Summer Sonic Mostly Avoids Weather

Summer Sonic 2012 was staged simultaneously in Tokyo and Osaka Aug. 18-19 with headliners Green Day and Rihanna, with the Tokyo edition selling out as usual.

The weather was mostly hot and cloudy in Tokyo with a few isolated rain showers over the weekend.

It was a bit dodgier in Osaka, with electrical storms causing the cancellation of Pitbull’s late Saturday-afternoon set on the Ocean Stage.

Lightning, in fact, was responsible for two deaths at another pop concert in Osaka that took place at the same time. About 55,000 people gathered at Nagai Park to see Exile and Every Little Thing, two very popular J-pop acts. The show was to start at 3:30 p.m. and the two victims were struck down at about 2:20 p.m.

Eight other people were injured. The operator of a bicycle parking lot located near the park told the Yomiuri newspaper the lightning bolt hit a tree where most of the victims were standing. The two who died had tickets to the show.

It started raining and a second bolt hit a tent covering a waste site in the park. Eventually the concert went ahead after being delayed for an hour.

Jamiroquai also canceled his Summer Sonic Osaka appearance on Saturday. A message on the festival website said the cancellation was prompted by a chest infection that lead singer Jay Kay had been suffering from for a week.

However, the group performed the next day in Tokyo, though the set was slightly shorter. Another last-minute cancellation was Pennywise, which was to play two sets in Tokyo – one during the Midnight Sonic event and the other closing out the Beach Stage lineup Sunday evening.

According to a message posted by the band, singer Zoli Teglas had been told by “multiple specialists” that he hadn’t recovered sufficiently to perform, though the message did not specify the condition.

Among the other artists playing the festival were New Order, Sigur Ros, Garbage, Azealia Banks, Tears for Fears, Foster the People, Adam Lambert, Franz Ferdinand, Ke$ha, Death Cab For Cutie, Passion Pit, and Nelly Furtado.
For the second year in a row the Tokyo venue featured a stage for Asian indie bands.

While Green Day and Rihanna attracted the biggest crowds, a handful of Japanese female idol acts proved to be the most popular draws otherwise.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a fashion model/blogger who turned pop singer only a year ago, filled the Sonic Stage hall on Saturday, while the “veteran” electropop idol trio Perfume drew a capacity crowd to the main Marine Stage in the QVC Marine Field baseball stadium.

Perhaps the most surprising news was the headlining show on the Rainbow Stage by Momoiro Clover Z, a group of very young girls dressed as superheroes who also play a raucous brand of J-pop.

The hall was so full that security had to turn hundreds of fans away.

Obviously, J-pop is going to be a permanent future fixture at Summer Sonic, which started out mainly as a showcase for foreign hard rock artists.