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May 21, 2012 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Review – Dub FX at Bodega

For the uninitiated, Dub FX (nee Benjamin Stanford) is a travelling street performer who uses loop stations and electronic distortion to create astounding bass lines which he, in turn, raps or sings over. The result is nothing short of excellence: with a range like Pavarotti and with beat boxing like King Homeboy, Dub FX has had crowds pumping from Amsterdam to Auckland. Held at Bodega, we were packed like sardines in nothing short of a boiler room. The bar staff gleefully served up $10 beers on top of the steep ticket price (cheers La De Da) making it an expensive night; luckily the performances made up for it, with hard hitters like Organikismness and K-Lab warming up the crowd.

Dub FX was visibly knackered (playing 4 consecutive shows across the country), but still managed an excellent performance. He opened with the moving ‘Made’, championing his triumph from being homeless on the street. His fiancé, the overshadowed Flower Fairy, followed, and really came to her own: her mash up of old nursery rhymes laid over a phat bass line is very sing-a-long-able.

My personal favourite was the guest saxophonist, local Wellingtonian Matthew Benton (from The Thomas Olliver Band/ Black Seeds) whose unparalleled skill and improvisation meshed perfectly with Dub FX and Flower Fairy, culminating in a cascade of aural orgasm. To mix things up, the last part of the set switched into Drum n Bass and Jungle styles, and they quickly had the crowd pinging (with or without the ecstasy).

What surprised me the most was the sheer range of genres Dub FX and Flower Fairy could adopt and perform (and more importantly, perform well). We started with Hip-Hop, flowed into Dub, slid into Reggae, took a trip into Jungle and settled on Drum n Bass. In a modern electronica scene bathed in generic dubstep and pop, it was nothing short of refreshing to go back to the good old days.

Ignoring the smell, the venue and the exorbitant drink prices, Dub FX put on one hell of a show. If you like what you hear on his YouTube channel, his live performances are on a whole new level. If/when he returns, don’t miss out: his improvisation adds a unique sound to each live set.

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