Robot band rocks at New Zealand music festival

Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:10pm EST
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WELLINGTON (Reuters Life!) - New Zealand is set to host the year's biggest music festivals on Friday and one of the bands will rock the house without setting a foot on stage.

The Trons, playing along big names such as the Arctic Monkeys and Neil Young at the Big Day Out festival in Auckland, are all self-playing robots.

Engineered to rock by a "top secret" software package, the foursome is made up of Ham on vocals, Fifi on keyboards, Swamp on drums and lead guitarist Wiggy, who plays a single string.

The band was created last year by musician and repairman Greg Locke from old computer and mechanical parts and play original songs using a variety of old amplifiers and instruments.

The band's MySpace page describes their sound as "motors having a good time."

Based in the North Island city of Hamilton, Locke will be taking along his repair kit to the Big Day Out, just in case.

"I've got spare computers and bits and pieces if need be, but they have proved pretty reliable," Locke told The Waikato Times newspaper.

The band, which was a hit on the video sharing site You Tube, tours regularly and hopefully an album will be forthcoming one day. The Big Day Out, the largest music festival in New Zealand, has more than 70 bands and plays one Auckland show before heading off to play in five cities in Australia.

(Reporting by Adrian Bathgate and Gill Murdoch, editing by Miral Fahmy)

<p>British rock band Arctic Monkeys perform during a concert at the Benicassim International Festival in the eastern Spanish town of Benicassim, July 22, 2007. REUTERS/Heino Kalis</p>