Punktfest 06 - Kristiansand, Norway - Day One, August 24, 2006
Wibutee finished out the evening's events at the Agder Teater with a show that was similar to the one they performed in Ottawa in June. But while the group's core triowoodwind multi-instrumentalist/keyboardist/electronic manipulator/occasional vocalist Hakon Kornstad, drummer/drum programmer/electronic manipulator Wetle Holte and guitarist/keyboardist/programmer/electronic manipulator Rune Brondbowas fleshed out to a quartet in Ottawa with the addition of bassist/guitarist Tor Egil Kreken, they performed this show in their usual live quintet form with Eyvind Andreas, also on guitar.
While the group had to squeeze tight to fit onto the small stage in Ottawa, they had the room they needed to stretch out at the Agder Teater. They were also able to use more extensive lighting and smoke that was either unavailable (in the case of the lighting) or prohibited by law (in the case of the smoke) in Ottawa, making the set a far more complete experience. They focused on material from Sweet Mental (Sonne Disk, 2006) and Playmachine (Jazzland, 2004), and experiencing this group on home turf was far more exciting.
It was also a different experience seeing Kornstad and Holte appearing elsewhere throughout the evening. That makes Wibutee's rock stance and more structured formatwhich still leaves plenty of room for interpretationeven more evident as a clear choice, and only one of many that these artists make. More so than most locales in North America; when Jan Bang speaks about community, it's no hyperbole.
Some people might look at the Norwegian scene as incestuous, but that would be an unfair dismissal. These artists have come together under a variety of situations, and they're both broad enough to work within them and distinctive enough in their musical personalities to retain them, regardless of context.
After experiencing over seven hours of nearly continuous music, one might think that my ears would need a rest. But in the case of Punktfest, the experience just heightened my anticipation for the concerts and live remixes planned for day two: singer Hanne Hukkelberg, saxophonist Karl Seglem, the duos of drummer Bill Bruford/pianist Michiel Boorstlap and saxophonist Frode Gjerstad/Jan Bang, a double concert featuring Bugge Wesseltoft solo and WARP (the Wagner Reloaded Project), singer Mari Boine and Austrian guitarist Fennesz.