TOKYO (TR) – Fans blown away by the likes of The Stone Roses and Radiohead at last year’s Fuji Rock Festival will likely not be disappointed with the assembled star power for this year’s incarnation.
Extending between July 26 to 28 at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture, the event features industrial music stalwarts Nine Inch Nails and diva Björk on its first two days, while veteran rockers The Cure close out the festivities on Sunday night.
But as in previous years, the extensive lineup — 226 artists on 16 stages — spans numerous genres and eras, making Fuji Rock the most eclectic showcase of talent on Japan’s festival circuit.
Warming up the Green Stage for the big names will be the likes of Karl Hyde, the front man of electronic group Underworld who released his debut solo album “Edgeland” earlier this year, the folk of Mumford and Sons, and space rockers My Bloody Valentine.
Certain to be circled on many programs will be Flying Lotus, the moniker of Steven Ellison, who will be performing his mix of jazz and electronica, and The xx, the English indie pop band whose track “Together” was released in April.
For a little taste of Japan, United Future Organization’s Yabe Tadashi unleashes his laptop at the Crystal Palace Tent on Friday, Senkawaos will bring their post-rock instrumentals to the Gypsy Avalon stage on Saturday, and the spiritual rhythms of Rabi Rabi are certain to energize that same stage the following day.
The U.S. indie rock scene from the 1990s is thoroughly represented. Chan Marshall, who last year released her sixth album “Sun” under the name Cat Power, plays on Sunday on the White Stage, which will host the buzz-saw rock of Rocket from the Crypt the day before. Hoboken’s favorite sons Yo La Tengo are slotted into an afternoon spot on the Green Stage on Sunday.
Fans of brass instruments should head to the Cafe de Paris stage for Asakusa Jinta (Saturday) and the Black Bottom Brass Band (Sunday).
A number of special events are also set to unfold. New York duo MGMT is set to release their third album on September 18. On Friday, the album will be played in full with visuals at the Fuji Theatre and simultaneously broadcast in the U.S.
That same day will also see the screening of the film “Flashback Memories 3D,” in which the didgeridoo player of the group Goma & the Jungle Rhythm Section rehabilitates a brain dysfunction. The band will then play on the Red Marquee stage on Sunday.
While on tour in Japan in April, Karl Hyde described traveling through the country — through its mountains, its train lines, its urban areas — as being the “building blocks of rhythm.”
He concluded, “Throw the dice & see what happens next!”
For next weekend in Naeba, there is probably no better approach.
For information on tickets and access, visit the Fuji Rock Festival web site.