Though you might be dreading July, with its sweltering heat and seasonal rain, the month makes up for it with a slew of exciting concerts. It’s time to let loose — and pray the venues have air conditioning. Here’s a selection of what July has in store.
The sands of Zushi Beach will play host to a series of concerts organized by Otodama. Otodama Sea Studio will put on shows every day in July (and August), keeping up with a tradition of bringing some of the biggest names in Japan to the coast. Highlights include Daishi Dance on July 7 for its second annual beach party, and indie-pop darlings Moumoon on July 15 for a chiller set (ticket prices and start times vary; 046-870-6040).
Down south, Miyazaki Prefecture’s massive inside resort Seagaia will also see its own beach party. At Jamnight 2013, a two-day event, the focus seems to be on making sure everyone is happy. Major pop acts such as AI, Rip Slyme and HY take the stage July 27. On July 28, things takes a more mellow turn with jazz acts such as the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and the Eri Ohno Group set to perform (ticket prices and start times vary; 0985-31-5131).
If you thought festivals were just for rock bands and pop stars, you’re in for a surprise as even the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra has it’s own Summer Holiday concert tour. With a repertoire including Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Turkish March” and excerpts from Felix Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the performances are a treat for fans of classical music. The Philharmonic will be touring the Greater Tokyo area with performances at Fuchu Theater on July 20 (2 p.m. start; 042-333-9999); Tokyo Metropolitan Theater in Toshima-ku on July 21 (11 a.m., 2 p.m. starts; 03-6914-0019); Suntory Hall in Minato-ku on July 25 and 28 (11 a.m.; 2 p.m. starts; 03-3505-1001); Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama on July 26 (11 a.m., 2 p.m. starts; 045-682-2000); Omiya Sonic City in Saitama on July 27 (11 a.m., 2 p.m. starts; 048-647-4111); and Narashino Bunka Hall in Chiba Prefecture on July 30 (2 p.m. start; 047-479-1212). Prices for each show vary.
This month also brings a veritable battle of the bands to Tokyo, sure to appeal to all those who are looking for a fresh crop of artists that go against the mainstream pop grain. Emergenza, the self-proclaimed “biggest festival for unsigned bands,” is holding the finale for their indie-act contest at Shibuya O-East on July 6 (4:30 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in advance; 03-6427-7757). With 13 bands vying for the grand prize — a spot to compete in the international final in Germany — you’re guaranteed the groups will put on their best performances. And you never know, you might just be witness to rock’s next big thing.
If you’d rather pass up young acts for some time-tested rock classics, you’re also in luck; the Legend of Rock tribute show will be held for the fifth time at Hibiya Open Air Hall in Tokyo on July 15 (1 p.m. start; ¥3,500 in adv.; 0570-084-003). Being the home of cosplay (short for costume play), don’t be surprised if Japan has mastered the art of dressing up and rocking out as your favorite band as well. Set to appear are locals paying tribute to artists such as Led Zeppelin, Jim Henrix, Queen and Metallica.
Judging by the name alone, the antinuclear event at Shibuya AX on July 14, No More F-ckin’ Nukes (3 p.m. start; ¥4,000 in adv.; 03-3444-6751) promises a protest concert in true punk fashion. Time to bring on the mohawks, mosh-pits and rebellion. Acts such as Brahman, Namba69 and Soul Flower Acoustic Partisan are scheduled to perform.
Wrapping up her tour this month is charming pianist/vocalist Emi Meyer. She’ll play Nagasaki Museum’s Entrance Hall on July 1 (8:30 p.m. start; ¥4,000 in adv.; 095-833-2110); Shibuya O-East in Tokyo on July 4 (7:30 p.m. start; ¥5,000 in adv.; 03-3498-2881); Yaizu Cultural Center in Shizuoka on July 6 (6:30 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in adv.; 054-627-3111); and Yamagata Bunshokan’s Gijou Hall om July 10 (6:30 p.m.; ¥3,000 in adv., ¥1,500 for students; 023-635-5500).
For your monthly dose of quality jazz and R&B, Tokyo has you covered. Dionne Warwick will be gracing the capital this month, with two shows at the Blue Note on July 17 and 18 (7:30 p.m. start; ¥21,000 in adv.; 03-5485-0088); followed by German outfit Jazzanova who are making a return on July 25 and 26 after a series of successful shows last year (7 p.m. start; ¥7,500; 03-5485-0088). They also play Nagoya’s Blue Note on July 23. Pianist Sugadairo (July 4-6) and jazz act Tokyo Zawinul Bach (July 25) will play Shinjuku venue Pit Inn.
If you’re in the mood for something French, mark your calendar for July 7. For the third time, Roppongi SuperDeluxe will be holding Gainsbourg Night, a tribute to the iconic Serge Gainsbourg. A diverse number of singers and bands, including chiptune act YMCK, come together to celebrate the crooner’s genre-defying legacy. (4 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in adv.).
Rounding up the month are Björk and Mumford & Sons, with solo shows in the capital, hot on the heels of their respective performances at Fuji Rock Festival. The British folk-rock favorites are set perform a more intimate show at Studio Coast in Tokyo on July 30. (7 p.m. start; ¥6,000 in adv.; 03-3444-6751). However, with band member Ted Dwane still recovering from brain surgery, keep your eye out for a possible last-minute cancelation. Meanwhile the eccentric Icelandic artist will bring her critically acclaimed, high-tech Biophilia Tour to Tokyo on July 31, fittingly enough playing at the future museum Miraikan (8 p.m. start; ¥22,000 in adv.; 03-3444-6751).