The Shining

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Concert Review by Kris Griffiths

London, Summer 2002

Judging by the quality of their yet to be released debut album, The Shining have every right to be entering promotion overdrive, recently adding more new dates to their diary than a desperate singleton. Tonight they trudge wearily back to London where sizeable droves of students, also weary after a hard week’s studying, wait expectantly to lose themselves in a world of guitars, grooves and great tunes. They won’t be disappointed.

Whereas The Shining are probably the eldest people in the building, support band The Crescent appear to be the youngest. With a frontman lacking height and conviction, a drummer with more enthusiasm than skill, and a guitarist straight from the Noel Gallagher school of guitaring complexity, The Crescent uncannily replicate Cast in their younger days. And they’re all Liverpudlians too – though we only discover this when they respond to some inevitable heckling. Wisely, they remain mute for the rest of their set.

Spirits are swiftly lifted upon The Shining’s triumphant entry, belying their lack of commercial exposure so far. But it is instantly clear how word has spread so quickly. We get our first glimpse of youthful vocalist Duncan Baxter, a lanky pretty-boy with an impressive vocal range in his armoury. Behind him stand the seasoned Simons, Tong and Jones, clearly lapping up their liberation from The Verve with renewed vigour.

It is their hook and groove laden guitars that drive this band’s performance, closely reflecting the Hendrix-heavy style John Squire turned to on his SECOND COMING album with the Stone Roses. This is no surprise considering Jones and Baxter had actually jammed in an interim band with Squire himself before The Shining evolved. Behind everyone sits dexterous drum basher Mark Heaney, whose style evokes one John Bonham in his Led Zep heyday.

It’s no surprise then that the parts add up to a satisfying musical whole that shines through their back-to-back performances of QUICKSILVER and I WONDER HOW, the latter in particular setting the crowd in motion with its infective melody and chugging riffery. Despite the tempo lowering slightly for the obligatory balladry including follow-up single YOUNG AGAIN, the set concludes explosively with SHOW YOU THE WAY, an epic rockfest of a tune flaunting a riff Jimmy Page would be proud of and towering vocals that would have Bobby Plant stroking his chin in agreement.

There’s not much more I can say in praise of The Shining following the evidence in their musical affinities, and I will even resist concluding with some unoriginal wordplay about the band shining above others or perhaps looking forward to a shining future. All I will say is, if you like your guitars heavy and groovy then this band will make you more excitable than Jack Nicholson in The Shining, and you’ll soon be dementedly hacking down the door of your local record shop with an axe.