The Rookie Stage is always a mixed bag of acts veering between wishy-washy bedroom pop, punk guitar-throwing, schedule-be-damned antics or energetic kawaii-pop. For those who play, the Rookie stage has sometimes opened up doors to wider success, and it’s this potential promise that keeps bands applying year on year for the chance to appear at the following year’s festival on a main stage.
Here’s a brief selection of bands worth checking out, if only because they break the mold of floppy-haired boys playing guitar to their shoes.
ANYO – Saturday 28th July, 25:00
The band’s website is about as mysteriously sparse as their sound with a short paragraph that gives a pretty good summing up of what this band sound like: cool and restrained rock emphasizing soundscapes and atmosphere. This is moody stuff and should go down a treat at 1am.
The Rodeos – Saturday 28th July, 27:00
3am is pushing it for some, but for those willing to stay up, this Tokyo-based six-piece will be sure to keep everyone awake. Describing themselves as a “combat-level music band”, The Rodeos take inspiration from folk, punk and ska resulting in what promises to be some infectiously jump-able tunes. Fans of main line-up acts Fishbone, Oledickfoggy and Brahman will want to check these guys out.
Not Wonk – Sunday 29th July, 24:00
A three-piece hailing from Hokkaido, this unassuming band but might be most likely surprise with energetic punk ditties mixed in with more chilled out numbers that always go down well with a Fuji Rock audience.
Tokyo Shiokouji – Friday July 27th, 27:00
With 15 members it might seem peculiar that Tokyo Shiokouji label themselves minimalists yet this outfit do just that – perky, clean and original performances that harken to a jazzier Philip Glass or Michael Nyman. Who knows what a 3am crowd will make of them, but they promise to be a notable and unique act.