While you could call me biased – I know a few of these guys personally and have been a big fan since I first heard them – there’s really no need to doubt my word though.
Afternoon Raj is a five piece band that mixes prog rock with reggae, dub, and ska influences. I love to skank so I have a huge amount of fun dancing to these guys! The Raj’s ringleader James Mason draws the crowd in with a huge smile and a genuine love for what he’s doing. Bede, Matt, Andrej, and Nick impress with guitar solos and great beats.
The crowd grows every time I see them play and more than a handful of us have learnt the words to their older songs. They know it and use it to their advantage! Their show on Saturday, at Wellington’s cool kid venue Mighty Mighty, kicked off with number one crowd favourite Lickity Split, a song that creeps up and kind of explodes. After a few originals guitarist Bede Eagle stole the mic to sing
a cover (turns out it was another original!), I’m not sure what song it was but Brandon Boyd (of Incubus fame) could easily have been the one singing it. And then the short set concluded with a few newer originals.
Quite frankly I was relieved when the set finished, I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion. In a matter of 30 minutes I managed to go from tipsy and excited for the music, to AHH WOoo *dance* *dance*, to omg I think I’m going to drown in my own sweat, to I need fresh air and a chair or I’m going to throw up. It was awesome.
Afternoon Raj is the sound of Hawkes Bay in the big city, it’s the sound of summer, and it’s for dub and rock fans alike. These boys may work in offices by day but they’re drunk musical hippies at heart, singing at concerts bringing awareness to global warming and generally trying to save the world.
They’re yet to record an album, an album I’m looking forward to having on repeat, and I’m nervous about how they’ll capture their perfect live sound. They’re smart guys though, I’m sure they’ll figure it out.
Check out Afternoon Raj on Facebook and MySpace. (Don’t take the recordings on MySpace as an indicator of their talent, just an indicator of the style.)
Hear them in real life on the 6th of November at Watusi for a gig I am sadly going to be out of town for. :[
Photo credits to James Schollum