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Friday, 01 March 2019 00:00

Download Festival Japan - March 21, 2019

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Download Festival Japan - March 21, 2019


By Ryan Dyer

With festival season being months away, you may be chomping at the bit to have a full days’ experience seeing top-tier metal acts. Well, March is full of activity as well, with Britain’s long running Download Festival making its first appearance in the land of the rising sun, Tokyo Japan, on March 21. The festival joins Australia’s double Download Festival in Sydney and Melbourne, also in March, with many of the acts playing all three festivals.

Taking place at the Makuhari Messe Stadium in the Chiba prefecture, the full day festival, presented by Live Nation and Creativeman Productions, will showcase 10 major rock and metal acts. This marks the first major metal festival in Japan in over a year as Loud Park, Japan’s long running two-day festival, was put on hold during 2018.


Judas Priest

The immortal rock gods Judas Priest make their second return to Japan in a year. Still in support of their latest album, Firepower, the 40-year veteran band have something of a spiritual connection with Japanese audiences since they first toured and released their classic Unleashed in the East live album and are sure to deliver another legendary performance to be talked about for years to come.


Slayer take their final world tour to Japan, meaning this is the final time the thrash legends will unleash hell in Tokyo. Recently playing Loud Park, before their retirement announcement, the experience this time is set to be cathartic and possibly emotional, as fans are sure to throw all of their memories of the band into one last circle pit during their undisputed classics “Angel of Death”, “Hell Awaits” or “War Ensemble”. It could very well be raining tears instead of blood.

Sum 41

Canada’s anthemic punk/pop group Sum 41 are also no stranger to playing Japan, with Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley recently reminisced about doing mushrooms while the drug was legal back when the band first started while touring the country. About the Download festival, he states, “It’s going to be a great place, in Japan, for Download. The level of enthusiasm from the Japanese fans is the craziest out of anywhere in the world; everyone is enjoying themselves together.”


Satanic phenoms Ghost make their return to Japan. The band, in support of their fourth album Prequelle, bring their flair for theatrics to the big stage at Download, and will show just why they are on a meteoric rise to the top of the rock world. In just a few years, it could very well be Ghost who are headlining the festival.


Bay Area thrash veterans Anthrax are no strangers to Japan, with guitarist Scott Ian being a self proclaimed Japanamaniac and the band playing the country numerous times since the ‘80s. He weighs in on the festival, “When you see the brand - Download, you know it’s going to be huge, it’s going to be great. There are some festivals, where people know the name, and know it’s a rock festival. Even if it was just us, Slayer and Ozzy, it would be earth shattering.”

Arch Enemy

Tried and true melodic-death road warriors Arch Enemy will once again tear it up on a Japanese stage. On momentum from their recently released Covered in Blood covers album, Canadian growler Alissa White-Gluz and her Swedish cohorts have a devastating track record of hair raising performances and are sure to put on a clinic of brutality at Download.


The Grammy winning rock act Halestorm, in support of their latest album Vicious and fronted by Lizzy Hale, are known to play over 250 shows a year. This stop at Download Japan will further strengthen the band’s reputation as a live rock and roll machine and have Japanese fans hailing the storm.

Man with a Mission

“Who are those guys in wolf masks?” many inquisitive fans may ask when looking at the lineup photos for Download Japan. Surely, Little Red Riding Hood would be no match for this foursome. The Japanese rock/dance band has provided soundtracks for various anime, movies and games and is setting the already illuminated Shibuya on fire - soon, the world will join it.


Swedish metal act Amaranthe is difficult to classify, as the band shares three vocalists, each with a distinct style of singing. From death to power metal to even pop style choruses within songs, you are bound to get a buffet out of Amaranthe, and out of the 10 act lineup, this band could probably give you a sample of each subsequent band on the bill.

Like a Storm

New Zealand rockers Like a Storm will take the opening slot at Download Japan, meaning concert goers who arrive when the gates open will be treated to an early morning didgeridoo wake up call accompanied by monster riffage. The highest charting New Zealander band in American Rock history has toured with the likes of Korn and Alter Bridge, and will chalk up Download Japan as another show for their legacy.

The final lineup was not without its changes, as the aforementioned Ozzy Osbourne had to drop out of all festival appearances in the next few months including Download Japan due to medical advice from his doctor after getting pneumonia. However, in the case of Download Japan, the news of Ozzy’s cancellation was announced days before the festival unveiled its final two bands in the lineup, Judas Priest and Ghost, which eased the blow.

So during Spring Break, hop on a plane and experience Download in Japan.

More information can be found at www.downloadfestivaljapan.com/en

Monday, 28 January 2019 14:26

Picks of the 2019 Victoria Film Festival for the Rebel

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The Victoria Film Festival (Feb 1 to 10, 2019) is celebrating 25 years! Independent cinema can be fickle, and this year's selection of shows is all about being forever young.

This year's opening gala film, Sink or Swim (Le Grain Bain) on Feb 1st kicks off the ten-day long event. This French comedy is about how a group of 40 somethings deal with life. They are having mid-life crises and hope to beat that down by becoming a synchronized swimming team. While this film is not necessarily a play on White Men Can't Jump, the Olympic theme is notable.

Installation art works include a continuing look into virtual reality at The Atrium (800 Yates Street) and experiments with other ocular equipment to provide visual treats. These filmmakers are taking cinema to a different level by taking a DIY approach which does not conform to the mainstream. Cinema art is being taken to a new level.

Topping the list of films to see, are:

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet
Sat | Feb 2 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3

Adapted from Joanne Proulx’s eponymous award-winning novel, director Robin Hayes delves into the 1990s with a spot-on soundtrack, Nirvana-inspired hairstyles and tongue-in-cheek jabs at small-town malaise. Between the burden of his prophecies and an attraction to his deceased friend’s girlfriend, Luke is doing his best to navigate the complexities of adolescence, which is hard enough without psychic abilities. Featuring Juliette Lewis (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Basketball Diaries) as Luke’s yoga-practising mother who’s always in her son’s corner, Hayes’ debut coming-of-age tale is a stylish and authentic exploration of the youthful struggle to find your place in the world.

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