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March 10, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music |
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The Drax Project/Ed Zuccollo/Name UL Concert Review

It’s going to be a sad day when Mighty Mighty closes. Students will have a hard time finding a venue that offers up experiences like the O-Week’s Thursday show.

The first artist playing was the young rapper Name UL. The talented Wellington local lands his self-affirming raps with metronomic rhythm. His beats are built out of synthetic soundscapes punctuated by tight drums. A charismatic performance soon brought the majority of the student crowd to the dance floor.

Ed Zuccollo soon replaced Name UL on the stage. Armed with a vintage vocoder synth, the one-man act blasted through a series of pop covers and Zuccollo originals. The eclectic set danced between techno, synth-pop and even dubstep as the chorus of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ leapt into a fiery half-time groove. The crowd’s energy fed off his mix of accessibility and musicianship. One less-than-sober punter yelled “Yeah boy!” in encouragement.

Third on the line-up were the four-piece jazz-school heavyweights The Drax Project. The band have found a sweet spot of genre between mosh-pit bouncing grooves, jazz-pop and ferocious hip-hop. Once again, there were memorable covers – ‘Cry Me A River’ was dragged through its slow tempo by ragged saxophone rhythms. By now, the intimate space of the Mighty Mighty dance floor was packed. Lead singer/saxophonist Shaan Singh was perfectly comfortable crooning, rapping, playing synth or blasting away on the sax. The group’s originals also sounded promising.

I had a great night. Great music. Receptive crowd. Nice venue. Hopefully Wellington’s gig scene will manage to keep its charm after Mighty Mighty closes this May.

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