Students are heading back to school, the fireworks displays are pretty much done and the gyaru (gals) are a lot more tanned. It’s too early to declare an end to summer yet, though. There are still plenty of music festivals and concerts in September to satisfy those who don’t want to head back indoors just yet.
Starting off the month, Tokyo-based indie label Preco Records will present Preco Night Vol 1. at Shindaita Fever in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, on Sept. 1 (6 p.m. start; ¥2,000 in advance; 03-6305-7899). The lineup includes a number of up-and-coming Japanese acts that are worth checking out. On the roster are Smoug, Fusigi, Miaou and Flau Records owner Aus. The latter will bring along his label’s musicians Cokiyu and Cuushe, to perform a rare DJ set.
For more Japanese indie, try heading to “Terminal”, a party presented by four-piece act Nile Long (made up of former members of The Brixton Academy) at Clubasia in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Sept. 21 (6 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in advance; 03-5458-2551). Dream-pop darling Canopies and Drapes and electro-tinged alternative group Give Me Wallets are already on the bill — those looking for Japanese groups with Western sensibilities shouldn’t be disappointed.
Kyoto Ongaku Hakurankai, a festival curated by popular indie act Quruli, has been a favorite of folk-rock fans since it began in 2007. This year’s edition will take place on Sept. 22 in Kyoto’s Umekoji Park (12 noon; ¥8,888). A wide variety of artists are set to appear such as Tamio Okuda, Rip Slyme, Maia Hirasawa and, of course, Quruli. The most anticipated act, though, might be Irish folk-rock outfit Villagers. The five-piece are known for their melancholic and dynamic arrangements and will definitely sound great outdoors.
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum — and perhaps the country — Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa Prefecture will host the annual electronic-music festival Wire on Sept. 14 (6 p.m. start; ¥11,500 in advance). This year, the event celebrates its 15th anniversary, and helping make the party special will be Takkyu Ishino, Matias Aguayo, Ken Ishii and disco pioneer Giorgio Moroder, who will make a special appearance.
Festivals are not only for rock and dance music. Get a full helping of jazz at Tokyo Jazz Festival from Sept. 6-8. More than 40 acts are set to perform at different stages. Main stage “the Hall” is at Tokyo International Forum (for all three days, 1 p.m., 6 p.m. starts; ¥6,500-¥9,500, for a one-day pass, ¥18,000 in advance). Some of the highlights are sure to include Tony Bennett (who’s in town promoting a new collection of hits titled “Tony Bennett: The Classics”), Buena Vista Social Club, Chick Corea & the Vigil and the Ai Kuwabara Trio Project.
If you want to consign this year’s batch of festivals to history, Toronto-based electronic-pop musician Shaw-Han Liem, aka I Am Robot and Proud, will visit Japan with a live band in support of his first album in five years, “Touch/Tone.” The tour will extend (as a solo outing) into October and kicks off at Nagoya K.D. Japon on Sept. 21 (7 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in advance; 052-251-0324); Conpass in Osaka on Sept. 23 (6:30 p.m. start; ¥3,300 in advance; 06-6243-1666); Metro in Kyoto on Sept. 24 (7 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in advance; 075-752-4765); Shibuya O-Nest in Tokyo on Sept. 26 (7 p.m. start; ¥3,500 in advance; 03-3462-4420); and an interesting solo set at Shofukuji Temple in Niigata on Sept. 28 (6:30 p.m. start; ¥3,000 at the door but there are a lot of discounts available). There will be a final show in Kanazawa before Liem heads on to Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Beppu, Kobe, Matsumoto and Machida for October.
Another must-see electronic gig will be Disclosure and AlunaGeorge at Ebisu Liquidroom in Tokyo on Sept. 24 (7 p.m. start; ¥5,000 in advance; 03-5464-0800.) Disclosure is made up of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence. Their debut album, “Settle” has been widely acclaimed by critics and fans, resulting in a No. 1 position on the U.K. charts. AlunaGeorge are another critic favorite from England. The act was one of those national broadcaster BBC pegged as being the “sound of 2013.” For fans of U.K. bass and electronic music, seeing them live together should be fantastic.
Finally, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons are coming to Japan for the first time in their near 50-year-long career. They’ll be at Hibiya Kokaido in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, on Sept. 13 (7.p.m. start; ¥9,800-¥8,800 in advance; 03-3591-6388). The group has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is known for such 1960s hits as “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”.
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