Shining (NOR) at The Underworld, Camden

Support: The Physics House Band| This Be The Verse
September 6, 2017 at The Underworld, Camden
Promoter: Nightshift Promotions

Norwegian jazz-metal eccentrics Shining are winding down the touring for their International Blackjazz Society album, and roll into Camden’s legendary Underworld.

Finding bands that match up to Shining’s insanity is no easy task, but This Be The Verse make a good fist of it: juxtaposing occasional crooned vocals over accelerating math-rock rhythms. Said rhythm section – notably their drummer – is particularly impressive, their intensity giving the music a particular heaviness that demands you take notice. Overall, the vocals are something of an acquired taste; but even if it doesn’t fully stand out, my curiosity is very piqued, and listening back at home, I’m definitely impressed.

For those not aware, The Physics House Band sound like the result of a sadistic experiment that saw 90% of an ArcTanGent line-up put into a blender. It’s the sort of show that you experience; a labyrinthine journey, and one where you could have experienced five minutes or two hours and be unable to tell the difference – so much so that the band seem surprised to learn that they’ve run out of time. The band wander through so much musical territory – angular math rock, jazz, dancy synths, post-rock walls of noise – so fluidly and flawlessly, that it wouldn’t come as a surprise to learn they were a single hivemind-controlled organism with a wandering attention span, but excellent taste in music.

It’s a brave band that opens a show with two songs from an unreleased album – ‘Everything Dies’ had been released for five days at the time of the gig – but Shining have forged a career in metal off those risks, and those live renditions suggest another quality album is coming. Neither song would sound out of place next to cuts from One One One – both tracks are short punchy rock numbers, though interestingly devoid of saxophone. ‘Last Day’, the first song to really get the crowd moving, is followed by another pair of new tracks. The first of these, ‘Hole in the Sky’, is a lengthy and darkly atmospheric synthpop number (think Ulver’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar) that invokes uncomfortable feelings of claustrophobia, and is an impressive track even by the lofty standards the band has set previously.

It’s the second half of the set, focussed on older material from Blackjazz and One One One, where the show properly kicks into top gear. ‘I Won’t Forget’ sounds every bit the raucous rock anthem, ‘My Dying Drive’ is a frantic classic, and the closing pair of ‘Fisheye’ and ‘The Madness and the Damage Done’ are venue-shaking heavy entities live. Jørgen Munkeby is a captivating presence on stage throughout, juggling guitar and sax duties effortlessly and remaining constantly in the faces of those in the front row. Even though it starts slowly, at its peak, it’s one of the most bonkers parties you’ve ever been to, and you leave already excited for the next time they tour.

 

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