UK dance vets prepare to show Woodhill Forest in a new light.

Underworld will perform to 6000 people in the middle of an Auckland forest this weekend.

But it sounds like someone forgot to tell Karl Hyde.

"Huh ... interesting," quips the band's founding member and frontman when TimeOut tells him the news.

"I lived in the middle of a forest for a long time, a hillbilly existence, generating our own power, no telephones ... that's sort of home for me."

Underworld will perform in Auckland this Saturday at the first festival to be held in Woodhill forest.
Underworld will perform in Auckland this Saturday at the first festival to be held in Woodhill forest.

So the UK dance veterans - Hyde and Rick Smith - should have no trouble fitting in when they headline Oro '17 this Saturday, a new, one-day boutique music festival in Auckland's Woodhill Forest.

The line-up includes plenty of dance-friendly acts like Feint, Jeru the Damaja, Dave Seaman, Koven, DJ Dubhead, Greg Churchill, and DJ Phil Hartnoll of Orbital.

But most will be there to see Underworld play their first New Zealand show since the 2003 Big Day Out.

It comes amid a career resurgence for Underworld. They released their seventh album, Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future, to rave reviews last year.

And they also play a prominent part in the Trainspotting sequel T2, with their rave anthem from the first film Born Slippy remixed by Smith into Slow Slippy for a key scene.

Hyde says he's constantly pinching himself about their recent success.

"We've weathered any number of storms and after 37 years we seem to be connecting with generations that weren't even born when we first put out albums," he says.

"Our audience is expanding and we're playing places bigger than we have in a long time. It's a nice feeling, as long as it doesn't go to our heads."

Hyde puts that down to Underworld keeping their independence, and maintaining their "outsider" cool.

"We're not attached to any fashion or period of music," he says. "We're most definitely outsiders who appear to be invited in from time to time. That's a cool place to be."

And Hyde says it's not just those feeling nostalgia for the 90s - or for Trainspotting - coming to their shows.

"We probably played our single biggest London show in the last two weeks. The audience there spread from those who would have come to see us from when we first started out, but the majority were far younger, late teens to early 30s."

Saturday night's show will include Underworld's full performance - including an expanded sound system and audio visual display.

"We hit the ground running," says Hyde. "We react to the moment ... and connect with the audience."

But the question remains: which version of Born Slippy will they play - the full on one from 1995, or Slow Slippy, the moody remix from T2?

Hyde's reply is quick, and, in hindsight, obvious.

"The one you can dance to," he says. Duh.

Who: Karl Hyde
What: Underworld
Where and when: Headlining 'Oro 17 this Saturday in Woodhill Forest.
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