Fuji Rock Festival 2012 Preview
Every time I read through the list of the acts playing at this year’s Fuji Rock festival, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. After what was a difficult (although thoroughly enjoyable) festival last year blighted by Japan’s wider concerns, the guys at Smash have pulled out all the stops to bounce back this year and provide the very best in al-fresco musical kicks. Headline sets for The Stone Roses and Radiohead were announced early and caused an expected flurry of excitement in the Japanese music press and with fans alike. To hear that these would be joined by Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (playing on different days to avoid any brotherly fisticuffs) may well have caused a few fans to think they had died and gone to heaven – for Japanese anglophiles this is pretty much as good as it gets… Well, until The Beatles reform with a hologram Lennon and Harrison at least.
Whilst the headliners are heavy-hitters, the organizers have taken a bold step in making the rest of the bill a little more alternative, in both terms of the Japanese and foreign acts performing – a huge number of which are playing their first ever Fuji Rock. The continued shift to embrace more electronic acts is excellent news and their choice of acts really shows that they have their finger on the pulse of what is trending right now.
So, without further ado, here is Tokyo Indie’s indispensable guide to who to catch at this year’s festival.
The real conundrum here is about the headliner –The Stone Roses, Toots and The Maytals or James Blake?! For me it has to be Mancunian legends The Stone Roses, if only to brag to my friends in the UK who tried in desperation to get tickets for their UK dates. Elsewhere, I would recommend catching Django Django in the afternoon and later settling in for the night at Planet Groove because there are going to be some great acts appearing. The lightning fast fingers of Araab Muzik need to be seen to be believed and I’m very excited to see the electronic looping atmospherics of both The Field and highly rated UK outfit Factory Floor.
For me there are two must see acts on the Saturday – Caribou and Spiritualized. I have never seen either (despite their numerous tours in both England and Japan!) and have heard only good things about their live shows. Swiss Lips and The D.O.T will be well worth seeing as I think they will be great festival acts, it’s just a shame they will be playing in the Red Marquee (a great stage in the rain or at night, much less so on a sunny afternoon). For those who still crave all things French and electro, Justice and Busy P are still working the crowds as well as they have ever done. I imagine Agoria will be charged with playing the closing set in the Tribal Circus and if he plays “La 11eme Marche” the roof will surely come off the place!!!! Just listen to the breakdown in the song to see what I mean; it doesn’t get much better than that.
On the White Stage Fucked Up will be providing those classic festival shout-along moments and Explosions in The Sky will be giving a sonic master class with their sprawling wall of sound. Taking to the stage in the Red Marquee will be camera shy band ∆ (hint: it’s pronounced “ALT-J”) whose sound has interestingly been pigeon-holed as “folk-step”…make of that what you will. Following them on this stage will be The Shins, who despite being a great band, have the unenviable task of going head to head with Radiohead as headliners. After being part of an estimated 100,000 people who saw Radiohead at Glastonbury back in 2003, I can assure you to believe the hype and go and catch their festival performance (a big sorry to the The Shins!). Finally to close things up back in the Red Marquee make sure you try and catch a bit of UK tastemaker Annie Mac’s set as well as performances from De De Mouse and our old friends Mop of Head.
Fuji Rock will take place from the 27th to the 29th July. Make sure you join us at at the festival this year – we’ll be drinking by the cider tent as always!
Weekend ticket: ¥ 42,800 (tax included)
Day ticket: ¥ 17,800 (limited to 10,000 for each day)
For more information and details on how to buy tickets, please visit the official Fuji Rock Festival website.
Words: Mark Birtles
Translation: Iona Nagata