The Shining Levels Durham Launderette 15 October 2022

SHINING TIX“I do what no man before me has ever done, I kiss the hands of the man who killed my son,” declares Priam when he prostrates himself before Achilles begging for Hector’s body. “And I do what countless women before me have been forced to do,” Briseis thinks bitterly, “I spread my legs for the man who killed my husband and my brothers.”

(The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker,2018)

SHINING 1The Durham Launderette is a quirky venue which is, yes, a real launderette in Durham which features bands on the evening playing in front of the washing machines! It sounds crazy but it works well. The Shining Levels are a local band who are, in my view, excellent (but then I am biased because my daughter, Laura, is a singer in the band!) They have released two albums to date, each of which is based upon a book by a local author. This concert was part of the Durham Book Festival and was advertised as: “Following the success of their first album: The Gallows Pole, based on the novel by Benjamin Myers and soon to be a major BBC drama written and directed by Shane Meadows, The Shining Levels return with a full-length album based upon award winning author Pat Barker’s novel The Silence of the GirlsSHINING2. Pat Barker herself approached the group suggesting they give her novel a similar treatment, very much enjoying the synergy of music and literature.”

pat barker coverNow Pat Barker is a pretty famous local author so to have recorded an album to accompany her book is a major achievement for the band. The book is described as: “The Silence of the Girls is an electrifying revision of The Iliad which for the first time gives voice to the women enslaved by the Greek army headed by the god-like warrior Achilles, through the main character Briseis.”

SHINING3We arrived early and took our seats close to the front for a good view. The music of the Shining Levels is difficult to categorise. They blend folk, world music and roots in a “sprawling soundscape of songs ranging from the orchestral through psychedelic pop and ethereal pastoral ballads and beyond, tipping its hat to a myriad of musical influences and styles. All delivered with the drama and exquisite vocal harmonies The Shining Levels are known for.”

SHINING DAVEThe evening was a mixture of songs by the band further illustrated by some readings from the book, which I found quite harrowing in the graphic descriptions of female abuse by the men in the Greek army.

SHINING COVER FRONTThe album The Silence of the Girls has just been released by the Butterfly Effect label. In fact, the albums arrived at the venue hot off the press and we bought one of the first copies, getting the inner sleeve signed by the entire band.

SHINING SIGNEDThe Shining Levels are: Laura Smith – Lead vocalists and looper extraordinaire; Christina Cuthbertson – Vocals, flute and percussion; Jenny Clewes – Vocal and violin; Dan Coggins – Songwriter/Producer – bass, guitars, keyboards, weird noises and vocals and Davey J – Songwriter, bass, guitars, keyboards, piano and vocals.

Set List: Hide Behind the Sun; The Silence of the Girls; Ferry Us; Selene; Queen to a Cow; Arianna Said; The Butcher; Circles of Dust; City on the Hill; Sisters Don’t Leave; The Mist She Brings.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on November 14, 2022 at 10:05 am

    Hi Peter,

    Now that is a different venue. The subject of the music is very appropriate these days. But I can imagine it is disconcerting and harrowing to listen to that dialogue.

    I never really liked the Iliad. It is brutal. The Odyssey
    seemed to show that the victors had to suffer later, to make up for their destruction of Troy. The only saving grace is that Achilles is told that he
    will meet his end before they sack Troy (attributed to the arrow of Paris, Priam’s son) and Agamemnon is killed by his consort and her lover on his return to Mycenae. I was never happy that the Greeks had to’ cheat’ to win. But the Romans may never had existed (in legend at least) had it not been for that.



    • Posted by vintagerock on November 14, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      You are obviously much better read than I, John! Respect! Great to hear from you as always, my friend best wishes Peter


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