Of all the gigs that Berklee student band Red Oblivion will play this summer, one stands out: Lollapalooza.
That's right, the relatively unknown rock quartet is playing the famed summer festival.
"Just after our band formed, we heard that Berklee was going to do a partnership with Lollapalooza," says Eden Rayz, who plays cello (!) in Red Oblivion. "That really got the wheels turning. We were trying to find our sound as quickly as possible to qualify. We wrote around 30 songs in two months -- and then dropped most of them. The prospect of Lollapalooza pushed us to get it together much more quickly."
Three songs that weren't axed are found on the band's Paul Kolderie-produced EP, which is headed by the crunchy, punchy '90s-nodding rocker "Nowhere Kids."
Besides Rayz on electric cello, Red Oblivion includes guitarist Emma Torres, singer and bassist Zach Adams and drummer Carson Groenewold. Rayz and Groenewold met as performers in the Berklee Metal String Ensemble and decided to form a band that pushed rock instrumentation forward.
Rayz spent 16 years learning classical cello only to find another calling in high school when she discovered punk and metal.
"I discovered it was more natural for me to be playing rock and metal even using the same technique. I take it from a separate mind-set," she says. "I approach it as if the instrument is naturally in rock 'n' roll, which I'm setting out to prove."
Sabbath, bloody Sabbath!
Playing Lollapalooza in the same vicinity as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Jack White, Florence + the Machine and fellow Berklee alumni Passion Pit doesn’t faze Rayz. However, if there’s something that has this metal fan gobsmacked, it’s being on the same bill as Black Sabbath.
“Oh my God, I was completely freaked out when they reformed! To have them reform is a dream. To play the same festival is insanity to me,” she says.
Painting the town Red
with Red Oblivion,
and Bent Knee
939 Boylston St., Boston
Free, all ages, 617-747-2261
(Red Oblivion play at noon)
Sunday, Aug. 5
BMI stage, Grant Park, Chicago