The mad Dutch drummer. I’d seen him some years before, and he was clearly nuts – playing a collapsing drum kit with alternating feet (replete with army boots) on the snare drum, and sometimes a drum kit made of cheese. The first part of the Vortex gig had Bennink team up on snare drum with Terry Day in a drum duet. This was fun, if unspectacular. The second set was a different ball game entirely. This was the Bennick Trio, with Simon Toldam on piano and Joachim Badenhorst on winds. Bennick played ‘just’ snare drum, although this does no justice to the man’s incredible array of skill, ideas, and dynamics – he achieved extremes of loud and quiet that I’d thought impossible. For a while he played with green garden sticks – pointing them elfishly at the audience and grinning insanely; he played swing time, no time, frenetically, peacefully, with absolute abandon and complete control. He played the venue’s walls, tables, chairs, and his own mouth. The trio were energetic and noisy as hell – there was no escaping their rage. But the last tune was a distillation of beauty, purveying a purity and intensity that left us all stunned.

Dr Drums new music blog

April 29, 2011

I have a new music blog – Dr Drums. I’ll be blogging here about gigs I liked, didn’t like, and for which I wait in eager anticipation.

Gillian Glover brings her band to the capital ahead of new album launch

Gillian Glover comes to London following tours of the UK, Switzerland and France, playing music that is by turns deeply funky, authentically bluesy, and so delicate that you hold your breath lest it fracture. It’s not hard to hear the influence of her Dad (Deep Purple’s hard-rocking bassist, Roger Glover), in the deep grooves set up by her first-class rhythm section as they propel the band with urgency and drive, before melting subtly into moments of ethereal beauty that transport listeners to another realm. Gillian and her 5-piece band of multi-instrumentalists between them play guitars, bass, drums, percussion, saxophone, violin, flute and kora. Catch them at Weyfest, Surrey, or in London on the cusp of releasing their new album, Still Life With Music, which follows the highly acclaimed debut release Red Handed. Visit www.GillianGlover.com for a taste of what is sure to be one of the most uplifting festival experiences of the summer.

Dates:

May 27th: Babalou, The Crypt, St Matthews Church, Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1JF: http://www.babalou.net

June 10th: Prince of Wales, 186 Battersea Bridge Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3AE

June 24th: High Voltage Festival, victoria Park, Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London E3 5SN

September 4th: Weyfest, The Rural Life Centre, REeds Road, Tilford, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 12DL

I saw Paul Rodgers the other night at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He was immense. The man can really, really sing! Joe Elliott was on before with the Down n Outz – great band, but seriously, his voice was bad, especially when he failed repeatedly to hit most of the notes in tune. Admirably distracting shoes, though, and a hard-working drummer almost compensated for his shortcomings.

The night began with a very mediocre set from Rodgers’ daughter, Jasmine. Her voice was okay, her guitar  playing limited (but not limiting), and her songs pretty shoddy. I mean, the lyrical content was juvenile at worst and predictably simplistic at best. Paul Rodgers sounded all the more awesome because of his support acts.

He came on to thunderous applause and launched into several Free and Bad Company classics. By the second song, Wishing Well, he and the band had hit their stride; and they never left it once. With Jason Bonham on drums, the groove never once faltered, as he channelled the spirits of both his father and Ian Paice as a second-generation God Of Rock. The guitarist, whose name escapes me, was phenomenal, ripping up the solos at every chance and pounding out the riffs and changes flawlessly all night. The bassist was the rock upon which it all rollicked and partied to the sound of one of the definitive voices of Classic Rock.

The encore, unsurprisingly, consisted of ‘All Right Now’ and ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love’. Both were stonkers. This man and his band kicked ass for almost two hours. He never stopped or slowed down. He played guitar and piano. He soared, worked the crowd, and in the Royal Albert Hall’s Cathedral of Rock he had us all worshipping at the altar of St. Paul Rodgers. With Ian Gillan and David Coverdale in enforced semi-retirement and Robert Plant singing county songs in his boots, Rodgers leaves them all – and most of the next generation – in the dust.