The forest comes alive with Rei's blues.

Opening the small forest stage Mokudo-Tei for Fuji Rock 2017 was blues/soul rocker Rei, playing with her trio which included a drummer and a bass. Rei is a bit of a shock to the uninitiated. She’s small and unassuming upon first glance, but when she busts out her big guitar she transforms.

Rei played a combination of classic blues covers and original tunes. In the process she set the bar high for thing to come small forest stage. Rei is incredibly talented on guitar and rips through solos and ridiculous riffs like it’s nothing. She plays and sings with such feeling, soul and freedom that it’s hard to not just sit back slack jawed sometimes, as you struggle to make sense of what you’re seeing. When she laid down her version of John Lee Hoooker’s “Boom Boom”, even people walking by on the boardwalk couldn’t help but stop and take notice.

Rei and her band upped the tempo throughout the set as they played through folk, funk, blues, rock and more. Rei is a natural on blues guitar and has clearly done her homework on the guitar greats. Her sound and guitar work is very free and skillful. As she continues to play and write more original songs Rei only has room to grow and get better.

She’s a unique talent that doesn’t conform or play music that doesn’t contain a piece of her soul. Her incredible emotional range she reaches with both her guitar and voice are powerful enough to move anyone of any musical persuasion. For fans of blues and soul, Rei is a special treat indeed. It’s a rare thing to see a young female Japanese musician to be as well versed in classic blues and soul as Rei. Fuji Rock however, is a festival about experiencing rare events, not coming to expect it, but never being surprised when you experience festival magic again and again.

 Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa  Text by James Posted on 2017.7.28 13:58