Shiiine On: No Days Off – Day 1 Thursday: Arrival, Photos & Gig Report

Shiiine On WeekenderShiiine On Weekender – Butlin’s Arena, Minehead, Somerset UK. November 6-9th, 2015.

Festivals can be a dicey and exhausting proposition. A gamble. You can give up precious vacation days, sleep and significant funds to end up muddy and rained out, surrounded by wilted flower crowns and bands who are too sincere or not sincere enough.  Your heart aches as YOUR heroes have been housed at the Siberia Stage while mediocre artists with baffling connections and nothing to say hog the main stage, revealing the dire state of modern music and its shadowy industries. Fans who’ve waited for hours at the barrier end up getting their well-earned view blotted out by distracting photographers. There always seem to be too many media types, spreading their entitled and jaded vibes over the highest and driest ground, openly indifferent and tweeting their ingratitude.

And then there was Shiiine.

For months we looked at that black on yellow poster. We discussed it often, eyes glowing, with the other biggest Happy Mondays fan in town, a man who’s kept the music and the love alive for many thousands of punters in these parts as a DJ, Chef & True Blue British-Canadian as much as anybody can claim to have done in the cities in the U.K. and U.S. and Canada that remember AND more importantly, keep it alive. What was for sure just another pipe dream to attend this insanely good weekend became a solid plan through memoir-worthy hustle and twists of fate and fortune that have become so regular that we can’t tell anyone, for it might break the spell.

Minehead is impossibly quaint and enjoyable, even in November. People play crazy golf and arcade amusements through a light drizzle, and pubs are packed with solid Footie fans representing on a Saturday midday and memorable lunches that go til 4:00. Just up the way is Butlin’s, which affords travellers a year round resort experience under a massive tent that defies any weather concerns like several fingers extended (maybe 3?) they’ve got this down to an art form, and it proves to be the perfect site for this festival.

The three day event was extended into Thursday, so overstuffed was it with goodness. This night (like Sunday 2:00 a.m.) would be only for the hardcore and it was there, at what would become the venue’s cozy “local”- Jumpin’ Jaks- or as someone called it “a really great house party” that we met them all. Lifelong friends or just for the moment? It matters not- it was very special indeed. We made fast friends with the quite reasonable hands down winner and unfortunate recipient of the only shoving match we saw all weekend, because you always back the one in the Johnny Fucking Marr T-Shirt. Always.

We were greeted warmly as “The Canadians” by the organizers/wizards behind this weekender, James and Steve, during one of the only moments they had to breathe, and then settled in for a long and lager drenched night of great live music and DJ sets leading to the kind of singalongs Canadians can only dream of. Keep it Social DJs gave us all a chance to be Jarvis Cocker yelling “Do You Remember the First Time?!” and let us revisit so many 80’s and 90’s musical highs that would define the weekend in between gigs and set the tone perfectly. Sulk did the first of two sets of the weekend and were just great, bringing necessary swagger and fire to their set. The Sunshine Underground is not to be missed, look for them if you can see them. And The Twang was much anticipated by many and closed out the live portion of the night. In all cases these bands played sets that were both long and lively, and the posted rule of no drinks on the packed dance floor was routinely ignored. In case that wasn’t enough of a starter, Mike Joyce (ex of The Smiths) brought us all home with a two hour DJ set in between friendly chatter and photos with fans. We were carried to bed on a wave of euphoria that would last all weekend. And that was before we tasted our first local pasty.

Daily Festival reports with full gig reviews and live photo galleries of over 20 bands to follow in the next couple of days.

Including: Happy Mondays, The Wonder Stuff, Inspiral Carpets, Peter Hook and The Light, Stereo MC’s, 808 State, The Wedding Present, The Farm, Lo Fidelity Allstars plus many more.

With very special thanks to Shiiine On Weekender, North Country Boys, and Butlin’s Live Music Weekends.

Words by Jacqueline Howell Photos by Dave MacIntyre.

