REVIEW: Gavin Harrison clinic 18/03/10

The healthy turnout at Mr Kyp´s in Poole, Dorset, was an indication of the calibre of performer set to tread the boards that evening. A healthy scattering of Porcupine Tree t-shirts also presented a sizeable clue.

Gavin Harrison is a wonder of the drum world but sadly, mainly due to a heavy touring/recording schedule, he hasn´t performed in clinic particularly regularly. This evening was going to be a real treat. On hearing that Gavin had also brought PT´s sound-man along for the ride meant that his stunning Sonor SQ2 was going to sound as good as it looked.

Taking to the stage Gavin spoke to the audience briefly before storming through PT´s ‘Sound Of Muzak´ to demonstrate the breadth of his plying. Rather than restricting the evening to his work with PT he performed a set of career-spanning tunes including an O5ric track that demonstrated his musical approach perfectly.

In a brief break in the evening Gavin invited his childhood inspiration and drum teacher Paul Brody to the stage to present him with a thank you gift - a Sonor snare drum. Proving he´s not a one-trick pony, Gavin then gave himself a workout on ‘Night In Tunisia´, his jazz chops shining and his former teacher beaming from the sidelines.

Mr Harrison graciously fielded an array of questions from the audience. Probing questions about odd-time playing and double kick led neatly into a demonstration of a section from PT´s ‘Anesthetize´, before Gavin spent time carefully breaking down the parts to rationalise them.

Gavin´s determination to ensure drummers took something away from the clinic was inspiring and, despite his superhuman grasp of polyrhythms and the like, each person in the room walked away with at least a handful of ideas to work on.

Rounding the evening off with a cool demo of his newest piece of kit, the Korg WaveDrum, a modern Big Band piece, and another PT track, it was a wholly successful night. Let´s hope Gavin doesn´t leave it too long before he takes his clinic to the rest of the country.

Many thanks to clinic hosts Poole Percussion for their hospitality.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. In addition to testing the latest music gear, with a particular focus on electronic drums, it's my job to manage the 300+ buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear for them at the best prices. I dabble with guitar, but my main instrument is the drums, which I have been playing for 24 years. I've been a part of the music gear industry for 20 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance music writer, during which time I worked with the world's biggest instrument brands including Roland, Boss, Laney and Natal.