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Drax Project - Gig Review: Drax Project @ Rec Bar, Auckland - 17/12/16

13 Jan 2017 // A review by James Castady-Kristament

Wellington's Drax Project came to the Rec Bar in the heart of Auckland City for a one off show. I was invited to review the gig. Arriving an hour after the advertised 9pm start I thought I’d arrive to see the opening bands play before we got down to business but unfortunately I was way too early and the show wouldn't start for at least another couple of hours. Eventually after much waiting the odd punter obviously in their early 20’s began to trickle in until eventually becoming an impressive crowd of 20 something millennials.

So what was all the fuss about? Drax Project had obviously made a name for themselves and had quite a following in Auckland. 

I could tell by the heavy duty equipment on stage and the dedicated sound guy that this was going to be quality and when they eventually did play, the first thing that stood out was Shaan Singh's impressive vocal ability. His voice is soulful and honed. If you closed your eyes you would scarcely believe this voice was coming from this skinny kid behind the keyboard.

I’d heard they were a Pop/Hip-Hop covers band but they had plenty of originals and to me they had more of a Shapeshifter New Zealand Drum n Bass/Dub vibe to them.

I really appreciated how they bought elements of electronic music into their live set with Drum n Bass low rumbling bass lines and drummer Matt Beachen triggering more electronic drum sounds from his modified live kit.

The energy of these guys was amazing they really know how to set it off and the crowd were equally enthusiastic. Band and crowd feeding of each others energy. The band jelled really well together with bassist Sam Thompson and guitarist Ben O’Leary multi-tasking between their instruments while holding it down for the backing vocals. Although when it comes to multi-tasking, singer Shaan Singh takes the cake with his keyboard ability and his energetic saxophone playing really puts the icing on this already rich chocolaty musical cake.

Drax Project really had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand and they sounded great. I felt like I must have been living under a rock because all these young hip punters knew who they were and I really had never heard of them before.

Well it turns out they’d started as buskers on the streets of Wellington. Just a duo to start with. Drums and sax. This is where Drax Project got their name from half drums and half sax = Drax.

They then continued on to play festivals over the summer of 2014/15 and started working on their second EP with producer Devin Abrams. One of the founding members of Shapeshifter.

They also have several singles with music videos under their belt.

These guys really have come leaps and bounds in a very short time and I’m sure now that I’ve been introduced to their existence I will be hearing a lot more about them in the future.

So watch out for Drax Project or be left behind.


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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