27 Questions with Globetrotting DJ Jeff Kirkwood

Bali sunset photo via Jeff Kirkwood
Bali sunset photo via Jeff Kirkwood

Toronto-based / International DJ Jeff Kirkwood is currently gigging in Indonesia and Australia (and cleverly dodged some of our endless winter with a gigging trip to Mexico too – we sometimes travel vicariously through his facebook page). He’ll be back in North America in June. Jeff took time out from his busy schedule of spinning house (deep/ tech / bouncy/ vocal house) record shopping and soaking up a little sun here and there to answer our many nosey questions! You can hear Jeff’s stuff on Mixcloud and follow upcoming gigs here: Facebook page. Just announced: Jeff is playing May 29th at the Spice Cellar (in their brand new location- the basement of Erskineville’s Imperial Hotel) Sydney, Australia. This is sure to be a great party in one of Sydney’s most ace venues for Electronic music.


What are your current fixations?

St. Lucia, who I heard at my first visit to Coachella this year, which was INSAAANE.

What are you listening to (on ipod, record, cd, bandcamp)?

I’m listening to my latest mix, Oh You Bouncy, Huh?, to make sure it’s perfect before I post it to Mixcloud. (ed note: This is now available on Mixcloud)

Why do you live where you do?

I’m a raging gypsy. I have an apartment in Toronto because it’s the greatest city in the world (in the summer), and I divide the rest of my year in Bali, Australia, Europe and the U.S.

What is your “must” read online or mags/newspapers?

The Huffington Post and for all my soccer news.

Name something you consider a mind altering work of art.

Caribou’s live set at Coachella altered my idea of music and how it can be created and performed.

What record/tape/cd/ inspired you to take up music?

A live set on tape cassette by Lee Burridge that I heard in 2001, which was the first time I heard house music, and is singlehandedly responsible for me becoming a DJ.

What advice should you have taken but did not?

Learn from other people’s mistakes.

What should everyone shut up about?

Everyone should shut up about the fact that I don’t have a cell phone.

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Laying in the sun, on the beach, reading my book and drinking a cocktail, and then when the sun goes down, cuddling in bed with a handsome man and watching 3 movies.

What was the first LP/tape/CD  you bought with your own money?

Baby Blue Sound Crew’s reggae mixtape.

What was your most memorable day job?

My first one! Cleaning hotel rooms when I was 15.

How do you spoil yourself?

Massages and new pairs of sunglasses.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?

Andy Warhol, and I would serve him my favorite Campbell’s soup: Beef Vegetable.

What is your favourite 90’s band?

Hmm. The Tragically Hip was the first one that came to mind so I’ll go with them.

What is your favourite current band?

St. Lucia

What is your favourite journey?

The first time I came to Bali, four years ago. I found out what part of the Earth was on the exact opposite side from Toronto, because I wanted to go as far away as possible from everything I was familiar with and have the grandest adventure I could, and it was Jakarta. Jakarta’s not great, so I chose the closest amazing place, and it was Bali. It was the most incredible journey ever.

Who is your favourite hero(es) of fiction?

Kvothe, from Patrick Rothfuss’ series of fantasy novels.

What is your current mood?

Slightly maudlin. Being back in Bali is amazing but a very dear friend of mine who used to live here passed away earlier this year so it’s a bit sad to be back without her being around.


What person or thing do you most despise?

Flaky people. Time wasters.

What is your favourite occupation?

The one that I claim as my own! Djing.

What should people know about you?

Wow. What a question. There’s nothing people SHOULD know about me. I’m careful and picky about who I allow into my life, and they are the only ones who should know anything about me.

What does the next 6 months look like for you?

I have another month traveling around Indonesia and Australia, and then back to Toronto for the summer with a trip planned to Provincetown for Bear Week, and a trip to Sitges, Spain in September for my birthday 🙂

What are your 3 favourite films?

Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You

I just saw ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ which is a new all-time favorite. ‘Heaven’ with Cate Blanchet and Giovanni Ribisi. And I can’t believe I’m admitting this but ‘P.S. I love You’, lol. I’m a sucker for sad romantic flicks. And Gerard Butler.

Favourite TV shows/streaming shows?

Transparent, The Good Wife, House of Cards, the recently finished Parenthood (sigh), and the recently finished Justified (double sigh)

Who or what makes you laugh?

Smart people who tell brilliant jokes and my cat.


What is your dream vacation/trip if money was no object?

The Virgin Airlines space shuttle.

What has been the most significant achievement you’ve had with your music so far?

All the amazing places around the world I’ve been lucky enough to play in, and all the people who validate my path by loving what I share with them.

Thank you for letting us share your travels, musical inspirations, and favourite things with you via this interview, Jeff! 


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