The third and final day of FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL saw humidity levels soar, along with the excitement fans held for the impending day of amazing music.
Canada’s OWEN PALLETT was the first act we caught at the Red Marquee. Opening with E is for Estranged, Pallet played four tracks he wrote when his solo project was named Final Fantasy, and rather oddly only one track from his latest album In Conflict, released in May this year. His performance consisted of him standing alone on the stage with a keyboard, microphone and loop pedals, all that he requires to make his intricate, multilayered music. Pallett has enjoyed immense recognition for his musical work, perhaps most notably an Academy Award nomination for his work with Arcade Fire’s Win Butler on the soundtrack for the critically acclaimed film Her.
California’s indie rock team OK GO were up next at the Red Marquee, where they played mostly tracks from this year’s album Hungry Ghosts. While undoubtedly putting on a fun and energetic performance, they maybe went a little overboard with their confetti canons, positively blasting the audience and themselves with multicoloured plastic pieces every second song. They closed with their most popular video hit This Too Shall Pass, and the group seemed super stoked to be on stage, vocalist Damian Kulash eventually climbing out into the audience to sing directly to their fans.
New York’s indie pop newbies THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART brought a real raw rock vibe to the stage in the Red Marquee next. Decked out in grungy double denim frontman, Kip Berman opened with a solo performance of Art Smock, and gave a solid and dedicated performance, rocking out all over the stage whilst simultaneously delivering his delicate and thoughtful vocals. They closed with their self-titled track from one of their first EPs, wrapping up a tight and upbeat set.
Next, and making for another addition to the list of youngsters playing at Fuji Rock this year, Ireland’s teenage group THE STRYPES brought their gritty blues-inspired rock vibes to the Green Stage on Sunday. Dressed in slick suits, the four looked as though they were attending their high school graduations. Despite having only formed in 2011, the group have skyrocketed to fame, supporting Arctic Monkeys on their 2013 Europe tour and performing on The Late Show with David Letterman. Whilst their performance was a solid one, the group could stand to work on their stage presence and personality, at times appearing to be trying too hard to pull off the ‘70s blues vibe.
Next up, and a nice change of pace from the indie-rock saturated lineup we’d seen thus far, SBTRKT blasted fans with some fantastic electro and dance tunes to get everyone moving in the Red Marquee. Apparently possessing no fear of seeming gimmicky, the solo producer had an enormous inflatable, custom-designed panther taking up a quarter of the stage, perhaps compensating for the lack of visual entertainment often accompanying electronic artists live. The man behind the moniker Aaron Jerome was decked out in his signature tribal headgear, as were the touring band on drums and keys. Providing guest vocals was Sampha, who often collaborates with SBTRKT, and whose presence added some much needed sass and excitement to the performance.
THE FLAMING LIPS was one of the most visually appealing and entertaining acts for the entire festival, which we enjoyed at the Green Stage on Sunday. Whilst frontman Wayne Coyne has deservedly copped a lot of flack for his antics lately, he still certainly knows how to put on a show. Dressed in a flesh-revealing muscle bodysuit and surrounded by giant walking mushrooms and a paper-mache rainbow, Coyne brought more than a healthy dose of psychedelic vibes to the festival, showering fans with confetti and apparently having the time of his life. They opened with hit The Abandoned Hospital Ship from their 1995 album Clouds Taste Metallic.
The Flaming Lips have a staggering sixteen studio albums under their belt since forming in 1983, and yet only played 9 tracks at the Green Marquee, although granted these were very much drawn out into huge performance pieces. This set included a cover of The Chemical Brothers’ track The Golden Path, and a grand finale closing out their visually huge set with Do You Realize??
Back over to the Red Marquee, we witnessed as New Zealand’s wunderkind LORDE opened her set with Glory and Gore, dressed in a white jumpsuit and pumping out some intense dance moves. Her super energetic set included a cover of The Replacements’ Swingin Party, otherwise mostly consisting of tracks from her debut album Pure Heroine, and closing with A World Alone. Lorde will be curating the soundtrack for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 as well as performing the lead single.
Last up, headlining Day 3 of Fuji Rock and closing out the entire festival were Andre 3000 and Big Boi, who reunited earlier this year as OUTKAST to perform a huge lineup of shows and festivals around the world to the delight of their huge fan base. They not only performed songs as Outkast, but the two took it as an opportunity to play their solo work individually too, each of them taking turns in the middle of the set to dish out their biggest tracks. The incredibly successful hip hop duo played an enormous set of 25 tracks, Big Boi was decked out in typical bling with a knuckle-duster microphone, and Andre was wearing a black jumpsuit with a $ price tag and the bold white words “God. or God?” Sharing a timeslot with Jack Johnson who was playing the Green Stage, there was barely any competition as masses of festival goers crammed into the field at the White Stage, leaving the Green Stage area relatively empty. All in all, Outkast certainly seemed a nostalgic and upbeat way to end what was an excellent weekend of live music.