STOMP: undeniably indefinable

  • 2007-03-21
  • By Talis Saule Archdeacon

CLEAN SWEEP: Garbage can lids, brooms and other household items of the cleaning and non-cleaning variety serve as both props and instruments in this high-energy, rhythmic extravaganza, which often plays to sell-out crowds.

RIGA - Imagine a show that features a large group of performers dressed in flashy outfits jumping around the stage while banging trash can lids together, yet somehow managing to sound really good. That's exactly what audiences can expect when the STOMP music show comes back to Riga at the end of March. The show can be described as something in between music, dance, and performance art. And if the previous visits are anything to go by, it's going to draw huge crowds, so get tickets while you can.

Nicole Sikstule, a fan who has attended one of STOMP's past Riga performances, seemed to be at a loss for words to describe the show, but knew that she liked it.
"It was very rhythmic. There were many different sets of rhythms, but it was really more than that: it was music. It was amazing that they were doing these things with items from everyday life. It was really very energetic. They really got you into the show," she said.

The show's creators, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, started out as street performers in the U.K. in the 1980s. There they would put on their show and try to grab people's attention in the centuries-old English tradition known as busking. Cresswell and McNicholas, however, have used their show to take busking to new international levels. Since STOMP's beginnings in 1991, their primary studio moved to the United States and the group has since put on performances in such varied locations as the Far East, Australia, South America, the United States, and Europe.

The show makes itself universal by not featuring any type of dialogue or speech. It communicates to the audience only through rhythm, so all spectators, no matter what their background, are equally in tune with the performance. Its very basic but at the same time intricate nature has the ability to appeal to everyone.
The eclectic nature of the show is clear just from the sorts of stage props that they go through in a week. With a shopping list that includes 12 books of matches, 15 pounds of sand, 200 liters of water and eight bananas each week, the show is bound to be good.

Whatever the show may be, members of STOMP point out that they are not trying to make any political statements or send out any hidden messages. They are just trying to get their audiences to appreciate that the everyday sounds they are surrounded with can be turned into something beautiful and powerful.

March 27, 28, 29 (sold out), 30, 31 (two shows), April 1 (two shows)
Riga Congress Hall, Valdemara 5
Tickets on prior sale at the venue, and available from,
tel. +371 710 5220.
For info: