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Thursday, June 21, 2007
FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL
Soundtrack of the summer: Muse
With festival season more congested than ever, The Japan Times writers highlight the must-see acts set to storm a stage near you
By SIMON BARTZ
Muse are regularly regaled as one of the best live acts in Britain. They put on flabbergasting shows — including fireworks with more explosive power than a battery of North Korean ballistic missiles, space-pod drum risers straight out of "Star Wars," stuff like that — and all of the theatrics are married to a series of gargantuan, overblown rock songs with titles like "Knights of Cydonia." Almost certainly on a high after headlining the Isle of Wight Festival and playing two gigantic soldout shows at Wembley Stadium last weekend, Muse are likely to arrive at Fuji Rock with all lasers blasting, though don't expect them to cart their full arsenal of stage effects to the distant mountains of Naeba.
Also check out: On a purely music level, I prefer the bands that sandwich Muse on the Green Stage on Friday: The Cure, who last played in Japan when saber-toothed tigers were chasing mammoths around Niigata, and Kings of Leon, the Southern country bumpkins whose gnarly rock suits the camp-fire party atmosphere perfectly. Also check Iggy Pop and his Stooges gagging for a few more paychecks, the frenzied dance explosion of !!!, the common person Jarvis Cocker, fest faves Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, newbies Battles and Japanese rock veterans Friction.
The setting: A myriad of stages hidden in expansive woodland in a lush valley. It can be muddy, it can be sunny and sweltering hot, but expect a perfect festival vibe and 24-hour party people.
When/where: July 27 to 29; Naeba ski resort in Niigata Prefecture. Take the shinkansen to JR Echigo Station (then a free shuttle bus to festival site). Three-day tickets 39,800 yen; one-day tickets 16,800 yen. Camping 2,500 yen. www.smash-uk.com/frf07/