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Devin Townsend + Shining (Nor) - 3/30/2011 - Kaapelitehdas - Helsinki

When I first read that Shining was going to open for DT, I thought immediately at the Swedish band lead by the controversial Niklas Kvarforth. As strange as that combination sounded, instead, it’s the Norwegian homonymous version to hit the stage, which is already weird in itself: a fusion of Jazz and Black Metal music, with touches of avant-garde, prog and industrial. Ok, that sounds like the guys put together all in which Norwegians are good at, and made a living out of it. Surprisingly, for some people it seems to work!
Their latest record is in fact called “Blackjazz”, and you can hear at times influences of the latest Enslaved (the singer Grutle himself took part in the recordings as a guest), and by its nature also of their fellow countrymen Trinacria, a Metal/Fusion project between Enslaved and Fe-Mail.
However, in this occasion I personally found this a bit too heavy to digest, given the position as opening act, the complexity of their music, and the shortened set that has been proposed. The band began in fact a few minutes later, and left the stage about 10-15 minutes earlier than scheduled. The show did have its good moments, especially in the purest jazz form. But as far as the most experimental pieces, I believe those lacked of incisiveness, in part also due to the sometimes-not-so-convincing vocals.
I’m sure that in a different atmosphere, and with a more dedicated audience, the result would have been way better. But as half of the crowd already present didn’t really mind about the performance of these five guys, and the other half was packed inside the drinking area, it seems not many did really mind about the fact that they played roughly half hour.
I would be curious to see them in a festival or an headlining tour, and give them a chance to change my first impression. And let’s not forget that in comparison their performance was about to be blown away from the show of Mr. Devin Townsend!

(Shining by Marco Manzi)

I arrived slightly before The Shining finished. Since I didn’t bother to come and see some jazzy black metal. Kaapelitehdas was really packed, the gig wasn’t sold out but there was still a ridiculous amount of people there, especially considering it’s all in the same level, so no seats or anything. The tall ones saw the band, the short ones didn’t probably see anything, but I wouldn’t know.
You could see Devin was really enjoying himself from the moment he set his foot on stage. He was smiling, grimacing and overall being as Devin as he could be. What made tonight’s gig special, was the guest vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen of ex-Gathering fame, and boy was she something. It was my first time seeing her live and goddamn has she got a beautiful voice, even live. Because of this addition to the band, they played many songs from the newest record, “Addicted”. Also, they played “Earth Day”, so I was satisfied with the setlist, only the lack of “Vampira” was a bit disappointing.
There were a few especially memorable moments that evening. The gig started with a nice Ziltoid DJ-set with re-used footage from last year’s Tuska, with the merry alien playing old 90’s dance songs, much to the joy of the crowd. Mid-through the set someone threw a valentine’s heart on stage and it got Mr. Townsend’s attention to the point where he inserted the heart into his pants for the duration of a song. The final song, “Bend it like Bender”, was special because Devin invited a set amount of fans on stage to dance and sing to the party song. A fitting end to a varied evening.

Setlist Devin Townsend:
01) Addicted!
02) Supercrush!
03) Numbered!
04) Kingdom
05) Deadhead
06) Truth
07) OM
08) By Your Command
09) Hyperdrive!
10) Life
11) Earth Day
12) Bad Devil
13) Color Your World
14) The Greys
15) Ki Jam
16) Deep Peace
17) Bend It Like Bender!


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