Jonathan’s Best of the Fest

  • Jonathan’s Best of the Fest
TEXT BYfujirockers.org

Posted on 2023.7.31 21:04

That’s another one on the books, folks!! And against all odds with no rain! Blistering heat though, which wasn’t enough to keep spirits down, as it felt like Fuji Rock was finally back in full form after 2021’s corona experiment and 2022’s dipping the toes back into the full festival waters experience. Fuji without a mask sure was nice. Good to breathe.
And the music was back too! Lizzo was phenomenal, absolutely earning her headlining position, Dave Grohl coined the term ‘Full Fuji’ (we’ll see if it sticks), and the unlistable dozens more amazing acts all around Naeba for the whole weekend keeping bottoms shaking and fists pumping. But without further ado, my totally subjective top 5 ‘Best of the Fest’

Sakamoto Shintaro
Personally no surprise here, as I think he is one of the best performers around. His vibe fit Field of Heaven so perfectly, his band was so tight, and the songs so darn well crafted that his set was hard to beat. The way the forest was bathed in slow psychedelic laser lights, looking like some sort of bioluminescent undersea mass, was the cherry on top. Always great, Sakamoto Shintaro is. Always a treat.

Ginger Root
How the heck does someone manage to have a multimedia, multilingual narrative driven live set that presumably only people with some bicultural knowledge would understand, when it is only your second time (4th show?) ever in Japan? Who knows, but Cameron Lew (better known as Ginger Root) sure did wow with it. If this is what ‘aggressive elevator music’ is, I’ll take the next car straight to the top anytime.

The first time I saw GEZAN was maybe a decade ago, and they were a pretty small act and pretty weird. Now they are a pretty big act, but still pretty weird! All the way from Rookie a Go-Go to the Green Stage. What an evolution to track!
They painted the town red on Saturday morning. A lot of credit goes to Million Wish Collective, their chanting went a long way in making them seem more like a cult than just a band. In a good way though.

Yo la Tengo
This band has been a big part of my life for the majority of it, so it was great to see them still alive, still kicking and still making great new music! They can still drone and thrash with the best of ‘em, and they can still write a song that gently grabs your heart and softly squeezes. Never stop please Yo la Tengo.

Cory Wong
What a great dude! I got to sit and chat with him for an interview, and he was a down to earth, solid guy. And then his Saturday Field of Heaven set blew me away! I’m a fan of his music, but it is something to be seen live, not just listened to recorded. There’s few people who can play the guitar more virtuosically and effortlessly than him. And few guitarists who know how to play rhythm guitar as lead guitar quite like him. Super fun set.

That’ll just about do it for me! Until next year, keep it classy dudes!