Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fuji Rock Festival '10, Japan

Fuji Rockers: The First Installment

After a battering night of rain (in a not so waterproof tent), I opened the fly screen of my humble dome to a picturesque view of sunshine, dramatic mountain rangers, and hundreds of Fuji rockers preparing for the initial day of the festival... I knew it was going to be, in Lou Reed's words, a perfect day! 

However, unlike Reed's song with the connotations of menace and smite, the opening day of Fuji Rock Festival '10 was flawless. The day began with Local Natives on the White Stage, where the LA 5 piece demonstrated what psych-folk truly is. Before heading to the Red Marquee where I would spend the majority of the day/night watching Mike Snow, Broken Bells, The XX, Broken Social Scene, and Rusko, I did a little exploring to see how the Fuji set up compares to other festivals I have frequented...

With punters pocketing every cigarette butt, binning every empty beer cup, and lining up without being shouted demands by lawless security guards, I knew I wasn't amongst the boisterous crowd of the Big Day Out, or the hussle and bussle of Bennicassim.  'Fuji Rockers' from an outsiders perspective, seem to be avid fans who care about their environment, their fellow punters, and are purely about the music -  equipped with heavy duty backpacks, ocean liner tarps, and directors chairs that boggle the mind as to how they can fold up into a tiny bag - it seems they're in it for the long haul. 

My choice to spend the majority of the night in the Red Marquee may have been one of the wisest choices of the festival; Mike Snow turned the crowd into a momentous dancing swell, while the Broken Bells swooned the audience with their familiar harmonies (although a little monotonous at times).  As expected, Broken Social Scene were like seeing those familiar fun friends who you only catch up with once in a while, then Rusko closed the night with some dramatic bass that lowered the heart to match the sunken frequencies that hit the chest at high capacity.

Closing the night on the Green Stage, UK super group, MUSE, left the crowd in awe; wearing futuristic space suits; a laser show that projected onto the mountains behind, and giant eyeballs that were unleashed into the crowd during the final encore.

However, I found that the day turned night was prevailed by the calm and collective, The XX.  Playing the majority of their debut album, xx, including 'Crystalised', and 'Islands', the three piece from London even incorporated a cover of ATB's 9PM (Till I Come). This transformed the tent of thousands of people to feel as if it were only you, them, and their somber and minimal light show.  Coinciding with the light show The XX's minimal chord structure reverberated intense emotion that can be compared to the likes of Interpol when they toured Turn On The Bright Lights.     

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