20 Artists You Need to See at Fuji Rock Fest ’15

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With the massive line-up Fuji Rock Festival brings every year, the only problem music lovers can face is who to see with the almost 200 bands that are performing in 3 days. Of course, it’s a given that the headliners, MUSE, Foo Fighters and Noel Gallagher, are a must see. During the day, you may want to catch these artists once their performance schedule is announced.

Andy Bell | Photo by Nina Sandejas

1. RIDE – One of the bands who emerged in the 90s shoegazing scene in the UK. Their debut album Nowhere was named as one of the greatest albums in the shoegazing genre.  Sadly they broke up in 1996 to pursue other projects. Guitarist Andy Bell moved on to be Oasis’ and Beady Eye’s guitar player. Now almost 19 years after their breakup,  they’re performing on the same day as Noel Gallagher. Interesting festival plot.

2. Deadmau5 – This progressive-house music producer and DJ wears his iconic mouse headgear which he had a long spat with Disney executives in the past for being similar to the Mickey Mouse logo. This persona created by DJ Joel Thomas Zimmerman  produces visual effects, making his sets an entertaining experience.

3. Motorhead – Founded by Frasier “Lemmy” Kilmister. Power-trio Motorhead is one of the first bands to emerge during the new wave of British heavy metal. Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl collaborated with Lemmy for his metal project Probot and described the fronmant as a “King of Rock ‘n’ roll” aside Elvis and Keith Richards. For that reason alone, Motorhead is a must see.

4. Johnny Marr – Known as the co-songwriter of Morrissey with The Smiths is more than enough reason to see such an important icon.

5. Belle and Sebastian – Music described as “wistful pop” despite limited commercial success, the band’s music is consistently lauded by critics.

Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Niña Sandejas
Of Monsters and Men | Photo by Niña Sandejas

6. Of Monsters and Men – Watching Monsters and Men is surprisingly fun and entertaining, with all five members stepping up to take their part center stage. Can’t believe this indie-folk band has gotten as far as they have, given that they simply won a band competition in Iceland in 2010.

7. FKA Twigs – TIME Magazine has described her as one of the most compelling and complex acts in R&B.  A former back-up dancer for Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue and Jessie J, the singer got her name because of how her joints crack when dancing. She couldn’t use Twigs due to a complaint of another artist named The Twigs. So FKA stands for “Formerly Known As”.

8. Hiromi Uehara The Trio Project – Hiromi is a Jazz composer and pianist from Japan. Her virtuoso performances have gathered the attention of international jazz legends. Her latest collaboration with Anthony Jackson and Simon Philipps with showcase nothing short of the best performance in Jazz, knowing that this Japanese girl has been playing since the age of 5.

Toe at Fuji Rock 2012 | Photo by Niña Sandejas
Toe at Fuji Rock 2012 | Photo by Niña Sandejas

9. Toe – Instrumental Japanese post-rock band that is lauded in the math rock circles worldwide. Compared to other intrumental, experimental rock, their style in a cleaner approach, creating their own unique style.

Boom Boom Satellites

10. Boom Boom Satellites – This electronic dance rock band from Japan is reminiscent of MUSE. Grandiose compositions worthy of stadium performances.

11. Sheena Ringo – Her music caused a songstress boom in the late 90s and many of the solo singers can allude to her as an influence. She’s known for her singing style of rolling her “r”s and coming out with visually striking music videos.

12. Ryan Adams – Known for his alternative country music and strict performance rules. It would be a treat to see if short-tempered Adams will adore the Fuji Rock crowd or leave us hanging.

13. Aqualung – Must see if only to hear their only hit song “Brighter Than Sunshine” the rest of the artists tracks aren’t so bad, we just didn’t get the chance to hear them as often as the hit single.

14. Chthonic – This metal band from Taiwan recently played at the PULP Summer Slam. It would be a treat to see their acoustic performance this July.

15. Galactic Featuring Macy Grey – Galactic is a jam band that performs various genres from jazz, hip-hop, electronic music and world music, they usually feature guest singers and Macy Grey is their highest profile guest yet.

Owl City in Manila | Photo by Niña Sandejas
Owl City in Manila | Photo by Niña Sandejas

16. Owl City –  Known for his hit singles “Fireflies”, Owl City is an Electronica Project by Adam Young. He’s one of the few artists you can say who have gained following through Myspace. Owl City has written music for several animated feature films such as Legend of The Guardians, Smurfs 2, The Croods and Wreck-It-Ralph.

17. Rudimental – This British drum and bass band is more connected to Filipinos than we know. One of the country’s recent discoveries was a teenage dancer called B-Boy Allen. Before he reached mainstream acknowledgement, he was a star in the music video Not Giving In shot in Manila.

18. Happy Mondays – British Alternative Rock band formed in the 80s, they were praised by Paul McCartney in 1990 when he said that they remind him of The Beatles during their “Strawberry Fields” phase.

The Vaccines | Photo by Niña Sandejas
The Vaccines | Photo by Niña Sandejas

19. The Vaccines – Rose to fame by a song called Post-Break Up Sex, only because it couldn’t have been written more succinctly as problematic relationships go. Their writing style is totally honest and relatable and amusing you’ll find yourself singing along.

20. One OK Rock – This Japanese Stadium Rock band has performed in large venues all over the world, churning out rock anthems certain to pump up a festival crowd.


Fuji Rock Festival will be held at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata, Japan on July 24-26, 2015! Click here for the full Fuji Rock Festival Line-up. Follow Fuji Rock Festival’s Facebook for updates.