Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BAM! Percussion, which touts itself as a family-friendly combination of “Stomp” and the Blue Man Group, is bringing its out-loud performance to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts Jan. 16 at 2 p.m.

Jean Sebastien Dellaire, one of the three members of the group, said the show is fun for “kids of all ages, especially the big kids.”

“We get that a lot,” Dellaire said. “After shows when we have a family audience, we get a dad coming up to us saying, ‘Wow, that was amazing.’ He looks at his kid and the kid’s like, ‘Yeah, that was good.’”

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The BAM! boys — Dellaire, Denis Richard Jr. and Vincent Boudreau — did not set out to create a sketch-comedy show.

“It evolved a lot,” Dellaire said. “When we first got together, we wanted to do something super-serious … it just went totally opposite.”

The musicians started doing street theater in Europe about 10 years ago, and the show changed slowly, morphing into its current form around 2006.

“When we first started, we were like drummers, percussionists, but not really comedians or clowns,” Dellaire said. “It evolved to the point it’s more of a clowning and comedy show.”

The show apparently is working for the group. The show is played internationally, with dates set up everywhere from Europe and Asia to America and Africa.

“It’s a really nice shtick for us,” Dellaire said. “It opened up a great market for us everywhere.”

All the instruments are homemade, Dellaire said. The drums are crafted from industrial barrels.

The show alternates between music and sketch comedy, turning the drums from musical instruments into airplanes, horses and war trenches.

“It’s about having fun and surprising people,” Dellaire said. “You can’t really expect what we’re going to do next.”

Adding to the show’s universal appeal, the characters do not speak English or French (Dellaire is fluent in both), but rather communicate using “BAMspeak” — or, as Dellaire calls it, “professional blah-blah.”

“At first, our characters didn’t say anything,” Dellaire said. “As we were growing into our characters and getting more and more at ease, a new language was born.”

“BAMspeak” is spoken only by the cast, but understood by everyone, Dellaire said.

“It’s really funny,” Dellaire said. “People say, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying, but I understand everything.’”

The musicians each have a different character. Richard’s character is “completely on another planet,” Dellaire said. Richard is a professional drummer in real life, playing in several bands.

Boudreau, who has two university degrees in classical percussion in real life, is the “superhero,” Dellaire said.

“He studied for 15 years, and ended up on stage making jokes and banging on big drums,” Dellaire said. “We like to joke about that.”

As for Dellaire, his character is the loud one.

“I started playing drums when I was six years old,” Dellaire said. “I’ve been banging on stuff all my life, so I found the perfect job for me.”

Dellaire expressed hope that a lot of people would come to the show.

“We really hope a lot of people come out,” Dellaire said. “A lot of our energy is based on the public having a good time and laughing and keeping us energized. It makes for an amazing show.”

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Purchase tickets online at or at the box office, located at 110 W. Finney Ave. in downtown Suffolk. Call the box office at 923-2900 for more information.