The quality of a good song is evident in (almost) every musical context. Now, the Great Spy Experiment has wonderful songs and the challenge for the band at this Mosaic Music Festival event at the Esplanade Concourse tonight was to present them in an acoustic format. And the band delivered with aplomb!

With the boys well-dressed and suited up (and with Mag looking smashing – as rightly pointed out by Fandy), it seemed like a ‘posh’ function – so unlike the usual gritty ‘indie’ gig. With the inclusion of Joan Chew on electric violin, it appeared like a night of re-invention for the band. And why not? After having lived and breathed these songs for some time now, maybe it was an appropriate time to shake things up in the GSE camp and perhaps provide inspiration for the new material to come.

What tonight did prove once again was that the songs were great and Saiful is possessed of an excellent larynx. Halfway through the set, Saiful apologized for his ‘poor’ voice (a remark greeted by ironic groans) as the audience recognized that especially in the slower songs like Late Night Request, Miss Kensington and the re-configured Flow, Saiful hit all the high notes and communicated the emotional impact well.

As for the rest of the set, Dance with Me took on a jazz-pop feel whilst Siti in the City , Class ‘A’ Love Affair, the Great Decay and Captain Funkycurls were all given lower tempos to fit the occasion. Joan’s violin brought a different dimension that fit suitably, particularly on Flow with her pseudo-classical appregios. I felt relaxed throughout, soaking in this fairly virginal GSE aural experience. Caveats – Song’s guitar and Mag’s keyboards seem lost in the mix though, rightly or wrongly, it did not seem to make much difference to the overall sound. I just hope somebody was smart enough to record this unique gig

…. and there’s more