SHINING (Nor) – Bergen – Hulen
The Norwegian experimental outfit known as Shining recently paid the cool venue that is Hulen in Bergen a visit on a grey Thursday night, and while there were very few people at the venue when I arrived around 22:20 PM, lots of people started showing up the minute Shining went on stage at approximately 22:35 PM. Shining have taken the critics and a lot of music fans by storm these past few years, and their strange and highly progressive mixture of extreme metal and jazz elements is certainly an original thing to do in many ways, at least in the sense that Shining sounds like no other band that I can possibly think of. It could be that my sleep-deprived brain simply hasn’t had its fill of coffee yet, but from my perspective Shining has very much carved a sound and an identity of its own. Speaking of critics and music fans, it was fun to see progressive rock lovers, black metal fans, hippies, wanna-be Beat poets, and the average-looking metal fan at the same venue on this particular night. They were all there to have their avantgarde desires fulfilled, I suppose.
The stage set was simple with only the logo backdrop there. There was excitement in the air when the 5-piece band went on stage, and I must say that these guys were tight. A well-oiled machine for sure. The sound was good from where I was standing and very punchy. There were hardly any pauses or breaks between the songs. Jørgen Munkeby’s voice generally held up quite well, although you could tell that they had just returned home from a long tour as it did sound a little shot in places. Some of the standout tracks that evening were «The One» and «My Dying Drive», but the truly brave and bold move by the band this night was their decision to perform the latest album, «International Blackjazz Society», in its entirety. You could sense that some people were totally into that while others probably had not familiarized themselves with it that much beforehand, so the audience response and applause throughout varied a bit. Still, I enjoyed listening to new tunes such as «Burn It All» and «House of Control» in a live setting. Following a couple of encores the band called it a night, and the majority of people there seemed quite pleased with the whole thing. Jørgen Munkeby also thanked people for showing up and appeared grateful and humble in many ways. While I was hardly blown away by the show or head over heels, it was a good show and the band performed well. I certainly had my avantgarde desires fulfilled.