Friday, July 27, 2007

Political Awareness

Fuji Rock 2007: Part 4
Jarvis Cocker/Kings of Leon

As they waited for the marvellous Jarvis Cocker to take the stage, the crowd were in a mellow afternoon mood. The only annoyance was that, between acts, the sound man insisted on continually playing New Order's Greatest Hits. We wondered if he had any other CDs in his collection and tried to predict which New Order song would be next.

I'm a huge Jarvis/Pulp fan and his 2006 solo album is filled with cracking tracks, most of which he played today. Jarvis apologized to the crowd for concentrating on songs they didn't know, but that didn't seem to bother anyone as the audience responded to his self-deprecating humor and social commentary.

As he coaxed audience members into reigniting their political awareness with the excellent Running the World, we were treated to the bizarre spectacle of Jarvis singing "C***s are still running the world" to 30,000 Japanese rock fans while his wife and two young children looked on from the wings. You won’t be hearing this song on the radio anytime soon, but sometimes a dirty word is the only adequate response to brutalities such as those perpetrated by Bush and Blair in the name of God and freedom.

Next up were Kings of Leon, the Tennessee band made up of three brothers and one cousin. They gave an energetic, committed performance, but I was left feeling a tad confused by their nouveau southern-rock. Looks like they spend a decent chunk of their royalties on hairdressers.

Kings of Leon's guitarist loses points for pegging his cigarette to his guitar neck between puffs, a major faux pas in the rock pose stakes which screams out "L.O.S.E.R." A lone British voice in the crowd shouts out: "Do you KNOW any GOOD TUNES?" We share his pain. Thankfully it all comes to an end and I actually feel relieved when New Order's Blue Monday once more comes roaring over the PA.

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