Every year, Fuji Rock hosts at least one of those crazy Latin bands that play high-energy music makes you dance so hard your legs ache for the rest of the weekend. Their presence is almost always due to the work of Shogo Komiyama, head of the Japonicus, a music promoter who for nearly two decades has been bringing “mestizo” artists –– musicians mixing Latin, Caribbean and international influences –– from the Iberian peninsula, southern Europe and the Americas to Japan. This year, Shogo’s arranging much of the Friday night line-up at the Crystal Palace Tent, will host the Basque Country rockers Esne Beltza on the White Stage, and has set up a bunch of great vinyl DJs for the Blue Galaxy Tent on Saturday night.
Shogo’s also organizing the only Fuji Rock pre-party, his own Radical Music Network party on Wednesday, July 25 at Club Asia in Shibuya. It goes from 6:30pm to midnight and will feature members of Fishbone as part of an all-star mestizo lineup. (Quick note: anyone with a non-Japanese passport gets a JPY 500 discount on the door admission price. So if you’re getting to Tokyo early, check it out!)
To get the inside scoop on all the mestizo music action on and around Fuji Rock weekend, we caught up with Shogo for a quick preview of the Latin, ska and other music coming to Fuji Rock this year.
- June 29, 2018 ● Bands
While ‘kawaii’ may remain one of the most recognizable Japanese phrases and cultural cliches inside and outside the country, as an aesthetic concept it doesn’t provide musicians much artistic freedom. Then Nagoya’s CHAI comes in and flips the script.
- June 15, 2018 ● Bands
With just a little over a month to go before the party gets going in Naeba, the latest artist announcement for Fuji Rock Festival 2018 has arrived.
Few artists confound audiences like Bob Dylan. In fact, a whole academic field, Dylanology, has sprung up to make sense of his exhaustive body of work. Dylan may be deserving of such attention after recently winning a Nobel Prize and his role in popular culture, for example, playing his anti-war hymn “Blowing in the Wind” minutes before Martin Luther King gave his famed “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington DC. Dylan gave a voice and a melody to the counter-culture. His artistic influences came from the free-wheeling Beat Generation, at one point inviting Alan Ginsburg on tour with him.
Fujirockers recently spoke to Mr. Toshiyuki “Heckel” Sugano who was an A&R man for CBS/Sony and producer of the album Bob Dylan at Budokan, and Humbert Humbert vocalist, Ryosei Sato. The two are devoted fans and the closest thing to Dylanologists that we could find.
No, I’m not talking about some Jake and Elwood cover band from Australia, I’m referring to Josh and Sam Teskey, who along with two of their best mates make up The Teskey Brothers band. They’re a hard working, authentic sounding soul/blues band hailing from just outside of Melbourne, Australia. Their music honors the classic Stax and Motown sound, while staying fresh and original. READ MORE
Generally punk and one-man band are not concepts that fit together neatly in a person’s mind. Also, one would assume that the real draw of a one-man band would be the skill of the performance, not the crowd-work and attitude around the edges. Especially when the performance involves playing violin and piano at the same time. But Tokyo’s EPPAI takes the anarchy and musical/comedic sensibilities of the Marx brothers and repackages it for the 21st century in the form of a punk one-man band performance artist.
- May 15, 2018 ● Bands
WHAAAAT… Number 1 album debut on Billboard 200, three top ten tracks at the same minute, 400 million streams in a week, and oh snap, mega-hit “Psycho”, which is THE jam of the summer. Don’t believe me, check it here rocking Coachella and I bet you it’s blasting out of every Prius and Maybach cruising down the 405. Need another jam to add to the playlist? What bout this one: “Rockstar”.
- May 11, 2018 ● Bands
One of the big reasons that artists hit the summer festival circuit is to promote fresh new material they’ve just released.
With Fuji Rock 2018 only a few months away, we have proof of some new albums coming out between then and now, with a few others that fans expect to be released before the date of the festival comes rolling around.
- May 6, 2018 ● Bands
Many people flock to Naeba every July because of the chance to see biggie-sized international acts take the stage at the Fuji Rock Festival, and the 2018 installment promises to deliver on that front. Yet it’s also a great chance to catch young domestic artists get a first crack at big-stage fair, and a great performance at Fuji Rock can win over new fans and potentially push themselves up a few rungs as a result. Plenty more names are sure to be announced in the months leading up to the gathering, but here are some early highlights from the pool of up-and-coming Japanese acts making the trip out to Niigata this summer.
- March 23, 2018 ● Bands
If last week’s news of Nobel Prize-winning cultural icon Bob Dylan playing Fuji Rock surprised you, you weren’t the only ones. Making his 101st appearance in Japan 40 years after his first, his announcement preceded today’s further additions to the 2018 line-up.