The return of the Palace of Wonder would not be complete without Big Willie’s Burlesque: a quartet of musicians backed up by two lovely dancers, Carolina Cerisola and Alyssa Marquez. The group regularly perform in Hollywood and have been mainstays at Fuji Rock since 2004. We’re thrilled to catch up with the man they call Big Willy (Willie McNeill) and get his impressions on two decades of Fuji rocking!
“It feels fantastic to be back after three years. I wasn’t sure we would be invited back but am ecstatic about it. I’ve been playing Fuji Rock since 2004, so I know I’ve had more appearance than most, but I wanted at least one more!
Big Willie’s Burlesque will be based in the Speigel Tent at the Palace of Wonder, a sort of after hours spot at the festival. “It’s a magical place with all the artwork and fun side show attractions. My good friend Jason Mayall has done an amazing job of bringing interesting acts. The booking at the Speigel Tent is very eclectic but you know you’re always going to see something amazing and something you’ve never seen before. “
McNeill goes on to elaborate some highlights from the area such as: a Mongolian heavy metal band with 10-piece horn section, an African Kora band, a singer being pierced by hooks and pulled to the ceiling while singing ‘You’ve Got Me Under Your Skin’.
And some in the audience are musicians who headlined some of the bigger stages at Fuji Rock earlier in the day.“You may also see some of the headline musicians hanging out in the VIP section just taking in the action!
As for some of McNeill’s special memories over the past two decades he says, “I’d have to say the ‘Melancholy Moth’ was a special memory and the ‘Minuscule of Sound’ the worlds smallest night clubs. Many a late nights at the ‘Posh Tomato’ and of course the DJ’s at the Crystal Palace are really fun and different.”
photos by Big Willie