Friday, July 25, 2008

Rock 'n' Roll Circus

Fuji Rock 2008: Part 7

the rock ‘n’ roll circus a thing of the past?

Nah, course not.

Johnny Rotten said 30 years ago that rock was dead - and his geriatric Sex Pistols are flogging their dead horse yet again at Japan’s Summer Sonic festival. The halcyon days of rock's hothouse creativity may have passed, but filthy lucre is alive and well and as a business concern 'rawk' shows no sign of slowing down.

Japanese rock fans are perhaps the most enthusiastic in the world and there’s a huge crowd present here at the main stage.

We estimate attendance is probably 15% higher than last year and Fuji Rock has now reached critical mass. Compared to 2007 there were far fewer cheapo tix on sale from the Yakuza foot soldiers manning the approaches to the festival.

Kasabian take the stage to a mighty roar and strut stylishly from one rock ‘n’ roll cliché to the next as they play a hugely entertaining set. These boys play their asses off and it’s no surprise they won Best Live Act at last year’s NME Awards.

What we are dealing with here is a seasoned, well-oiled rock machine with just the right blend of heaviness, psychedelia and oodles of confidence.

When lead singer Tom Meighan proclaims, “We’re so fookin’ high, we’re up in space,” a collective sigh of envy goes up among the large foreign contingent, who have, by all accounts had a hard time finding mind-altering substances.

98% of the Japanese crowd probably haven’t a clue what he’s on about, or what he’s on, but yes we get it, or wish we could.

Arms outstretched like the rock god his fans imagine him to be, Meighan is vocally impressive, and his bandmates also have the moves and the grooves - they're tighter than the pair of denim shorts wiggling right in front of me and their backing vocals on Shoot the Runner are outstanding.

My ears prick up at the lyric “Absinthe makes you a whore” because my friend and I will be consuming a flask of it to put us in the mood for Underworld’s set tomorrow night!

Fujirockers: Interview

Name: Richard

From: Shropshire, UK, living in Tokyo.

Why did you come to Fuji Rock? I like festivals, everyone says this one's good, and my friends are here.

Which artists do you especially want to see? Bootsy Collins, New Master Sounds, The Zutons and Primal Scream...because you gotta see 'em!

What’s the best thing about Fuji Rock? The friendly atmosphere. It's not like a British festival. UK festivals are wilder but not so friendly.

Fuji Slide Show #2

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