This weekend has been pretty eventful. Spent the majority of Saturday getting lost and overwhelmed in the great city of Manchester and spent the majority of Sunday recuperating my feet as well as my eardrums. My God, what a show, though.
It started off pretty shaky. Panic on the trains – the stations soon started to dissolve all into one; it was a marathon to even get there. Then, me being me, totally underestimated how far the arena actually was from the station. It was quarter past 12, and it would take 25 minutes to walk from the station to the arena – – – and we had a performance to get to at quarter to 1. So, with an angry girlfriend in tow, we hauled ourselves across the Central Manchester, sweat forming as it grew nearer to the time. After getting extremely confused concerning the Manchester bus service, we cadged a taxi to Manchester Central Arena. Oh yes, I did say the wrong thing. So after making a u-turn from the direction to Manchester Arena, we were on our way to Manchester Central.
And we made it. With minutes to spare; I was well proud of ourselves. Bagged our tickets, took the elevator and joined the queue for Benny Greb’s performance in the main stage. Good ‘ol Benny. What a performance, playing the faves of ‘Couscous’ and ‘Grebfruit.’ Funny too as well as talented – – – rare combination I find. After, we took our first trip around all booths.
A wall of sound hits you right in the face as you enter the main room of the show. But my God, what a sight. As many shiny cymbals, magnificent drums, drumsticks and drummers as you can imagine in all under roof – what a delight. All there sharing the same love for the greatest instrument in the world. It was awesome. Much to my dismay though, I did forget my sticks. Rookie error coming to these shows, as almost every kit, cymbal, pad and stick can be tested on. So, I made my way to Promark (sorry Vic Firth) and bought a pair. So, I could finally fit in and play. There weren’t just booths either. Workshops, “experience rooms” and talks galore. I didn’t even see it all, there was so much.
The arena’s response to the amount of drumming in the room and the health and safety to one’s ears, they decided, rather stupidly, to only play on the first quarter of every hour. What? For the safety of every one’s ears, let’s get all of the drummers playing all AT ONCE for 15 minutes, instead of splitting up the time playing, like any sane person would come up with. Stoopid.
A klaxon would go off on the hour, to signal every drummer in there to start whacking anything you see fit. And by the time, you actually get to play a kit, the time has run out, because some bastard has hogged the kit for 15 minutes. Some noisy, annoying bastard who probably has a shaved head. Odd, but there we are. It was momentous when it happened though.
I wanted to treat myself. After all, I was at a drum show, with all this glitzy and glamorous showcase surrounding me. Why not? So, I decided to buy Benny Greb’s 12″ signature practice pad from Meinl. And damn, was it heavy, Also, a set of drum tuners (which turned out to be an utter cop-out – more on that later)
Turns out, the practice pad was £5 more expensive, than that online. I thought, the purpose of these shows was to get discounted stuff? Bit stupid, but there it is. And these drum tuners were just a fad. Turns out I bought £18 magnets with Meinl stuck on them, and not even strong ones at that. The ‘tuning’ it makes to the cymbals itself, the change was extremely minimal, and nothing too special. I wasn’t overwhelmed, I thought they were cool, but nothing to get gassed over for – unlike the man who was trying to sell them to me.
*side note – love the pad; as well as the Promark sticks; think I may have to covert you know…
Hey, don’t be misconstrued though, I am totally glad I went. Seeing all those drummers together for the same reason, watching some of the best drummers in the world perform, it was great. Setting sights on some gear that I will never be able to afford in my lifetime, but it was worth it, and simply a nice trip away from the usual of boring Lincoln. Of course, we came all this way to Manchester, so we didn’t want to just stay at the show all day. So, we took a walk around the sights of the city. Stumbling across Chinatown, eating some grub, y’know – the usual stuffs. So, above all, what a trip! Experiencing such a prolific showcase in such a cool venue was monumental, all in the beautiful city of Manchester. We’ll definitely go again and make a full weekend of it. And maybe planned a bit better too … !
Bit gutted I didn’t see more, but I had to please the missus, didn’t I?
See you next year, Manchester.
That’s all from me.