Tobogganers won’t be the only bodies flying around Camden this weekend. AudioBody, the latest project of Matt and Jason Tardy, will bring high energy physical comedy, music and more to the downtown Camden Opera House stage Saturday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

The Tardy brothers have been performing together since middle school; in the 15-some years since, they have played Vegas, the White House (three times), an impressive lineup of television shows and, quite a bit the last year or so, Waldoboro’s Waldo Theatre.

“We’re based out of the Oddfellows Theater [in Buckfield]. Friends help run the Waldo; between the two places, we can try out a lot of things,” said Jason Tardy, at home in Turner between gigs and tending his 6-month-old daughter the day after her first inoculations.

Jason and his younger brother Matt grew up in Central Maine within a short distance of Oddfellows, which is owned and operated by New Vaudevillian Michael Miclon. When the brothers were 15 and 13, respectively, they performed in a community talent show, lip syncing to Weird Al Yankovitz. Miclon, as a local professional, was a guest performer in the show, and he apparently saw a bit of his boyhood self in the boys.

“He came up to us and said, you guys are fearless on stage,” said Jason.

Miclon had been an apprentice with the late Benny Reehl and his wife, Denise, known to Midcoast audiences for their appearances in the old Harvest Ragtime Reviews at the Camden Opera House.

“I think he thought, these are the guys I want to pass that training on to,” said Jason. “He also probably wanted some kids to lug his stuff.”

The brothers became apprentices, learning how to juggle and serving as road techs for Miclon. They also studied at the Celebration Barn in South Paris with the late Tony Montanaro and others. And they were quick studies.

“Within months, we were booking birthday parties and presenting at Camp Sunshine, which we still do,” said Jason. “This is the only job I’ve ever had since I was 15.”

The brothers put together an act called TWO: High Energy Juggling that showcases their juggling skills, physical comedy, goofy humor and sibling vibe. That act has been on the road for 15 years, including time the Tardys lived in Rochester, N.Y., where Matt’s wife was attending school and where Jason met the woman he would marry. For a while, one brother lived in New York and the other in New Hampshire; they did a lot of shows in Albany, half way in between, where they still have a following. Eventually, they all landed in Turner.

TWO is still a going concern; the brothers will bring it back to the Waldo Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. As a juggling act, however, it will always be limited, said Jason. AudioBody is proving to have a broader appeal and, while still evolving, accounts for almost half the Tardys’ bookings at this point.

From the beginning, the Tardys’ performances have been closely aligned with music. Matt composes and records upbeat techno pieces on computer that provide backdrop for TWO and more. These are credited to AudioBody.

“We really like to do choreography with our music … we understand music in a physical way,” said Jason.

As members of the off-beat community of performers centered at Oddfellows, the brothers have lent a hand to other acts along the way. Another Oddfellows duo is EepyBird, who became known worldwide thanks to their YouTube video “The Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments.” The Tardy brothers were among those who helped EepyBird’s Stephen Voltz and Fritz Grobe make the video and, when it came time to add music, EepyBird chose “You Gotta TAP,” one of the AudioBody pieces Matt had created for TWO.

“People used to ask us where they could get the music after our juggling shows,” said Jason. “But when the video went viral, we had to scramble to make a CD. There were CD sales from all over the world, from Iraq and Turkey … for a little while, it was the No. 1 sale on CDBaby.”

Then people began to ask where they could “see” AudioBody.

“We had to say, there is no AudioBody, it’s just Matt in his basement,” said Jason.

That public interest got the brothers thinking, however, and they began to consider how they could combine Matt’s music with their stage work in a different way. They didn’t think of themselves as musicians. Indeed, for years TWO has had as a tagline “Born to be rock stars but destined for juggling.” For them, music was a vehicle for comedy. The AudioBody challenge was, and continues to be, to figure out ways to make the music physical.

Since Matt’s music is created and stored in a computer, there is no reason to use traditional instruments. What the brothers are doing instead is using MIDI-controlled electronic percussion triggers in increasingly inventive ways. They needed so many that Pintech USA has endorsed AudioBody, which means a welcome discount for the brothers.

In one part of the AudioBody show, the triggers are mounted on a gleaming chrome “spine” that the brothers play with drumsticks. In another part, the Tardys wear jump suits fitted with triggers that produce sounds when tapped. Using the Ableton Live software developed for techno DJs, the suits can cycle through different programs so each trigger can produce a variety of sounds … sounds that range from musical stings and drum hits to kungfu movie sound effects and the occasional cow “moo.”

“People watch us and just assume we’re working to a soundtrack,” said Jason. “We’re already doing things that people think are impossible, and it can look flawless.”

Technology and live performance being what they are, of course, routines are, in fact, rarely flawless. The brothers have become experts in troubleshooting on the fly. There’s a lot to keep track of; AudioBody uses two dedicated computers, one for the sound and one for lights, which also have programmed cycles.

Light has been part of the Tardys’ shtick for years. For example, they sometimes juggle tubes that contain two flashlights and a Foosball. But the light show in AudioBody takes things much farther. Pushing the envelope has been the norm for the Tardys’ latest project, and that fearlessness that Miclon recognized in the brothers as children continues to take them, and their audiences, to unexpected places.

“Matt’s really had to stretch himself with the computer programming and the lights,” said Jason, who said his brother is the one who understands the technical end of what they do.

“I’ll say, you know what or can you make it do this? He’ll say no, it won’t do that. Then, later, he’ll say, let me think about it and he figures it out,” said Jason.

“Basically, my job is to come up with things that are impossible but would be really cool; and his job is to make the impossible, possible,” he said.

The technology is figured out in Matt’s basement, and this past year of shows at both the Oddfellows and the Waldo have helped work things out on stage. Jason said they really rely on their audiences to let them know what works and what doesn’t. “The audience is our best director,” he said.

Unlike TWO, which has been codified and refined over the years, AudioBody is still a work in progress. This has led to people coming to see it again and again.

“We’ve yet to do it the same way twice,” said Jason, adding that the Camden audience will see some material not presented before.

Despite all the digital magic, the AudioBody show is, in essence, a celebration of movement. In addition to his musical contribution, Matt, taller than his older brother, is a contortionist. And the two inhabit the stage together in a way that speaks to spending half their lifetimes thus far as a physical comedy team.

“Being brothers just a couple of years apart, we have conversations without saying a word,” said Jason.

General admission tickets for the Camden show are $10 in advance and will be $14 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the Camden Town Office weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and online at The show is co-sponsored by the Camden Opera House and the 20th annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to