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Santogold at Summer Sonic

by Philip Brasor

Santogold has quickly eclipsed Vampire Weekend as the year’s certified hippest new indie-rock act, and for good reason. Santi White’s weird and wonderful vocal style — a sly mix of girl-group theatrics and new-wave experimentalism — complements her high-energy, ska-derived beats in such a natural way that her music sounds as if it’s been around forever. She’s among a slew of acts who will make their first appearances in Japan at this year’s Summer Sonic, and that includes Vampire Weekend.

Also check out: Alicia Keys, the only straightforward R&B act among a lineup that favors punk and electro; America’s most thrilling conventional hard-rock band, Against Me!; the return of The Jesus and Mary Chain and their delicious cotton-candy haze; reigning strum-rockers of the moment, Band of Horses; and, simply because they’re the headliners, Coldplay and The Verve, who are bound to be huger-sounding than you’d expect. After all, they’ll be playing in a baseball stadium.

The setting: Because of the concrete and the Draconian crowd control, SS can seem inhumane, but with seven stages (six in Osaka) in a setting that’s easy to navigate, it does provide value for your hard-earned yen, and the food court is pretty impressive in terms of variety. Then there’s Chiba’s Beach Stage, from which, weather permitting, you can enjoy a spectacular sunset.

When/where: Aug. 9-10. Doors open 9 a.m., shows begin 11 a.m. Chiba Marine Stadium and Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, and Maishima in Osaka. Tickets ¥15,500 per day, ¥28,500 for both days in Chiba; ¥14,500 per day, ¥26,000 for both days in Osaka. Information in English on Summer Sonic.