The second day of the JZ Festival went well, with another bout of perfect weather and slightly cooler temperatures. The afternoon crowd was about the same as the first day, nearly filling up the relatively small amount of space in between the buildings at the New Factories where the concerts are being held. The musical pattern set on day one seemed to hold through the second day as well, which was: begin the day with some solid, swinging straight-ahead jazz; from there move into an eclectic mix of Scandinavian groups for the rest of the afternoon; then start the evening set with a local blockbuster group and finish it with some popular Chinese pop-rock.
Today, the opening jazz set came from trumpeter Toby Mak and his quintet, who established the creative sound of the day with his unique original compositions. Then for the NOTCH part of the festival we heard first from three Icelandic musicians from the “Kitchen Motors” collective, who each played a short solo bit before coming together for a final couple of tunes. The first one, Johann Johannson, created thick, rich, dark sonic textures with his laptop and some other equipment. The second, guitarist Hilmar Jensson, also created textural moods with his guitar and effects, alternating between extended chordal explorations and making noises with things like violin bows on the guitar. The third Icelandic player was Kira Kira, an adorable pigtailed girl who sang in a folky, childlike way together with cool sequenced computer sounds, and also played kooky-looking little homemade instruments for extra effects. When the three of them played together at the end of the set, it was a bit more rock-based, and Kira Kira played electric guitar also.
The third set of the afternoon was from Norwegian DJ Todd Terje, who got the crowd really pumping with his super-intelligent and sometimes retro-funky beats. His was among the best-received sets all day. The fourth and final afternoon set was quite a success too though, with its carefully-engineered yet creative and dynamic electronic-ethnic folk mixture. This Norwegian group included Bugge Wesseltoft, who has played in Shanghai a few times already over the last few years, together with a female Nordic ethnic vocalist, a Chinese guzheng player, and a live electronic mixing duo called Punkt. The group was called simply “the NOTCH ensemble”. It was an amazing show with at least a few of those memorable festival moments that make the whole thing worthwhile.
The night sets this time were Alec Haavik and his Friction Five, and then Xu Wei. We imagine Alec put on a rocking, mind-blowing extravaganza of a show as he always does, and Xu Wei probably packed the house with screaming fans (I saw a banner outside early in the day proclaiming the area a Xu Wei fan club station). The reason we can’t say for sure is we left after the NOTCH ensemble finished in order to get over to the Yue Festival to try and catch most of Ozomatli’s set, as well as the highly-hyped Faithless. Okay, we’ll leave the details of that festival to others’ posts, but in short it was also fantastic.
The JZ Festival. The New Factories @ 60 Yuyao Lu (同乐坊，余姚路60号)
4-7 October, 12:00-21:00
Daytime pass: RMB50, Nighttime performance: RMB120
24-hour ticketing hotline: 962388