Shiiine On Birmingham
Saturday 8th September 2018
@ O2 Academy, Birmingham

People often have heated debates about which decade was the best for music – coincidentally most people come to the conclusion that the best era is the one in which they were in their late teens / early 20s!

For me personally, the best era for music is right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve little interest in much of the music in the charts these days (too much auto-tune and X-Factor manufactured acts, but then maybe I’m just old) but the charts don’t matter like they used to.  In the old days, the few radio stations we had and what little tv coverage of popular music there was, tended to slavishly follow the charts.

Today, the internet allows us to stream music and even music videos from pretty much any band from any decade, if it’s exists it’s probably on the internet somewhere.  Themed DAB and Internet Radio stations allow you to listen to the genre or decade of music that fits your preference, next month I’m going to the Butlins Alternative Music Festival featuring mainly punk and new wave acts from the late 70s, and this weekend I was at Shiiine On – the unashamedly 90s festival.  What a time to be alive!

I expected to enjoy it, and I enjoyed it even more than I even expected to!

The one worry I had was that it would be full of ageing people reminiscing about how we had “proper” music in our day – thankfully that wasn’t the case, there was a diverse range of ages, but everyone I spoke to was friendly and it felt a safe environment even though there was a little bit of crowding when going from stage to stage.

If you like 90s music then the lineup is probably all your favourite bands from back in the day!  At around £60 you’re getting 20 bands for less than the price of tickets for a couple of them.  It’s a no-brainer really!

If you’re reading this then you probably know the bands, so suffice to say nobody dissapointed, there were no washed-up acts on this bill, and if anything some are more polished than they were back in the day!

I never really erm embraced Embrace back in the day, yet I thoroughly enjoyed the 3 or 4 songs of their set that I managed to catch – and so did the audience.  That’s the great thing about festivals, often bands that you would never go and see in the normal course of things, win you over on the day.

You don’t really go to a festival like this expecting to discover new bands, it’s strictly a comfort zone festival (and there’s nothing wrong with that) but one band which managed to be relatively new, without taking the assembled crowd out of their comfort zone are Ivory Wave.  An incredible young band from Birmingham who combine swaggering attitude with funky tunes that capture the early 90s sound perfectly.  If you haven’t discovered a new band you liked in the past few years, check them out, you’ll almost certainly love them!

The Wedding Present was my favourite band circa 1987 around the time that George Best was released.  Every time I’ve seen them they have been on brilliant form, and tonight was no exception.  I took one look at the crowd trying to get to Shed Seven and decided to stay put and enjoy the rest of their set.  Like any festival you will always miss at least one of the bands you wanted to see, but who cares when you’re having this much fun!

Likewise I managed to miss The Membranes who never fail to put on an excellent show.

This was the first time I’d seen Julian Cope live, and he was another highlight.  He didn’t play “World shut your mouth” or “Reward” but that didn’t matter because his set was fab and he looked amazing (as he always does) plus David Gedge from the Wedding Present was stood next to me watching him once I came out of the pit!

Glasvegas were one of the newer, vintage bands – around 10 years since they toured their debut album, and I enjoyed hearing it again.

Reverend and The Makers always know how to get the party going, and were on fine form.

If I had to single out a personal favourite from the day, it would be a tough choice, but I think that accolade would go to Happy Mondays!

Last time I saw them was around 1987 after seeing 24 Hour Party People on the Chart Show, I bought the 12″ and snapped up a ticket to see them as soon as I could.  It was a great night!

Over the years I’d lost interest in them, and wasn’t too bothered about seeing them, but what a show they put on!

I wasn’t sure if Bez was still with them, but oh yes he was!

Never has one man’s maracas put so many smiles on so many faces!  The smile on his face is infectious and everyone loved him (aside from one of the photographers “I had the perfect shot of Sean lined up, next thing there’s a Maraca in front of my lens!) – he even took time out to sign someone’s copy of 24hr Party People – what a guy!

But he’s by no means a gimmick to distract from the band – they are incredibly tight and the tunes still sound great.  It was a set I really didn’t want to tear myself away from, and it renewed my lapsed interest in the band.

All in all a fab night, with DJs playing appropriate tunes to the wee small hours.

It’s a festival that will leave you on a high (from nothing stronger than the atmosphere and music, and maybe the odd pint!) and you’ll soon be looking at when the next one is!