The Mokudotei is a secluded stage on the boardwalk between White Stage and Field of Heaven. It’s one of the smaller stages and tends to lend itself well to acoustic or lowkey performances. Ao New Young Trio blow that perception straight out of the water as they start their set of rocky pop with a touch of jazz. The small stage is packed full and continues to drag people off the boardwalk as the set progresses.
From a pattering of cymbal, the frontman fires into full voice, steely yet cynical over the full soundings drums and strong organic sound of double bass. Their second song seers them veer into slightly funkier territory with swaying bass and cowbell. The combine the harshness of rock with the catchiness of pop while still having enough inventive instrumentation to say there’s a hint of jazz.
The set flows straight on, funky bass and drums slowly driving forward as the lyrics descend into just noises. The song bounces back with a flying guitar solo, morphs into a ripping passage with drums challenging the guitar with a sustained burst of hard rhythm and then it all descends into full-on jazz for 10 minutes.
Their last starts off as a twisted ballad, slow burning distortion that somehow evolves into a chorus of “You are the sunshine”. Sung along loudly by the crowd, it’s a cheerful start to the last afternoon of Fuji Rock and even gets boardwalk passerbys swaying and singing along. It’s a unique combination of steel and heart, cynically accusing the universe one second and pummeling ears with distortion before opening up and caressing the audience with pop hooks the next.