February 22, 2008 – 1:08 am
Purveyors of Nordic Jazz Metal, Shining
I’m in Oslo for the annual by:Larm festival and conference. It’s kind of the South By SouthWest of Norway. Which is kind of a weird concept. I came over via Copenhagen and have been put up in a rather nice hotel right in the centre of Oslo – walking distance to all of the events.
I’m giving a presentation on Saturday, and I’m kind of listed in the programme as a VIP guest from abroad – but actually, it’s all a bit of a ruse. There’s a guy who’s setting up an online service about putting live music online, and he wants my help with it. I said I’d be happy to help out, as long as I could get there without having to worry about travel and accommodation.
He was already presenting twice at by:Larm – he forfeited one of those slots to me, and hey presto! Here I am. I’ve been hanging out with him and a friend since I got here, and we’ve had traditional Norwegian food and ‘introduction to the culture’ lessons.
But mostly, we’ve had beer and been to see bands.
Then, seemingly on a whim, we stopped into what had once been a church (and still looked exactly like one, inside and out) but was now a venue – where singer songwriter Thom Hell was playing.
He was really great. Pleasant surprise. Piano and voice, followed by guitar and voice, and then back to the piano. Really lovely, intricate songs. He’s great live. Funny too, if you speak Norwegian.
And then there was Shining. Two members of Jaga Jazzist in a serious heavy metal band. Pompous, posturing and absurd. Completely over the top. Everything you could possibly think of about Scandanavian heavy metal with all of its potential Spinal Tap connotations and then some, with free jazz thrown into the mix – and an EWI (electronic wind instrument) the likes of which I hadn’t seen for over a decade, and even then only as a joke.
But they were great. Somehow, they were awesome.