The band's first live dates of 2003 draw closer...

THE STROKES have arrived in Japan in preparation for their comeback gigs at the SUMMER SONIC festival this weekend (Aug 2/3).

The group flew out from New York where they were putting the final touches to their new album, the follow-up to ’Is This It’. While in Japan the group will play at the two-day festival in Tokyo and Osaka, on a bill that includes Kings Of Leon, Radiohead and Starsailor.

“Fab loves Japan and all things Japanese while Nick is learning the language quickly,” their tour manager said. “Nick has been shopping twice already but I don’t know yet if he found anything special.”

The band hasn’t played live since a winter 2002 tour of North America. Their last British gigs were at the Reading and Leeds festivals, where they performed a handful of new tracks. Working titles include ‘You Talk Way Too Much’, ‘The Way It Is’, ‘I Can’t Win’ and ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’.