Camp in Asagiri Jam
|Joe Strummer and The
Joe Strummer, eat your words. Having told Metropolis last
year that your 2001 tour would likely be your final visit
to Japan, here you are again.
Happily for fans of the former Clash frontman, Strummer's
gloomy prediction that the expense of touring would mean that
"pretty soon Japan will be out of our reach,"
one year later here he is with a solo gig and a headlining
spot at Smash's Fuji Rock fest in miniature, Camp in
Strummer, who was reportedly seen heading up an impromptu
post-party jam session at Fuji Rock, will be delivering an
encore of last year's show at Akasaka Blitz, which
saw the energetic father of three leading his band The Mescaleros
through a selection of originals from last year's Global
A Go-Go as well as Clash evergreens and some rock steady classics.
In addition to Strummer and his Mescaleros, Camp in Asagiri
Jam, now in its second year, will see a diverse lineup gather
at the wide-open venue near Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Smash's Johnnie Fingers says the festival was created
"in the spirit of '67 and the early rock festivals:
Isle of White, Glastonbury when it was a local village festival
funky, vibey, but well organized."
The other "guests from abroad" come in the
form of Chicago post-rock outfit Tortoise and techno enfant
terrible and all-around provocateur Richard James, aka Aphex
Twin. James last came to Japan as part of last fall's
Electraglide rave at Makuhari Messe, where he discharged a
characteristically uncompromising set of punishing breakbeats
and tracks from his latest offering, Windowlicker.
Domestic talent is represented by a number of acts ranging
from veteran to emerging, noise to classic rock. The Boredoms,
for instance have been purveying their uniquely Japanese take
on noise rock for over a decade now, and appear in their 7V07
incarnation, while leader Eye will also proffer one of his
unusual noise-trance DJ sets. Guitarist for the Boredoms,
Seiichi Yamamoto, meanwhile, will be appearing with his own
trance rock outfit, Rovo, formed with members of Dub Squad
and virtuoso electric violinist Katsui Yuji.
Also on the bill are Pe'z, one of Japan's leading
jam bands. The quintet's free-jazz-influenced improvisations
can be heard on their brand new release and first full-length
album, Kugatsu no Sora (September Sky) on independent label
World Apart, distributed by Toshiba EMI.
Filling out the lineup are free jazz collective Shibusa Shirazu
Orchestra and Soul Flower Union, the roots rock outfit lead
by charismatic singer Takashi Nakagawa, whose influences run
from rock to soul, psychedelia, Okinawan, and even traditional
Japanese chindon itinerant musicians' marching music.
Their new album released in August, Love ± Zero (BM
Tunes), coincidentally includes a cover of Joe Strummer's
classic anti-war song, "Charlie Don't Surf."
Camp in Asagiri Jam takes place at
Asagiri Arena on September 28-29. Joe Strummer plays Liquid
Room on October 1. See listings for details.