Tom Tom Crew brings Ann Arbor acrobatics and electric vibes

Courtesy of Simon J. Nicol

BY ANNA SADOVSKAYA
Daily Arts Writer
Published July 6, 2011

Hailing from Australia, Tom Tom Crew bursts onto the Mainstage of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival with a new, urban take on a classic circus troupe.

Tom Tom Crew


Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.
Power Center
Tickets from $25

“It’s a really fresh and unique way to view circus and music,” said drummer, emcee and founding member of Tom Tom Crew, Ben Walsh. “We’re a small cast. We only have six acrobats, and some of them play music as well. We have a beatboxer, a drummer (Walsh) and we do a lot of talking and singing. It’s a very high-energy. Half music, half circus experience.”

Tom Tom Crew exploded onto the scene at the Woodford Folk Festival in 2006, and continues to tour and excite audiences with their combination of beat breaks, acrobatics and electric vibes.

“It was a very raw, random meeting for the group," Walsh said. "It was a whole bunch of different performers that got put on stage together. We knew of each other but never met, and then we just jammed out on our first onstage performance.

"We got a standing ovation and we thought, ‘we could have something great, I mean we just lit this house on fire!’ ”

They debuted internationally in 2007 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the UK to rave reviews and the interest of critics. They went on to perform in sold-out venues in Australia, Berlin, Eastern Europe as well as Broadway.

“We’ve developed this over the years and got the opportunity to do a season, and then an international show at the Edinburgh festival, the biggest fringe festival. That really launched us because we got five stars over other really big, well-known acts,” Walsh said.

Tom Tom Crew engages their ability to produce striking bass and drum beats with their incredibly technical and advanced physical routine to excite the audience and bring something completely new and different to the stage.

“A lot of shows you’ll see that have over-toured, you’re not feeling like you see a fresh show or act," Walsh said. "We try to keep the spark alive. When an audience walks into the venue, they leave totally enthused and charged. If we didn’t love what we do we wouldn’t do it anymore.”

The Crew’s acrobats fuse classic circus apparatuses and new moves to produce a show filled with tumbling routines, aerial events and pure strength elements while their medley of live music, featuring rhythm and hip-hop beat boxing, animates the viewers and electrifies the atmosphere.

“We have an amazing connection between the right music, rhythm and the energy of the moment that the acrobats have going on." Walsh said. "People don’t always go to a hip-hop club, or go out dancing to dubstep or some heavy fat bass.

"This gets them moving. We get this great synergy and connection. It helps the whole feeling wash over the audience.”

Walsh explained that pleasing audience members is hard no matter the venue, but he believes that the fiery devotion of their show will entice the audience and prove to be a festive, original experience.

“If you look at a person onstage and they give everything they have with truth and with passion, then you’ll get it,” Walsh said. “And this show is the beautiful, old cabaret style show, where it’s something loud, something quiet, something beautiful and it ends on a high point. It’s a whole journey.”