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By Michael Lara
“Here we come! This is our destiny calling, the freaks! This is our destiny calling, unique! This is our destiny calling now!” And while Manchester legends JAMES have never played either storied fests in Japan yet, this song is the one which perhaps best encapsulates the run up to both summer festivals here in the heightened anticipation as both promoters have revealed their lineups for all to salivate and plan accordingly, whether from here or abroad.
With both FUJI ROCK and SUMMER SONIC unloading salvos of salvation repeatedly in their respective lineup additions for those in Japan as well as those coming to this land to find their purgatory of sorts. Their forthcoming pilgrimages are handsomely shaping up to satisfy the most demanding and diverse appetites.
The hardest choice for most of course is which to embellish if striking both camps is a stretch. Does one stay urban in either Tokyo or Osaka or does one let go and opt for a communal collaboration in the mountains of Niigata? Difficult choices to make surely, but in either direction you’ll certainly find your own yellow brick road so to speak.
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Images courtesy of Smash
FUJI ROCK strikes first and with MUSE, Josh Homme’s triumvirate of Them Crooked Vultures and John Fogerty to give further gumption to their ongoing sumptuous brew. Continuing in full, this side delivers the forever dance funk of !!!, the scandalously smooth treasures of ROXY MUSIC, the strengthening determination of FLOGGING MOLLY, the sprawling atmospheric conglomeration of ATOMS FOR PEACE that leads into MASSIVE ATTACK’s monumental interstellar overdrive. Amongst other treats such as Tokyo’s tight, yet loose instrumental quartet toe and MGMT, all can rest assured benefiting from either a seizing pummeling in rock or receiving ample headspace to reflect upon you insignificance on this planet of ours. Whether through sunshine or torrential rain, which are equally naturally to be found high in the mountains of Niigata, one’s unique, yet shared purgatory is to be reached.
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Images courtesy of Creativeman
Meanwhile, the cityscape side unfurls in full bloom at Tokyo’s and Osaka’s SUMMER SONIC, bringing about to life the immeasurably generational combat rock and soul voyages of STEVIE WONDER, urban social commentator JAY Z, Boston’s permeating PIXIES with smooth revelations coming from A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, RICHARD ASHCROFT and JONSI of SIGUR ROS. The jangling earnest exploits of both BAND OF HORSES and PAVEMENT further this fuel that PASSION PIT set to provide in full through their emphatic dance relief to the soon to be sun-drenched, humid humanity to be found in both Osaka and Tokyo.
The need for speed in gearing up for both adventures is now here and fortunately robustly supported by both SMASH’s and CREATIVEMAN’s collaborative partners, whether providing in transport, sustenance or gear.
Regardless which you choose to attend or both (hopefully), it’s best to budget a minimum of 5,000 Japanese yen per day for both food and drink, with 7,000 being more advisable if you’re up to go full-time, especially regarding FUJI ROCK. Additionally, dressing in layers are a must, something very critically to do with the unpredictable elements at FUJI ROCK where temperature differentials can be extreme.
Not to worry, it can all still be done economically with the use of Japan’s famed 100yen shops sprinkled about this land. These treasure troves duly and fully provide all essential to pick up, whether in dry stores as well as cheap, yet effective ponchos for all inclement weather that seemingly all materialize.
Nothing dry about either of these boundless savory drenching adventures destined to give you a new rejuvenating mindscape on life itself post your World Cup 2010 blues.