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Thursday, June 21, 2007



Soundtrack of the summer: Pet Shop Boys

Soundtrack of the summer

Special to The Japan Times

Neil Tennant's genteel vocals were once the perfect ironic comment on the stylistic assertiveness of commercial pop, but as he's entered middle age and his themes have become more wistful (but only a little less ironic) he's turned into the Noel Coward of English dance pop. Fortunately, he and his silent partner, Chris Lowe, understand how to translate their club music sensibility into a concert that sits comfortably in an arena setting: singalong melodies, full-on arrangements, and good old-fashioned showmanship.

Pet Shop Boys

Also check out: The Dance Stage features Klaxons, LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and an epic battle between two of the best cut-and-paste turntablists of all time, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. Also, don't miss The Long Blondes, a new band who marry the 1960s girl-group sound to '70s new wave, and Modest Mouse, who are touring their best album ever with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr on board.

The setting: This is Japan's most hectic and concrete-bound summer rock festival, which is why you will see few people over 40. It can also be a logistic nightmare, what with 55,000 people per day moving among eight stages in Tokyo (six in Osaka) in a very limited area.

When/where: Aug. 11 and 12; doors open at 9 a.m. and shows begin at 11 a.m. on both days. Chiba Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture; Osaka Maishima. Tickets are 15,000 yen per day and 27,500 yen for both days in Chiba; 13,500 yen per day and 24,500 yen for both days in Osaka. For information in English, see www.summersonic.com/07/english/index.html

Review of Summer Sonic 2006

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Article 7 of 10 in the festival series

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