Fuji Rock: who to watch

20 unmissable acts at Fuji Rock Festival ’12

Fuji Rock: who to watch

Photo by 宇宙大使☆スター

Fuji Rock: who to watch
Friday | Saturday | Sunday


Toots and the Maytals

Drenched in the influence of soul and gospel, Frederick Nathaniel 'Toots' Hibbert's was always one of the best voices in reggae – a genre that he and his group helped christen with their 1968 single, 'Do The Reggay'. At the age of 66, his energy hasn't wavered in the slightest: give him ten minutes of your time and you'll realise why this guy was once the biggest music star in Jamaica. Friday: Field of Heaven, 9pm; Saturday: Green Stage, 3.40pm

Watch on YouTube: 54-46 Was My Number (Live)

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

After an impressive showing at Fuji Rock in 2009, Seun Kuti – youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela – has been given a whopping two-hour slot on the main stage this year. Which is good, because Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (featuring many of the musicians from his dad's old band) play the kind of songs that you wish would go on forever… and very nearly do. Green Stage, 1pm

Watch on YouTube: Zombie (Live in Dakar)


If you've yet to hear a mainstream Japanese band who you really liked, give this bunch a try. With their soaring choruses and smart, Macbook-enhanced electro rock, Sakanaction could be seen as descendants of New Order, though compatriots Supercar would be a better point of reference. Whatever: they played a blinder at Taico Club last month, and promise to repeat the trick here. White Stage, 8.25pm

Watch on YouTube: Bach no Senritsu o Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy's no-show was one of the biggest disappointments at last year's Fuji Rock. We're praying that the Chicago bluesman makes it this time around – mostly for his mind-blowing guitar work, but also so we don't have to watch Noel Gallagher. And check the video below: this Guy's got attitude in spades. Orange Court, 9.30pm

Watch on YouTube: Hoochie Coochie Man (Live)


There's a reason Canadian geek heroes Caribou are opening for Radiohead on the group's worldwide arena tour this year. Dan Snaith's troupe straddle the worlds of electronica and live instrumentation with an aplomb that puts most other bands to shame – Thom Yorke and co. included. White Stage, 6.35pm

Watch on YouTube: Sun (Live)

Purity Ring

Frequently compared to 4AD label mate Grimes, Canadian duo Purity Ring seem to have been plucked from the same fugged-out dream (pop) world. Debut album Shrines, released just a few days before Fuji Rock starts, looks set to become the definitive slow jam of the summer. Red Marquee, 1.55pm

Watch on YouTube: Belispeak

Ray Davies & Band

We know what you're thinking: what, another old git? But just look at the extraordinary run of singles that Ray Davies produced with The Kinks between 1964 and 1970. For wall-to-wall hits, this might well rank alongside John Fogerty's barnstorming performance on the same stage in 2010. Saturday: Green Stage, 5.30pm; Sunday: Field of Heaven, 9.30pm

Watch on YouTube: Waterloo Sunset (Live)

Take a chance on...

The D.O.T. (Red Marquee, 6.20pm) We honestly weren't bowled away by what we've heard so far from this collaboration between Mike 'The Streets' Skinner and former Music frontman Rob Harvey, but The D.O.T.'s show might be worth checking out all the same: it's their first proper gig

Lindigo (Friday: Palace of Wonder, 11.45pm; Saturday: Orange Court, noon) You can always trust Fuji Rock to turf up a few bands from utterly obscure corners of the world. Lindigo hail from Réunion, and their percussive, call-and-response workouts are pretty damn infectious

Swiss Lips (Red Marquee, 12.40pm) They formed less than a year ago, yet this Manchester quintet are already garnering significant buzz thanks to their clutch of addictive synth-pop anthems. Early indications are promising – we just hope they go the way of Friendly Fires rather than The Bravery

Fuji Rock: who to watch
Friday | Saturday | Sunday

By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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