Tom Tom Crew [FringeTIX]
Tom Tom Crew @ Umbrella Revolution
5:00pm, Sun 13 Feb 2011
I first saw a Tom Tom Club show back in 2007; I loved it then, and the 2008 incarnation was even better – the show was clearly evolving, with the group tightening the hour-long show to yield a maximum wow-factor.
This year, though…
I reckon that there’d be a whole thirty seconds in the entire show that could be considered anything near dull – and that’s only when Ben Walsh is explaining the crowd-noise rule (that is: “make some”). The rest of the time, something genuinely exciting is happening; new DJ and keyboardist Luke Dubbs leads off with a scratching set that gets the heart pumping, Ben Walsh thrashes drums above and below – and even some in mid-air, as they’re thrown across him. Tom Thum’s beatboxing is still gobsmacking, even though you’ve seen it before and you know what he’s capable of… his Michael Jackson tribute keeps gaining new tracks, and the scratch battle between Thum and Dubbs is amazing.
Even the slower parts of the show manage to be monstrously entertaining; there’s Tom Thum’s clever graffiti piece, backed with music from Walsh and Dubbs. Walsh’s OmniChord still makes an appearance, but rather than being a solo performance it’s now accompanied by Thum’s beatboxing.
And then there’s the five acrobats…
Ummm… they’re a bit good.
Fast, energetic, certainly enthusiastic and – most astoundingly – fearless, they run and jump and flip and tumble and fly and perform feats that genuinely take the breath away. Their closing brace of stunts, complete with backing from Walsh, Thum, Dubbs, and an unnamed bassist, is a stunning performance; the musical accompaniment somehow becomes directly linked to the audience’s emotions, driving the excitement with a rapid-fire beat, holding our breaths as the acrobats tumble through the air, hoping to nail that landing.
It’s amazing stuff, it really is.
Every time I see a Tom Tom show, it seems to be faster and leaner and more exciting. It’s hard to see how they could up the ante on this show in any reasonable manner; but I’ve got a feeling that the capacity crowd that was in today – myself included – will be lining up to see them try.