The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC -

for no good rea­son.

Sure, it was a power trio that gave cre­dence to the term power, and nat­u­rally, it was loud, but im­por­tantly, it was highly taste­ful stuff. From the ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion over­heard at the fes­ti­val grounds, the unini­ti­ated seemed sur­prised at the source of Hed­vig Mollestad Trio’s cra­nium-crush­ing riffage, but Scan­di­navia has al­ways ex­celled in this area, the re­gion’s metal roots run­ning deep for so long now.

The band’s fo­cal point, band­leader Hed­vig Mollestad Thomassen, had her per­for­mance plagued by tech­ni­cal grem­lins in the guise of a dodgy gui­tar cable, but the three-piece com­prises con­sum­mate mu­si­cians, at­tested to when even in the delir­ium of panic, the band held its com­po­sure with­out skip­ping a beat as Thomassen tried to get her gui­tar go­ing. This wasn’t fare for the faint-hearted, but there was no way to doubt the power and fury on dis­play. To get your socks rocked off, check out this trio in a live con­text.

The fes­ti­val re­gained its equi­lib­rium with the warm sounds of songstress Ali­son Burns and gui­tar guru Martin Tay­lor. While the Burns/Tay­lor duets were greeted with cour­te­ous ap­plause, the eu­phoric re­sponses were re­served for Tay­lor’s solo ma­te­rial, with Truth and Down At Kokomo’s lath­er­ing up the au­di­ence into a bub­bly de­light. Tay­lor has clearly be­come a fan favourite with the PIJF au­di­ence.

Party peo­ple re­joiced when Zim­bab­we­born and Lon­don-raised Eska hit the stage with her band in tow, en­gag­ing the boys and girls with a sun­shiny vibe and balmy tunes. Like few oth­ers at the fest, Eska blurred the lines be­tween jazz, funk and pop, and to give it a stamp all her own, threw in her African her­itage for good mea­sure.

She had the au­di­ence eat­ing out of the palm of her hand mid­way through the set, but re­ally had ev­ery­one in rap­tures when she “com­posed” a song im­promptu.

Pro­gram­ming is ev­ery­thing at a mu­sic fes­ti­val. The dy­nam­ics of the show is what keeps the au­di­ence ei­ther riv­eted to the stage, or head­ing to the con­ces­sion stalls for spicy wedges and cider.

On both days, the crowd were nicely seated on the grass and plas­tic chairs (only un­til it kicked up a notch later when ev­ery­one stood and swung those hips). On the first day it was Hol­land’s Jazz Con­nec­tion that put in a barn­storm­ing set to end the night, but PIJF’s 10th an­niver­sary went out on a whim­per with Jaz­zKamikaze.

Look­ing like it was a poor blue­print of aes­thet­ics from 1980s hit­maker Span­dau Bal­let (though the Kemp brothers wrote far bet­ter songs), the Scan­di­na­vian group’s pop-cen­tred sounds jarred with ev­ery­thing else that had come be­fore. And un­like some of the other acts at the fest, which were heavy on in­stru­men­tal mu­sic, Jaz­zKamikaze had vo­cal-based songs, some of which were de­cent, but it came across as too in­con­gru­ous a mix to war­rant a place at PIJF ... def­i­nitely not as cur­tain closer, at least.

The per­for­mances aside, work­shops were held dur­ing the fes­ti­val. Mu­si­cians and in­dus­try ex­perts shared their wis­dom in dress down set­tings and more than one mu­si­cian walked out the door ei­ther scratch­ing his head in con­fu­sion or wide-eyed in com­plete com­pre­hen­sion.

A few truths were uncovered dur­ing the fes­ti­val, but none more so than how spicy wedges work best with tar­tar sauce, not chilli.

There was no spin the bot­tle at this party.

All Dutch group Jazz Con­nec­tion needed to do was stick to an

en­er­getic serv­ing of jive

and jazz stan­dards to

end the shindig on a

high on Satur­day night.

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