He is billed as 'Australia's most prolific vocal percussionist'. Tom Thum, beat boxer and part of the Tom Tom Crew's galaxy of young stars welcomes his audience into the packed venue in a very warm and personal way explaining that "if you've seen his portion of the Tom Tom Crew's show, a lot of the material is the same tonight". Nobody seems to mind at all; he clearly has some fans in the audience because all the gorgeous Tom gets are cheers and applause. Somehow it seems everyone assembled for this opening performance knows the secret – Tom Thum is going to go ballistic one day. A time will come when he is a household name, or there is no such thing as natural justice.
His show is a concert of crazy sounds that he creates with his own natural vocal equipment; the guy can create pretty much any sound at all and even gives the packed audience an opportunity to mimic him by giving us all tips on how we can make some of the sounds that he does so effortlessly – extraordinarily – he finds ways of contextualising the sampling and beat boxing into amusing vignettes that draw peels of laughter from the mob. His short film about being addicted to beat boxing is very funny indeed and really provides the greatest impression of what will one day hopefully be a comedy and music show on television. Thum is the sort of character I'd like to see on television in a line up with comedian Greg Fleet being 'real' and 'streetwise' and highly entertaining and amusing (ABC TV Producers take note!).
The show runs at about an hour long and singularly depends on the vocal prowess of the star, it manages to cover a lot of ground without being a one joke wonder or sounding too repetitive. It would be too easy for Thum to sing a few songs and call it a night – where his natural personality and wink wink good humour really shine is in the comedy skits and revelations about being a twenty something lad still living at home and having some problems when it comes to seducing the girl of his dreams because mum and dad are in the next room. Mum and dad were in the audience on the night I was there (unless of course this is merely a conceit, although one doesn't imagine such a 'genuine' performer has such things) and the slightly embarrassed quality of delivery of some of the lines were manifesting as nothing short of sweet really.
Beat boxing was really popular in the context of the Hip Hop sound and the self-conscious street wise movement in the 1990's and it has more or less blended in with the overall melange of musical mayhem these days gaining no particular great height – but someone like Tom Thum who is more than a musician with it could really gain a lot of momentum as a performer with his ability to present this natural gift in the way he does. All strength to him. It is a wonderful show and deservedly gained a screaming and cheering crowd by the end of the show. Go and friend up with the lad on Twitter @TomThummer he'd love to have you on his list.
Beating The Habit
Venue: The Deluxe | Rundle Park, Adelaide
Dates/Times: 17 Feb - 14 Mar (excl. 20 Feb, 27 Feb & 4-5 Mar) at 9.45pm
Tickets: $28 (Conc, Tue, & Preview 17 - 19 $25 / Group $26)
Bookings: FringeTix 1300 FRINGE (1300 374 643) | www.adelaidefringe.com.au