Fuji Rock your socks off

8:33 pm Music

A lot has happened since the last entry: a visit to the monkey/ninja infested town of Nikko, an Italian opera about Japan, a bunch of stuff that you can read about over at Nicole’s blog. Today I want to talk about last Sunday and Fuji Rock Festival.

Fuji Rock Festival is Japan’s biggest rock festival, and it is world famous as one of the best music festivals in the world. The bands booked for the three-day event run from some of the largest names in rock, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to the obscure Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (who sadly had to bow out due to vocal chord problems, possibly brought on by the singers unique brand of singing).

Because of our busy work schedule, we were only able to attend on Sunday, the last day of the festival. Despite the misleading name, the festival is held at a ski resort in Niigata prefecture, not at Fuji-san, which is nice because Naeba Ski Resort is only about an hour and a half drive from here. While the scenery was not as famous it was every bit as beautiful.

We started the day off with a dose of Taiko Drumming by a band called Kodo. I have wanted to see Kodo since high school when my friend Nick saw them in San Francisco for his Birthday and brought me a tape. It was a moving experience of lung-shaking drum beats with guys in underwear pounding 10 food Taiko drums. It was unfortunate that we only got to see the last part of the show.

We stayed that the same stage for the next band, the Refugee All-Stars of Sierra Leon. A nice dose of rock steady, reggae beats with some African vibes and traditional dancing. There was a good energy coming from the band and audience as people cheered for the representatives of the war-torn nation.

After that was a French band called Rinoçerose (sorry I can’t type the circumflex) who were an interesting mix of hardcore techno and glam rock. The lead singer came on stage wearing a robe with the microphone stuffed in his underwear. It was a scene I was surprised to see in Japan and brought now meaning to the phrase “Rock out with your cock out.”

After Rinoçerose, We went to see Snow Patrol, from Scotland. I left midway through the set to go see Broken Social Scene, who were one of the highlights of the day. Their music was energetic and well performed, and their stage presence was playful. After they finished their set, the crowd began to disperse, but some people stayed and cheered, then a strange thing happened for a festival. They came back out and gave us an impromptu encore. I have a feeling the next band was running late, for which I am thankful because the last song was a brand new one that no one had heard before and it was excellent. We also bumped into Saleema and Dave, some friends from Tokyo, at the BSS show, and spent parts of the rest of the day with them. Nicole originally met Saleema in France; it goes to show how small the world is.

Then the fun really picked up when we went to see the Raconteurs, Jack White’s new band. This was when the rock really started flowing and you could feel it in the audience, like the day was building up energy for the last few bands. The Raconteurs rock more live than they do on CD so I am glad I got to see them. I will definitely go to another show next time I have a chance. The highlight of their set was a cover of the Nancy Sinatra song, Bang Bang. Jack sang it with such emotion, I felt for sure there was a story behind his choosing to cover that particular song, but it could just be his genius as a musician as well.

After the Raconteurs came the Stokes, who we left early because their live show is pretty much like listening to their CD. We hurried from the Stroke to see the Supper Furry Animals, who totally rock live. Their presence is fun and goofy, one guy played the last song with a Red Power Ranger helmet on.

The final band of the day was Mogwai, who were good, but I have just never gotten really into them. I was glad to see them live, though.

We got out of the festival grounds by around 1 am after a good 14 hours of Rock.

3 Responses

  1. Coco Says:

    WOW! What a day. It’s amasing there were so many bands there. Glad you had a fun day off you two deserve it.

  2. joey Says:

    hey, i can view your site again! i know it was a while ago but, wow, talk about music overload. sounds like a blast though. thanks for sharing.

  3. Daniel Says:

    I read similar article also named Fuji Rock your socks off, and it was completely different. Personally, I agree with you more, because this article makes a little bit more sense for me

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