Day 2 of FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL and the sun was blazing hot, fans were decked out in the coolest possible attire and were ready for another day of fantastic live music in the middle of the mountains.
First up, Canadian punk rockers WHITE LUNG jolted their audience into action with their upbeat and aggressive track. Frontwoman Mish Way screamed and shouted her way through the set, engaging fans and new listers alike. Having just released their latest album Deep Fantasy in June, the trio had an array of new songs to treat audience members to, and their over-the-top-energy and power was a great way to start the day.
Next we caught Tokyo’s own alt rock group THE BAND APART who played the Red Marquee. With six studio albums under their collective belt, the guys are no strangers to playing live shows, rocking out at venues all over Japan since 2001. The fruity guitars and hoarse vocals made for a satisfyingly old school live experience, and the group evidently have a strong Japanese fan base, as displayed by the packed out tent.
GRANT NICHOLAS, the leading man of British rock outfit Feeder, was next to bring his solo efforts to the Red Marquee at Day 2 of Fuji Rock Festival. He treated the somewhat small audience to tracks from his then-unreleased debut album Yorktown Heights. Having only announced the creation of his solo project earlier this year, his fans were still singing along heartily, particularly to the single Soul Mates.
The solo project of Asian Kung Fu Generation’s frontman Masafumi Gotoh, GOTCH was the next act to play. Backed by six super energetic touring band members, Gotoh played a lively and upbeat set to a large audience, including a cover of Wilco’s A Shot In The Arm. This was the first official live performance for Gotch, and there will probably be many more to come judging from the positive response he received.
The brilliant enigma that is ST. VINCENT followed, bringing a positively fresh breathe of air to what had been a rather generic rock music day in the Red Marquee. Her quirky and erratic choreography and eerie blue lighting perfectly suited the strange and haunting tones of her music. She dominated the stage with her aggressive stance and yet maintained an air of femininity. St. Vincent released her latest album in February this year, from which she played seven tracks in her Saturday performance, closing with Your Lips Are Red from her debut 2007 album Marry Me.
Next up, fans were treated to a performance from now 81-year old Yoko Ono, in the form of YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND. Ono broached the stage with confidence and broke into the opening tracks, screaming and shouting with surprising energy. She sang a handful of her solo tracks as well as some previously unheard tracks, and of course included the famed Don’t worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow) and Open Your Box. The main things fans took away from the performance was that Ono still knows how to entertain, and isn’t afraid to give it her all despite a rather poorly-received performance recently at Glastonbury.
Closing out Day 2 of Fuji Rock Fest 2014 were Canada’s indie darlings and headliners ARCADE FIRE, and they certainly went out with a bang. They opened with Reflektor, the title track from their latest album of the same name, adorned in shiny futuristic attire and sporting hand held mirrors to literally reflect beams of light into the audience. Arcade Fire are renowned for their costumes and love for flamboyant performances, and their set at the Green Stage of Fuji Rock Festival was no exception. Their entire performance was an extravaganza, and with so many people on stage contributing to the group’s eclectic sound, it was hard to know where to look. They closed with Wake Up from 2004 album Funeral, wrapping up a set outrageous and perfect enough to warrant the headline slot at the festival.