Park’s Best of the Fest

  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
  • Park’s Best of the Fest
PHOTO BYfujirockers.org
TEXT BYPark Baker

Posted on 2023.8.1 18:58

Highlights from this year's festivities

Another Fuji Rock weekend has swiftly come and gone, but in its wake for each of us will remain those special memories and highlights that we hold on to for years to come. Here are some of mine. Also the weather was incredible, lets keep that up again for next time, please.


From the moment Tohji appeared atop the White Stage’s sound booth in an iridescent wizard’s robe and parted the sea of a crowd like a futuristic Moses making his way toward the stage, it was made perfectly clear that it was his world and we were all just living in it. Backed by MySpace-era computer animated visuals, Tohji’s pop style evoked a neo-retro image of bleached-blonde teenagers clad in goggle sunglasses blasting eurobeat from their BMWs on the autobahn. Between challenging the audience to compare the rarity level of their Yu-Gi-Oh! cards with his, then teaching them a goofy dance inspired by a galloping mango, Tohji’s act on the surface seems like a well-crafted jab at nostalgia for early 2000’s pop culture. But delivered with Tohji’s deadpan seriousness and combined with the quality of his ultramodern catchy song-crafting chops, it transcends gimmicks and instead exudes youthful swagger. If Tohji’s heavily auto-tuned blend of eurobeat and hip-hop is the future, sign me up.


Though Lizzo did her damndest to close out Sunday night with a bang, for me it was Ginger Root that kept me smiling all the way back to my bed that night. Cameron Lew is nothing short of a genius, painstakingly creating a complete audio-visual performance that followed a deep narrative which was full of humour as well as insanely impressive musical skill. Complete with commercial breaks for fake products, hilarious skits and classic Japanese variety show type set pieces, Ginger Root’s absolute blast of a set felt almost like a movie at times. Lew’s uncanny ability to engage the audience and perfectly encapsulate pockets of Showa-era culture without ever having lived through it was incredible to say the least. This was a performance that will stay with me for a long time, and I’m already anticipating what kind of spectacular show Ginger Root will pull out next.


I mean this in the best way possible; Hakushi Hasegawa’s jumbled skittering electronic compositions are like a jack-hammer to the brain. Seemingly rejecting any recognizable pattern or song structure, Hasegawa’s freeform noise-salads are at once painful and captivating. A clamoring pandemonium of noise with squelching vocals set atop it was suddenly punctured by a danceable bounding beat, only to continue for mere seconds before abruptly ending in silence. Amid all of the helter-skelter, Hasegawa vanished quietly from the stage, leaving the audience left to process what had just happened.


In front of the Green Stage on Saturday morning, there was a very strong dividing line between fans of Gezan on their feet near the front, and people plunked in chairs at the back who had no idea what in god’s name was going on up on the stage. Flourishes of didgeridoo, a mass of people performing tribal chants and clad in meticulously coordinated all-crimson wardrobe, heavy metal riffs punctuated by the shrieks of frontman MahiTo The People, and a lengthy line of guest performers who stormed the stage one-by-one to deliver quickfire rap verses; These are all par for the course with Gezan. Needless to say it was one of the weirdest and most entertaining performances of the weekend, and I’m so glad that it happened on the largest stage of all.


It was 23-year old Japanese rock wunderkind Vaundy who delivered perhaps the most simple and straight-forward set that I saw all weekend, but simple doesn’t mean boring. Heavily shrouded in fog and backlit by bright lights, Vaundy bounced from 90s UK rock, to jazz, to hip-hop and back, with an extremely polished sound and an infectious energy that reached all the way to back of the jam-packed White Stage area. Shoutout to the lighting production team as well, who drew maximum effect from minimal ingredients, fitting the vibe of the performance to a T.

See you in 2024!