Animated alterna-pop group Gorillaz will crisscross North America this fall, and they’ve lined up an eclectic roster of hip-hop dogs, soul legends and indie upstarts for their upcoming trek, including De La Soul, Bobby Womack and Little Dragon. Also hitting the road with the “Stylo” crew are fellow genre-melding outfit N.E.R.D., who will open up for Gorillaz starting October 3.
Gorillaz are known for staging elaborate technologically enhanced sets designed to blow concertgoers’ minds while sidestepping the fact that the group’s cartoon bandmembers are, well, just pretend. N.E.R.D. frontman Pharrell Williams told MTV News that he’s amped for the outing and respects the way Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn has turned a collective of surly, slightly batty, animated personas into a musical force.
“I’m happy to go on tour with the Gorillaz. I think Damon is a genius,” Pharrell said. “I love the way that he has exercised his mind and turned his imagination into the world’s reality.”
In a lineup packed with diverse voices, Pharrell said Gorillaz architects Albarn and Jamie Hewlett invited N.E.R.D. on the road because they share similar approaches to creating music.
“We aspire to continue to offer our perspective to the world in the way that we do, and I think that’s the reason why they asked us to be on the road,” Pharrell explained. “It’s like there’s like-mindedness and the appreciation for good music and the stimulation of a child’s imagination, so I feel like it was a natural marriage.”
After a botched Grammy appearance involving Madonna , Gorillaz are leaving the holographic elements of their stage show behind. They explained earlier this year that their upcoming performances will be similar to the gigs they ripped in the U.K. and at this year’s Coachella festival — hopefully featuring special guests who couldn’t make previous shows due to Europe’s volcanic ash drama.
“[It’ll be] the same show, maybe some different songs in the set, some of the other collaborators who will be able to make it,” Hewlett told MTV News in April. “We lost loads of people to the volcano — we didn’t lose them; they couldn’t get on their flight. We were missing Kano and Bashy; Mos Def was in London; the Hypnotic Brass couldn’t get there.”
Are you amped to see N.E.R.D. and Gorillaz on tour? Let us know in the comments!