26 May 2018

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Gig Review: Drax Project @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 12/05/18

16 May 2018 // A review by ShelleySketch
On Saturday I arrived to The Powerstation, to see Drax Project play to a sold-out crowd, for the second night in a row! Due to this show being all ages, there were 2 long lines reaching out in opposite directions which steadily minimised as crowds made their way in. The venue was packed as the lights went down and Robinson took the stage.

Robinson may seem like a new name to some people but under the radar she is rising in the pop world. As she took the stage, the first thing you notice is her smile and then her incredible outfit; a white pinstripe suit that was somewhat on the more flowing side. The jacket unbuttoned to reveal the tied, high-waisted flares and black PVC-like bandeau she was wearing. Her band consisted of a male keyboard player to her right and a female drummer behind her. Robinson has a beautiful soulful voice that also transitions to pop nicely. Though the bass was a bit much, it is definitely an expected occurrence at The Powerstation. She made good use of the stage, making sure the whole crowd got to see her. She is brilliant at expressing how she is feeling, and her music clearly evokes some emotion. The crowd definitely felt her performance as well. They were all moving along to her music and I noticed it seemed like it was more males singing along then females.

Robinsonís set consisted of an incredible cover of Iím On Fire which she donned a guitar for. The way she performed the cover made the crowd seem more intimate than it already was. Robinson even took to the keys to play her track So Damn Lonely. I spotted a group in the crowd during her set, swaying along with glow sticks raised in the air. But Robinson planned her set well as the energy in the room picked up when she performed her current hit single Nothing To Regret. Throughout the set Robinson continuously thanked the crowd and she definitely got them ready for what was to come.

The lights went out and Drax Project took the stage. They got stuck straight in and the crowd was straight into it as well. The stage was lit in a pink/purple haze most of the night with a large LCD screen behind them that displayed the band's name. The guys gave a high energy performance and seemed to be having a great time as they smiled at each other and fed off the crowd. I would mainly catch guitarist Ben OíLeary smiling over at his bandmates. And even though drummer Matt Beachen was stuck behind his kit you could see his energy and the occasional smile peak through as well. The set consisted of a mix of their singles and covers they are well-known for. The cover that stood out for me would have to be Latch originally by Sam Smith. The crowd was enjoying the set, but the band made sure they were a part of it all as well by getting the crowd to sing and clap along. This caught a couple of the guys off guard a bit, as the crowd did a great job! Bassist & Keyboardist Sam Thompson seemed to be the 1 leading the crowd.

Drax Project have so many different musical elements to their music and I particularly enjoyed the saxophone additions which was played by lead vocalist Shaan Singh. Shaanís vocals are also incredible! His vocal range isnít necessarily something we see a lot in NZ music and the way they combine it with the mixture of music they create, is amazing. It also all translates well live. Drax Project ended their set on a high and I think the crowd would have stayed the whole night if possible. The band thanked the crowd, wished them safe travels and departed the stage. The crowd began to make their way out and Iím sure a bunch of them would have headed for town with the energy they had.

It would have been interesting to see if Drax Project would have sold out a third night. Regardless, with their current single Woke Up Late topping charts, opening for Ed Sheeran and now this, thereís no telling what is next for these guys, but it definitely seems like itís going to be epic!

Review written by Shelley Te Haara

About Drax Project

Drax Project is a four piece Hip Hop/Party Smashing band who began as group of buskers on the streets of Wellington in 2012. They started as a two piece with Shaan Singh on saxophone and Matt Beachen on drums, but soon expanded to include Joe Simmonds on bass. When Joe moved to Australia in 2013, his spot was filled by Sam Thomson. Ben O'Leary joined in 2014 on guitar.

The group first gained public attention with their cover of Thriftshop by Macklemoore, which was recorded and posted to YouTube by a passerby, while they busked during the Wellington Sevens. Whilst they still like to take it the streets from time to time, Drax Project's musicianship and sense of humour have won over the gatekeepers of the Wellington club and bar scene, resulting in them playing such venues as Mighty Mighty, Good Luck, The Hunter Lounge, Bodega, San Francisco Bathhouse and Puppies, along with regular bookings for fashion show after parties and private functions.

2014 has started big for Drax Project with headlining two packed out shows during Orientation week, opening for David Dallas and The Daylight Robbery, being announced on the lineup for Rhythm and Alps and playing to a sold out crowd at their EP Release show.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Drax Project


Year: 2016
Type: EP
Drax Project EP
Year: 2014
Type: EP

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