20 years since its inception thanks to malevolent mastermind Niklas Kvarforth, SHINING have been running a tour spanning numerous countries with the aid of TAAKE and SLEGEST. The Swedish outfit have developed their sound over the years, spanning from all-out, frenzied tracks to smoother, jazz-influenced acoustic pieces. We checked out their only UK show at The Underworld in London to see how they got on.
Despite being set back an hour and under an even shorter time limit to get set up and playing, SLEGEST went right at it as soon as they could to deliver their thick, groovy riffs, especially in I Fortida Sitt Lys. Guitarist and vocalist Ese delivered powerful and consistent vocals throughout and dominated the stage, bassist Hövard interacted with the audience throughout their set and delivered much-needed bass work. The only downside to SLEGEST’s set was that guitarist Sør didn’t really interact with the audience much, making him seem disconnected from the rest of the band. This didn’t mean he didn’t offer crunching riffs and an excellent performance, however, as he played very well throughout and made for a cracking start to the show.
Following SLEGEST, TAAKE blasted onto the stage to a well warmed-up audience thanks to SLEGEST. A roar from the crowd greets Hoest after the rest of the band set up, and from then it’s a flurry of fast-paced riffs, thundering drums, and absolute mayhem. Nothing quite prepared the crowd for TAAKE’s incredible performance, nor their fantastic interaction with the crowd. The crowd were in awe of TAAKE throughout, while a fan devotedly hugged Hoest’s leg as he stood towards the end of the stage, almost in idolisation. Songs played from the Hordalands Doedskvag record in particular went down well with the crowd, forming frantic mosh pits to the aggressive and forceful beats from drummer Brodd. The Norwegian outfit dominated the show, and made an excellent warm-up for SHINING.
The night wasn’t going overly well for SHINING. While off to a powerful start, disruption soon arose when a fan threw a bottle at Niklas Kvarforth, causing him to exit the stage immediately, clearly frustrated. After a short duration of time and an eruption of cheers from the crowd, Kvarforth returned to deliver an all-powerful performance. This, however, didn’t persist as Kvarforth was seen crouching down and claiming to be ill. This was confirmed with several rushed exits off the stage before returning briefly during songs, even allowing TAAKE’s Hoest to take over and provide vocals for Claws of Perdition. Upon returning with a large bin (presumably containing his vomit, as he showed it to the audience with a slight smirk), Kvarforth was greeted by a roar from the crowd as he continued with the set.
The songs that were played while Kvarforth was present, however, were executed amazingly on stage. As opposed to playing tracks from their newest album, Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends, SHINING stuck with popular favourites from fans, such as Ohm (Sommar Med Siv) from the album Klagopsalmer. Längtar Bort Från Mitt Hjärta was a slow and well-fitting piece amongst the chaos. The low lighting made for a sadistic and dark atmosphere, and Kvarforth’s stage presence was as intimidating and forceful as you’d expect.
The biggest downer on the night, unfortunately, was the audience at the start and the end of SHINING’s set. Returning to the bottle incident, the audience (mostly) responded with boos and insults towards Kvarforth, before being told to behave and not to throw anything at the band while they perform, or the show would end there and then. Following this, the audience was fine and reacted brilliantly to the rest of SHINING’s set, until Kvarforth called it off in the last 15 minutes of the band’s performance, repeating his apologies and his need to go to the hospital. This was greeted by more insults towards Kvarforth, before the audience was, again, told to give respect to the band and to thank Kvarforth for pushing on despite his illness. Overall, the show was excellent on all sides across the three acts. All members of the bands performed at the best of their ability, and credit must be given to both Niklas Kvarforth for giving his all to deliver a show despite his illness, and Hoest for stepping in and assisting SHINING when their mastermind was otherwise engaged. We can only hope that Kvarforth makes a speedy recovery, so that the rest of the tour goes unhindered.
Check out our extensive photo gallery of the night’s action in London from photographer Jordan McEvoy here: