By Mark Bolsover
Benny Davis presents a genuinely funny, exciting and impressive show, blending anecdotal storytelling, stand-up, and, using only a Melodica, a keyboard and some mixing equipment, a live DJ mash-up session.
First and foremost Benny’s set brilliantly showcases the, frankly exceptional, musical talent and wry, humourous observation of contemporary music that has secured him fame and acclaim through his work with Axis of Awesome.
What this solo set allows is for Benny to couple that talent, humour and observation with an account of the story of how his musical career came about. Though this material is not his strongest—in essence, it functions as a set-up for the main part of the act: a live mash-up DJ set of requests from the audience—there is a real warmth and charm in his storytelling here.
The real core of the show is the DJ set. Here, with an impressive spontaneity and dexterity, Benny very cleverly plays on detail and nuance in music selected by himself and the audience. He subtly shifts between sarcastic signposting of how similar, and often derivative, a lot of the music we enjoy really is, and forging links between apparently disparate genres and songs.
All this is delivered at a fast pace and with disarmingly smooth transitions. The mash-ups and parodies are genuinely funny and effective (and often better than you remember the originals being).
Benny Davis presents an energetic and deceptively intelligent music set and a funny and much-needed antidote to other, obvious and obnoxious DJ sets (on the Fringe and elsewhere…).