. “Graham” and “Alex” must’ve studied how their play their guitars in so much detail, it was uncanny. My group seemed to miss quite a bit of Saturday early evening, pitching up for Altern8 in one of the small venues. Wow! For only having only one memorable (to us) hit, they put on a great DJ set, with a breakdancing crew.
We loved them. Quick, downstairs for Steve Lamacq! And this is where I have to apologise. At Victorious 2017, I moaned that all of the Madness fans pitched up during the Charlatans’ set and talked all the way through, spoiling it for me and the other true fans.
This time, it was me. Lammo’s early morning DJ set is one of our Shiiine highlights and fuelled by fizz and double gins, we hurtled onto the dance floor a bit early just to get to the front. Might I add that Chamelons Vox, who were running late in my defence, were just finishing their penultimate song. At that point, Lammo poked his head around the back of the set and we all pointed and screamed at him. Then the not-so-sober me realised that we were being disrespectful to the true fans of Chameleons Vox, whose possible memories of being angst-ridden teenagers saved from their dull lives by these naval-gazers in the 90s were being ruined. By us! So we tried to join in with their last track; I think we got some of their words correct. Chameleons Vox, if you read this, we are truly sorry and we won’t do it again. We have learned our lesson.
Steve’s set was a tad shorter this year, much to our dismay, but we boogied to Where’s Me Jumper in the way we always do. A selfie with him of him either pointing at me because I’m a legend, or because he’s trying to take me out, only added to a fantastic night.
Sunday was early (for us) start to see Mark Morriss (above, lead singer of The Bluetones) perform solo. We’ve seen The Bluetones loads, in fact three times this last year. Seeing him on his own with an acoustic set was even more amazing than the band themselves.
He wasn’t feeling that great, but made loads of jokes – even more than Rick Witter of Shed Seven! He’s very self-deprecating and seemed very much in awe of all of us who’d come out to listen to him. I love their music, but hearing it on the guitar and just him singing highlighted what a creative songwriter he is both lyrically and musically.
The beautifully crafted lyrics with a certain melancholy of his new tracks, mixed with the old hits, took us back to university days, but with the ability to appreciate how intricate the songs are. It really was something special.
We stepped it up to see the Stereo MCs later that day in the main venue. We’d heard of the powerful backing singers doing a “boom” thing, I can’t really explain it, you’ve got to see it. Their set is energetic, loud and great to dance to. Listening to my playlist en route to Minehead on the Friday, I’d laughed to myself about how easy the lyrics were to remember. But singing them along with the crowd on the night, this lyric stuck with me: “If you make sure you’re connected, the writing’s on the wall; But if your mind’s neglected, stumble you might fall”. Take a moment to think about it – it’s deep. It’s right. Brilliant show.
The legend that is Peter Hook followed, announcing he was “freezing his t**s off” when he came on stage. Hits from Joy Division and New Order, sung by Hooky himself and his singer (his Bernard I call him) had the crowd enthralled. But the band always do. They’re amazing and do the songs more than justice. He struts around with his bass, loving the crowd and we love him back. He never fails to deliver, especially during Blue Monday and Love Will Tear Us Apart, his last track.
The last big artist was Orbital. I am not a great fan but stayed around for some of it. The stage set was unbelievable and the video and light show wowed us all. I love the new song P.H.U.K., the visuals were a show all by themselves. I thought I should’ve stayed to hear Chime hearing a snippet on video later, but when I heard the Dr Who sample near the end, I knew I should’ve stayed. I’m afraid the closing party wasn’t for us that night, so we enjoyed a meal in one of the restaurants with a cup of tea, having just booked up for next year.
Shiiine, you looked after us well and we can’t wait for next year. Roll on 2019!