July 2017 Big Willies Burlesque
"Longtime Fuji Rock performer, Big Willie must have the record for most performances at Fuji Rock over the years. During this mid-afternoon set at the Cafe de Paris, Willie claimed it was his 50th set playing at Fuji Rock. While that may sound wild for a festival that is only 20 years old, the man clearly works hard and has demand, this year alone he was playing 3 sets at the fest...
Willie sings and interacts with the ladies in a shocked and aroused manner that he has down to an art. The performance harks back to classic Americana entertainment, so it’s not a surprise Willie has a long time residency in L.A. There’s a fun, erotic, curious, almost forbidden allure to watching a big Willie set whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth. While his routine is familiar to me at this point, like watching a classic film or play, it doesn’t get old."
Text by James
On Tuesday July 25th we arrived into Tokyo Japan slightly delirious from the 10+ hour flight from LAX, but after a quick refresh at the hotel we were ready to hit the town!
Let me introduce you to the crew... Lead by Willie McNeil aka Big Willie (Drums), the band also includes top notch musicians Mike Uhler (Bass), Jay Work (Sax), James Achor (Guitar), and Mike Boito (Keys). My partners in crime were Burlesque icons Carolina Cerisola and Dakota Ferreiro. New addition to the team was amazing Elvis Impersonator, Irby Gascon.
After a couple rehearsal and Sake soaked days in Tokyo, we made our journey to the Festival in beautiful Naeba, Japan. Our first performance opened up the intimate Cafe de Paris stage (pictured above) shortly after noon. Seems a little early for a Burlesque show? Not for Fuji Rockers. The crowd welcomed us to the stage with an passionate enthusiasm that I would soon realize pulses throughout all 13 stages and 100,000 people within this massive festival.
Day Two of the Festival we were back on the Cafe De Paris stage with a completely different line up and show. I performed my Cannabis Act to Willie's original cover of Sublime's Smoke Two Joints. Although Cannabis is legal only for cultivation in Japan and only license holders are able to grow and posses cannabis, Ganja love almost always seems universal. And I may or may not of had the opportunity to try Hashish i.e. Cannabis Resin, apparently Japan's preferred method of Cannabis Consumption.
Later that night on Day Two after a short disco nap, we hit the gorgeous Crystal Palace stage at 3am. Sleep is something that is not a top priority while at the Fuji Rock Festival. The Crystal Palace (pictured above) located within the Palace of Wonder and has live performances all night long till the sun comes up. The energy in The Crystal Palace, which looks like a cross between a log cabin and vintage circus tent, was nothing short of magical.
Finally the Photos below capture the team Post 3 am show... watching the sun come up, eating questionable bowls of local food at the festival food court, and truly enjoing everything Fuji Rock Festival had to offer. Thank you again Willie McNeil for the opportunity and thank you to the awesome team that made my first voyage to Fuji Rock Festival a memory for a lifetime.
-xoxo Miss Marquez