LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE8/21 SAT
Punk Veterans Shining on Like Crazy Diamonds
The Cro-Magnons delivered a spirited one-hour set of their classic punkish rock to a capacity crowd of thousands within the Green Stage’s black cage around the front of the stage. And, countless hundreds of others camped out on the hillside that led up to it.
Thousands of fists pelted the air as the band – all decked out in black and white Cro-Magnons t-shirts – tore through their legendary repertoire. Before one song, the lead singer forgot that he needed a harmonica, and the audience laughed in support; understanding that their heroes – as they had mentioned earlier in their set – were out of practice of playing live shows.
Every sentence of every song was punctuated by fans’ fists pelting the air, as they paid homage to their heroes, whom they no doubt missed immensely during the pandemic. On stage left, their guitarist – his trademark bandana around his forehead – delivered his duties like a Japanese Keith Richards. Their bassist ploughed through the set like Sid Vicious without heroin, and their lead singer lept and bounced around like a skate punk of half his age; propping up a Converse sneaker on top of a monitor to deliver the odd line, then jerking like an epileptic having a fit during the odd instrumental break.
During a particularly driving number, rain ponchos of every color bounced and swayed from side to side in the catharsis of enjoying these living legends live; right after a rainfall no less. Poetry hung in the air.
Half an hour into their set, The Cro-Magnon’s lead singer gently addressed the crowd, asking them if they were okay after the rain, and encouraging them to enjoy every minute of Fuji Rock 2021. And, so they did. Even thirty-five minutes into the band’s set, almost all of the thousands in attendance jerked around in place, and clapped their hands in predetermined rhythms on certain choruses. The intro to the next song had the audience clapping to a rapid downbeat. Basically every song in this band’s arsenal follows the d-beat punk esthetic. And – if you like it – it really can’t be beat. You’d basically never tire of it; as is evidenced by the tireless dancing and fist pumping of the fans in attendance. It’s the sound of California, and is hard to argue with; it fills you with vitality as soon as you hear it; unless you hate punk rock.
As the band tore through a fan favorite called “Kami Hikooki” (Paper Plane) the lead singer used his hand as a visor to scan the faces of the crowd, and thousands of hands went up to be seen. As the song came to an end, The Cro-Magnons’ lead singer yelled out, “Kyo ha saiko!” (“Today is the best”). And, in a flash, they were off into another d-beat number, with red lights beaming down from overhead, and thousands of hands offering punctuation to the singer’s lyrics. Overcome by emotion, the latter rolled around on the ground before getting up again to thank the crowd at the end of the song.
For their last number of the day, the lead singer yelled out, “We are Cro-Magnons” and their logo appeared on both huge stage-side screens. As they powered through the snare-heavy number, the crowd yelled “hey” and punched the air on predetermined cues, despite having been warned against any loud speech; due to the pandemic. Once the track came to an end, the lead singer thanked the crowd, and the band walked off stage as the audience cheered as if begging for an encore.