I've been assuming that Summer Sonic had been snagging many good acts away from Fuji in recent years. But I think I may have thought too soon, as a cursory glance at the two line-ups doesn't give the winnership clearly to either one. And you know what they say about assuming: it makes an ass out of u and ming. And Ming doesn't really deserve it, what with the toiling away 18 hours a day in a dank factory making Lewis Vouleton bags and toddler knives, not to mention that weird 'communist' government of his.
So I figured I better subject my assumption to some critical analysis.
Let's break it down. For marquee rock names, FRF has SS matched with Oasis, Franz Ferdinand, Weezer and The Killers to their Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Nine Inch Nails and Limp Bizkit.
SS also has Beyonce, which I have to admit is pretty cool, even though I'm not a fan personally. She probably will not play the awetacular Tom Petty mash-up version of If I Were A Boy.
But FRF has Public Mother Flipping Enemy , and SS has no artist of matching iconic status. Why, you ask? Because there ARE NO ARTISTS OF MATCHING ICONIC STATUS TO PUBLIC MOTHER FLIPPING ENEMY. Public Enemy played Summer Sonic in 2005.
FRF has Fallout Boy, who I am slightly embarassed to admit I thought were the same band as My Chemical Romance. Which one has the one totally cute member with that hair thing who gets on all the magazine covers?
(I made a similar mistake recently with Ace Ventura and the Cable Guy. I had assumed they were both such crap movies that I never bothered to see them or even give them each a separate and distinct ontology, until a friend told me I had to see Ace Ventura, so like a jackass two months later I go and rent The Cable Guy and wasted what felt like five consecutive Sunday afternoons in a row watching it.)
Fuji: Bad Brains. Sonic: The Specials
Sonic: Elvis Costello. Fuji: Patti Smith
You know who is awesome? Aphex Twin. Summer Sonic.
You know who else is awesome? Basement Jaxx. Fuji Rock Festival.
Sonic scored two FRF perennials this year, Sonic Youth and Mogwai. But it's good to mix things up. Weezer are making their first appearance at Fuji after appearing at SS in 2000, 2002, and 2005. And they did not have The Greatest Man That Ever Lived to play then.
Sonic has Mercury Rev AND The Flaming Lips, like Twin Cities of the 90's alternative universe.
Gogol Bordello, who played Fuji last year, are playing Sonic this year, and they are always an amazing live act.
But then Fuji has Peaches, who is also shockingly out of her head.
And you don't get much more classic, high energy, and unmatchable than Booker T., who has had a Robert Plant and Allison Kraus-worthy resurgence of an album this year. A palace of wonder explosion from this guy would be legendary.
I could go on (Animal Collective, Maximo Park, Royksopp, Fuji. Keane, Kasabian, Sonic.), but the real question here is where in the world did I get the idea that Sonic was getting better acts?
Must be my Minnesota humility and fatalism. Fuji is my fest. I expect to be the underdog. I'm not happy unless I'm not happy.
But I do love my Fuji Rock. It's so communal, so friendly and natural, so refreshing, so invigorating, so, um, in the mountains. After 12 years (entering number 13), there is still really nothing quite like it on earth.