Stephen Taylor / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Underworld's teenage years are well behind them, but Oblivion Ball is their chance to create their own festival. Junko Otsubo, of Traffic Records, one of the organizers of the event, provided insight on how they did it.
"It's like Underworld's festival, with Underworld as the main act, bringing along their favorite bands, like Simian Mobile Disco, 120 Days and very famous deejay Andrew Weatherall," she said.
There have been similar events at the Makuhari Messe, such as Electraglide, dating back to 2000, and while Oblivion Ball is also aiming to attract a crowd of up to 20,000, it promises more than just music.
"It's a music gig, but Underworld's going to bring a lot of visuals that the Tomato art team has made and they're going to show a lot of visuals along with new set designs," Otsubo said.
And for anyone unfamiliar with the rest of the lineup, Otsubo was confident that the audience won't be disappointed.
"Simian Mobile Disco are a dance act that are growing in Japan as well. They had an amazing performance at Fuji Rock Festival and...of course, they're one of Underworld's favorite acts," she said.
120 Days came to the attention of the group through a slightly less orthodox route.
"They sent in a CD to Underworld's radio show and when Karl Hyde listened to their album he said that it brought back all the '90s music that he was listening to and it just blew him away. Ever since that, he's been playing them on their radio show," Otsubo explained.
But it won't be the first time 120 Days have been to Japan.
"120 Days came to Summer Sonic to perform and they are an amazing stage act. Karl Hyde, of course, knows that because he's been checking them out on YouTube and he's been talking about them everywhere," she added.
There's going to be a lot of mutual appreciation among the acts at Oblivion Ball, which should hopefully create a good vibe.
"I think that feeling's going to create a really good atmosphere that night because all the musicians that really respect each other are coming together to perform," Otsubo said.
As it's an all-night event, if you're under the age of 18 you won't be able to get in, though there'll be plenty of Underworld fans from previous years.
"There are a lot of Underworld fans that are under 18, so it is quite a shame for them but I think people [who have liked Underworld from earlier years] are now about 30, so I think all the people are going to come together that night and enjoy the event," Otsubo said.
The good news for juniors in the Kansai area is that the shows at Zepp in Osaka are open to all ages, though those shows will feel more like an Underworld tour, with Simian Mobile Disco supporting, than like the much larger Oblivion Ball.
Oblivion Ball Featuring Underworld, Simian Mobile Disco, Andrew Weatherall and 120 Days.
Makuhari Messe venue halls 4,5 and 6, in Chiba, on Nov. 24, from 9 p.m.
Admission: 9,000 yen in advance from Beatink.(03) 5766-6571.Underworld, Simian Mobile Disco and Andrew Weatherall will be at Zepp in Osaka on Nov. 21-22, from 7 p.m. (06) 4703-7760
(Oct. 5, 2007)