View Full Version : Drumwright, Reading, 29/09/05

09-30-2005, 01:19 AM
After seeing Virgil at the Drummer Live event at Wembley, I was really looking forward to a repeat performance at his clinic at DrumWright in Reading. While I enjoyed his performance at Wembley, the informality and intimacy we seemed to get at the smaller venue (a baptist church) made it that much more intense. Also I found the accoustics much more "real", as there was minimal amplification (the Wembley event was a tad loud I found), which only added to the intimacy- what Virgil played is what we heard.

He started out with his new sequenced composition, for those that haven't heard it it's a polyrhythmic fun-fest. Virgil plays around the groove with an increasingly complex display of interdependance, and what appears to be completely disparate tempos across his limbs. Virgils unique use of dissonance was in evidence, and yet the piece, with it distinct movements, really does come across as an orchestrated whole, both in terms of the use of dissonance and harmony in each movement, and the evolution of the time and groove across each movement. Extremely compelling would be a good description, you really have to hear it. He performed it at both events, and I really did start to "get it" at the second event, if you see what I mean. At Wembley he did mention that it will be included on his upcoming solo album, so watch this space folks- when live musicians are added it is going to be something truly special!

After the opening piece, Virgil launched straight into some of the most awesome playing I thnk I have ever seen, from him or anyone. Starting with some staggering broken and syncopated patterns with the feet, at ridiculous tempos, with a heavy groove over the top with the hands, then into some of his classic evolving polyrhythmic patterns between left/right limb pairs. Well from there it became a bit of a blur, but every time I see one of his solos, there are some new, barely believable weapons added to his arsenal. This man looks like he simply refuses to stagnate in terms of technique and ability. I'm not sure if it was the close proximity to the audience, but at Reading he seemed to play with a real fury. Mistakes were made, sticks interfered with each other or were dropped, complex coordination was lost at ridiculous tempos, but these only served to make the show that bit special, because I really got the impression that Virgil was pushing himself right up to, and beyond his limits, and those shared moments of uncertainty seemed to resonate with the audience. Each time he simply gathered himself (several times with a little smile), and played on with a renewed intensity. And each time he flurried and crashed on a downbeat, and sat back slightly, we started to rise to our feet in applause, but he lifted the sticks again, and we were off on another rhythmic journey.

Flabbergasting. I have never seen him look so tired, and yet after the solo section (which must have gone on for well over an hour) he talked us through some of his new ideas, a workshop on rudiments, took questions, gave us a tour-de-force of double strokes with the feet, went through all the exercises on his handouts, and still had enough energy for a full-speed rendition of Dog Boots.

Simply amazing. The man is a powerhouse, and yet his touch and sensitivity with the sticks is awesome. And throughout all this, he was humerous, personable, and plainly very tired by the end of it all. I'm not sure if he came out after a rest to sign autographs, but by that time I felt he had done more than enough for me, so I left with my brother-in-law for the quiet, and reflective journey home.

Thank you Virgil for giving your all. Simply amazing.

09-30-2005, 07:08 AM
Wonderful review, thank's! CGrieves. Sound's like he left quite an impression.


09-30-2005, 07:59 PM
Wow. Another amazing performance... that I missed. :(

Wankmaster Joe
10-01-2005, 12:04 AM
Does Virgil ever come down south? Like Georgia or something?