Best of the Fest: Park

  • Best of the Fest: Park

Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa Text by Park Baker

Posted on 2022.8.2 00:20

2022's standout gigs

Though it seems the consensus among everyone this year was that Fuji Rock has not quite returned to pre-2020 levels of excitement, that definitely doesn’t mean that it lacked memorable performances. Here’s a round-up of the five most noteworthy acts that I caught at this year’s festival. In no particular order:


I’m glad JPEGMAFIA’s assault-on-the-senses White Stage performance went down on Friday afternoon instead of late in the weekend because I don’t know if my tired body could have handled all the bone rattling bass, skittering chopped up beats and ear-splitting, lightning quick scream-rap three days into a festival. My brain can’t seem retain any memory of a particular highlight, probably because the whole set was just pure non-stop energy. He ended each song drenched in sweat and gasping for breath, and he made sure we were all right there along with him. In terms of raw and in-your-face edginess, nothing else I saw this year came close. It hurt so good.



I had honestly never heard of wild and wacky hip-hop duo DONGURIZU until hours before their Saturday Red Marquee appearance, but I got intrigued after clicking on a youtube video of the pair’s pulsating hip-house floor filler “NO WAY” and decided to find out what they were all about. It ended up being the most fun I had the whole weekend. The reason? Rapper Mori and producer Chomo were up there having even more of a blast than I was.



I’m always impressed by Mura Masa’s ability to hand pick his collaborative vocalists from a smorgasbord of worldwide backgrounds with unmatched skill. Rough-around-the-edges Slowthai’s grime/punk in “Deal Wiv It”, Charli XCX’s ultra-catchy bubblegum pop on “1 Night” and the Jamaican dancehall floor-filler “Blessing Me” with Pa Salieu + Skillibeng all draw from vastly different musical influences. Then HOW IN THE WORLD did only two women (guest vocalists Fliss and Cosha) channel the personalities of all these wildly diverse performers so perfectly and still inject their own vibrant persona and flair into each and every song? Big-time hats off to these two majorly talented ladies. Plus we got some sneaky previews of upcoming, yet-to-be-released material which also sounded fantastic.



Though I know their bigger hits well enough from back in the day, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a Dinosaur Jr fan. But with all the original members performing on stage together and the fact that they’re a literal living legend of a band still going hard today, you didn’t have to be a Dinosaur Jr super-fan to truly appreciate and understand the gravity of what was going down.



Kikagaku Moyo is one of those bands that have found greater success overseas than in their own native Japan. I count myself lucky to have witnessed one of their final performances and was impressed by their distinctive and complex building jams, so much so that felt surprisingly easy to lose yourself in their meandering, swirling structures. Though it seems their time as a group is quickly coming to a close, as skilled and talented as they all are, I’ll bet we can expect some very interesting solo work from these adept musicians.



Please please please bring back Palace of Wonder. I understand that in these trying times we can’t have massive crowds packed into smaller enclosed venues, but I’ll cry real tears if the offbeat atmosphere of the Crystal Palace Tent and accompanying Palace of Wonder area are lost and gone forever. Also, dropping in on Jim’s Vinyl Nasium in its beloved shack-type form near Naeba Shokudo was always a late-night treat. I want that back, if Jim is up for it. If we’re going to talk performers for next year, I’d like to kindly request invites sent out to HAIM, Jungle, Parcels, Frank Ocean, Brockhampton, Hot Chip, Still Woozy, Vaundy and a group_inou reunion for 2023. Oh, and an exact repeat of this year’s near-perfect weather would be nice.

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