“When something's good it's never gone”
New Order, 1990.
From the second summer of love to the end of 1996, saw several cultural spikes from the UK. Acid House, Baggy, the Camden pop art scene and the 60s renaissance of Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast. They haven't just sound-tracked the lives of the 30 plus crowd at the Shiiine On Weekender, they continue to be the fulcrum for subsequent generations looking for something real. Yes, The Libertines, The Streets and The Enemy have contributed significant albums, but, there has never been that Joe Strummer defamation “finally Beatles mania has bitten the dust” written about the Happy Mondays, Oasis or Stone Roses. Why? Well, as this great weekend showcased, it was music by the people for the people. Not a bunch of tossers kitted out Topman clobber. Every act, DJ, venue host, heck, even the dancing security guard proved that a working class hero is still something to be.
'Do you remember when....' is probably the most uttered phrase this weekend. Do you remember when he Bluetones went straight in at number 2 with 'Slight Return', or, when Steve Lamacq used to help us with our homework on the evening session? On and on the fond memories went.
To cynics, the Shiiine On Weekender is a festival for the outdated and irrelevant. They're wrong. For any artist or band yearning to breakthrough, a lot of these bands hold a the answers their looking for.
Echo & The Bunnymen show the value in looking cool as fuck. Mark Morriss and Rick Witter demonstrate the value of between song banter. Meanwhile, Echobelly's Sonya Madan's ability to connect her dancing to their sound gives that additional meaning to songs and makes her look every bit of a star now as in 1995. In a world where music is stolen as much as its bought, these things matter even more now. Talent is not enough to garner adoration, it's got to be earned!
Recently, the glorious Caitlin Moran spoke about the differences between the approach taken by Radiohead and Kasabian on Richard Herring's RHLSTP (RHLSTP) podcast:
“Radiohead and Kasabian are interested in exactly the same music. Kasabian are a working class band from Leicester and Radiohead are a middle class band from Oxford. I love both intensely and dearly but this seems to absolutely typify the differences between working classes and middle classes.......Where as Radiohead make these impenetrable things and don't really talk to the audience, we make these scary things and to make you cry. Where as Kasabian make the same music and are like oooooaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh. There was a quote from Serge after a Radiohead gig saying 'there was no birds on blokes shoulders, that's a shit gig'. That's exactly it, they want to share it with everyone and make it joyful.”
This come one, come all spirit is alive and well at the Shiiine On Weekender and can be seen in the various cover songs played. It's an art form often overlooked but cultivates identity so easily, it should be rehired immediately.
The Farm remind everyone of their punk and protest roots via The Clash's 'Bankrobber' and arguably draw the biggest reaction of the weekend when Paul Hooton rightly revels in the victories over the West Yorkshire Police, Thatcherites and the Murdoch press.
The music industry is often looked upon negatively, and often with good reason. The lack of reward for the risk is nothing compared to what it was for this weekends acts. Nevertheless, is there a better time to be in a band? There are more festivals, more radio stations and a ton of more interesting less corporate ways of promoting yourself. The talent that Cabbage, Whistlejacket and The Academic possess, the world is theirs to take if they want it enough.
The odds are clearly stacked in favour of those from more comfortably backgrounds but let the likes of Jake Bugg and especially Skepta and Kano be the example of not only how but why it should be done.
Please go read Mark Beaumont's Guardian review and the beautiful piece from Step On Magazine: