Fuji Rock offers a veritable cornucopia of musical delights, but when your taste in music tends towards the darker, screamier end of the spectrum it can seem like a little bit of a wasteland at times. Luckily, this year the line-up on Sunday promises a mix of the weird, wacky and wonderfully chuggy. Whether you like it or not will be another matter altogether, but pull up a camping chair and get comfy at the White Stage with me.
Kick off your Sunday morning with a band bound to shake you out of Saturday’s hangover. London-based Japanese four-piece Bo Ningen (11:40, White Stage) are the kind of band you want to throw all your adjectives at, or maybe a bottle depending on your mood. With a brand of psychedelic, unpredictable rock that has garnered comparisons to Kraftwerk and Fugazi, Bo Ningen are not averse to experimentation (as seen with their collaboration with Savages a few years back), or rubbing you up the wrong way with their shrieking. Sometimes when I listen to them I have to switch them off, but I will watch with an early-morning beer to catch a performance that is bound to be worth getting out of bed for.
See also: Boredoms (Friday, 11:00, Green Stage), Battles (Sunday, 22:20, White Stage)
Following on from Bo Ningen will be Deafheaven (13:10, White Stage), another band who will probably divide opinion. I discovered Deafheaven thanks to a deliberately pretentious (or desperately earnest) drunk guy in a bar trying to impress a captive audience with his knowledge of obscure bands. Luckily, he put something good on. Deafheaven defy attempts to be categorised, partly because they don’t like labels and partly because they don’t tend to stick to just one thing, but if we were going to attempt it, the words black-metal, post-rock, and shoe-gaze all spring to mind. Their 2015 album “New Bermuda” delivers an intense metal experience that gives you goosebumps, all mixed up with softer moments reminiscent of Mogwai. Come bask in the wall of sound and scream along.
See also: Biffy Clyro (Friday, 12:50, Green Stage), Explosions In The Sky (Sunday, 20:00, White Stage)
Continuing the theme of love it or hate it, I’m still on the fence about Babymetal (18:10, White Stage) despite having purchased their music. Again, they’re the kind of band that have proved divisive, but those who love Babymetal are well and truly enamored and ready to praise their metal princesses effusively. Be you a 10-year old girl or a 40-year old man, there’s probably going to be something here that you can get in to, whether it be the kawaii trio on vocals or the backing band who have plenty of opportunity to show off their metal chops. Get ready to throw some horns, dance around and prepare to be impressed.
See also: Man With A Mission (Saturday, 14:00, Green Stage)
In between these bands, but less likely to make/ruin your day, I would recommend checking out Ken Yokoyama (16:40, Green Stage) who’s early band Hi-Standard you may or may not know as the stand-out Japanese hardcore punk band of the 1990s. If you enjoy Saturday’s show from label mates Wanima (Sat., 11:00, Green Stage) you definitely need to catch up with the man who started it all and leap around like a mad thing to his cheery punk, providing a nice palette cleanser to the rest of the White Stage line-up.
Text: Laura Cooper
Photo: Julen Esteban-Pretel