Fuji Rock Festival ’12 Review
People whispered it under their breath, cast nervous eyes to the sky and took their rain jacket “just in case”, but this year prayers were answered at Fuji Rock Festival – it stayed dry the whole weekend. Not only was it dry, it was a scorcher; bands rocked out in the blazing sun with temperatures soaring into the mid-thirties, as the site was turned into something which looked more like Burning Man Festival than Fuji Rock. Throughout the weekend punters were treated to a host of acts who gorged on the plentiful supply of good vibes in the Naeba atmosphere, with some truly memorable moments. Here is Tokyo Indie’s pick of the three big winners (and the three big losers) of the festival!
James Blake - On Friday, despite a band being audacious enough to call themselves The Very Best playing at five in the evening, James Blake made sure the very best was actually saved for last. Not many people can get away with holding the attention of a festival at only 70 BPM, but James Blake proved that you don’t need a high octane performance to wow the masses.
Che Sudaka – I stumbled into the Crystal Palace Tent late one night to find this six piece band with the crowd in the palm of their hand. A kind of South American Gogol Bordello, it was impossible to stay still while listening to these guys and I soon found myself swept up in the unabashed fun of it all. Utterly fantastic.
The White Stage at sundown – Whoever timetabled this stage got their job spot on. The Gossip, Caribou and Explosions in the Sky were all very different, but equally well placed acts to transfer the crowds mindset from day to night over the weekend. A special mention must go out to Caribou for their spine tingling rendition of “Sun” as the last streaks of sunlight disappeared behind the mountains – one festival memory which will be with me for some time.
Wristband queues – There needs to be a major rethink about how to get people into the festival if they want it to keep growing. Gargantuan lines snaked all around the car-park with people waiting close to two hours to exchange tickets for wristbands…Come on guys, sort it out!
Liam Gallagher – I tried to be as impartial as I could but the guy doesn’t do himself any favours, does he? Unashamed self-promotion of Pretty Green on stage, moaning at the crowd and jibes at his brother. It’s a good job Noel had a decent go at covering the Oasis hits on the Saturday…
Radiohead visuals – The music was awesome as promised, but bands like the Chemical Brothers are still streets ahead when it comes to executing the theatrics of a festival show. The atmosphere was electric, but could have been pushed further with something bold on stage.
Make sure you check out our photo report to see what Tokyo Indie got up to at the festival!
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Asuka O.