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Laura’s Best of the Fest
The portents were lining up around this year’s Fuji Rock festival: Mercury in retrograde, a blood moon, and a typhoon sweeping over. That and, for me a least, the main line-up was a little lacklustre in comparison to previous years. No matter though, it mostly turned out good: the typhoon passed with only a small amount of disruption, the blood moon was obscured by clouds and time, and as for Mercury in retrograde, well, the 6-hour bus ride home certainly suggested travel should not have been on the list of things to do.
However, there were some gems at this year’s festival, I just had to look lower down the line-up to find most of the them.
Music has the great ability to help us make sense of things, to be cathartic and equally to pull at injuries for some reassessment. serpentwithfeet’s short set at the Red Marquee for me was an wonderful experience for many reasons: not only his gorgeous voice and the way he broke the mold with his performance and arrangements, but also just the fact that this man, who has such a very different experience of life to me, could express a universality of emotional experience and find in me some common ground. I have to confess that I was welling up at some points, but strangely, since seeing his show I feel a little more sanguine.
Ok, so maybe I didn’t have to look that far down the line-up for this one. Skrillex’s show was highly entertaining, dropping in plenty of musical references only folks of a certain age might appreciate (The Venga Boys?) and keeping everyone on their musical toes with surprises, though the addition of Yoshiki at the end was less of a surprise and more just an exercise in nepotism from where I stood, which was at the back, sneering.
Ex-letlive. frontman Jason has joined ranks with guitarist Stevis Harrison to create The Fever 333, a rap-metal outfit whose political and social commentary as well as their musical style cannot but suggest comparisons to Rage Against the Machine, though this is no bad thing. The band’s set on Sunday morning was energetic and fun, with plenty of on-stage capers to keep everyone entertained. The band will be returning to Japan next year, perhaps with an album to promote given the amount of new material they played at this show.
I’ll admit that I am dubious about the longevity of this band, based on their age and style, but these seem like unfair reasons to doubt them. Regardless, their set was everything I like in a rock show – aggressive, theatrical and entertaining. No matter what they go on to do, Arrow de Wilde will be worth watching out for in the future as she was utterly mesmerizing to watch.