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Live: Dub FX @ Blue Frog, Mumbai

The rapper and beatboxer moved from the streets to the Blue Frog stage to throw us his on-the-spot dublicious music creations.

5 Dec, 2011

Mariyam Thomas


On his second tour of India, Benjamin Stafford aka Dub FX performed at the Blue Frog on Friday, December 2. We were there.

Dub FX hails from Melbourne and wanders the planet as a street performer and beatboxer who uses an effects and loop pedal to make music. Having seen Dub FX do his ‘thang’ on the streets of Camden, London, I was blown away by the things he could do with his mouth (#thatswhatshesaid). He creates a beat, a bassline, overarching ambient effects, a melody, singing, and rapping all using his mouth, vocal chords, and his pedals.

For all those Dub FX virgins, here is a sample of him below.

The street versus the stage – this was the dilemma. Taking Dub FX off the street and putting him on stage at the Blue Frog just took away the rawness and openness of his act. He was very comfortable interacting with the audience and it was undeniable that he can entertain the crowd with his vocal acrobatics. He was able to recreate his tracks from his 2009 album, Everythinks a Ripple, but his performance lacked his usual free-wheeling and improvisation.

His wife, Flower Fairy (real name Shoshana Sadia), may seem sweet and endearing to hubbie dearest Mr Stafford, but their coochie-cooing on stage was like having to watch Rebecca Black do a duet with the Chipmunks. There really wasn’t any point to her being on stage unless she was going to do a song with him. Throughout the performance, while Stafford was waxing lyrical and beatboxing, Flower Fairy would dance, lip-synch, and flail her arms to his every word and sound.

Towards the latter half of his set, he did a collaboration with rapper CAde for two songs which gave Stafford a chance to play around more with the beats, bass and harmonies while CAde took over as lead vocals/rapping. However, it didn’t prove to be as entertaining as when carnatic vocalist Mahesh Vinayakram took the stage. Stafford and Vinayakram juggled dubstep beats and bass with carnatic vocal-inflections and improvisations. Though the musical battlefield was set, the two remained in their own comfort zones with no intention of taking up any to-and-fro banter. So fusion it was then.

Besides these niggling little shortfalls, there were twinkling moments.

  1. During the ‘Fly a Kite + Step on my Trip’ mash-up, Dub FX did an emcee battle with himself. (think Jim Carrey beating himself up in Me, Myself and Irene)
  2. Vinayakram took over the Roland pedals and started looping and adding effects to his voice, while Dub FX stared agog.

The gig also ended tragically when his electro-reggaeton dance number, ‘Love Someone’ cut out (barely finishing the first verse) due to technical difficulties. They eventually sang one of Flower Fairy’s songs which was quite the anti-climax.

This outing at the Lower Parel venue, unlike the same fixture last year, fell short and missed his road-side free-styling. Maybe he just needs some free space, fresh air, and random wandering people to impress.

Indiecision: B-

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