Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fuji Rock 両者日 (Day Two)

Fuji Rock:  The Saga Continues 

With not many bands on my agenda for day two, I was able to slow the pace down, chill, and absorb the Fuji surroundings.  However, waking up in the early afternoon was a little too chilled and resulted in a frantic morning start.

So with a late start to the day, I was forced to sacrifice showers and cleanliness so I could run past the World Restaurant arena (where you can find an array of earthly delights from Jamaican Jerk Chicken, to a French Croque-monsieur) to grab the bare essentials for the day; First stop, The Karma bar for a couple of bloody marries; Second Stop, the favourite takoyaki stall for some Japanese Octopus Balls (but don’t let the name put you off... they are amazing). 

From there I jumped on the Dragondola, the world’s longest cable car, which took me to the mountain peaks of the Naeba resort.  On the nervous ride I had thrilling 360 degree views of the festival, and was welcomed by a Fuji Rocker screaming insanities at the car from aside the mountain.  At the top of the pristine peak lay a small stage called Silent Breeze, where DJ's spun ambient sounds while fire twirlers twirled, and Japanese hippies danced contently amongst the skies. After a quick beer and shuffle, I realised it was time to make my way back down the hill and head to the Red Marquee to catch the end of the 22-20s (which was so impressive it made me wish I saw the whole show).

With only a few hours to go until one of my Fuji Festival favourites, Roxy Music, I made my way to the Green Stage to watch Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, John Fogerty.  Strumming out some classic Creedence sing alongs, including Fortunate Sun, and Who’ll Stop The Rain, Fogerty also covered songs by Little Richard, and Roy Orbison.  Fogerty’s vibrant set (to my surprise) resulted in thousands of punters filling the mountains with muffled harmonies, while swinging each other from arm to arm.  

Next up on the Green Stage was one of the two bands that played a critical part in my decision to travel across the Pacific to Fuji Rock. Roxy Music played close to a 2 hour set, with a band and back up singers that filled the main stage.  Unfortunately for Brian Ferry, the audience was only half full, and dressed in industrial wet weather apparel to combat the pouring rain. They played over an hour of their hits from albums Avalon, Flesh + Blood, and Manifesto, with an abundance of monotonous 80’s sax solos, which lead to contemplations of bailing to the White Stage to catch the second half of Zac de la Rocha (Rage Against The Machine) and Jon Theodore’s (The Mars Volta) latest project One Day As A Lion. However, luckily for this Art Rocker want-to-be, the last 30 minutes contained exactly what I came for, with Ferry busting out hits such as Virginia Plain, Do The Strand, and Love Is the Drug, making up for the previous part of the set.

To finish the night I ventured over to watch the White Stage’s closing artist, MGMT.  This appeared not to be a unique choice, as it seemed the entirety of the festival was heading in the same direction creating a painfully slow bottleneck between the two stages.  Normally a 5 minute walk; it probably would have made more sense to put Brian on the White and MGMT on the Green, no?  Besides the torturous traffic jam, MGMT were looking the part with their retro 70s linen attire, and haircuts to match.  In comparison to the apathetic show I saw at Roskilde music festival in 2008, I thought they played an entertaining set.  All the essential tracks from Orcacular Spectacular sat nicely juxtaposed to the psych-pop singles featured on Congratulations; which Benjamin Goldwasser attributed to the “mountain spirits” of Fuji Rock.

 Even though the crowd was perceived to be predominantly Orcacular Spectacular fans, the band put on an awesome show playing a balanced variety of old and new.  The band finished the set with a sparkler infused rendition of ‘Kids’, and frontman Andrew VanWyngarden announcing Fuji Rock is MGMTs “favourite festival we’ve ever played”. 


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