REVIEW: Pearl Day 2008

A 'Vision' of success? - Rhythm's Jake Stacey ventures to Nottingham for Pearl Day 2008.

Set within the Arcadian fields of Nottingham University campus, the East Midlands Conference Centre played host to Pearl Music Europe's annual exposition of its finest wares, ably demonstrated by some big name players and topped off with a smattering of clinics and signing sessions.

The guys at Pearl spared no expense putting on a great show, with no less than three separate performance areas, two soundproofed booths, and as much shiny drum goodness as you could, quite literally, shake a stick at.

Pearl transported their entire Frankfurt Messe display to Nottingham, and displayed marching and orchestral percussion, their world music ranges, clothing line, and a selection of signature and standard snare drums.

Taking centre stage in the main exhibition room was a gargantuan Masterworks kit featuring no less than four bass drums and a hand-painted Spider-man style 'webbing' finish - a theme reinforced by the black racking that seemed to surround the kit like a spiderweb.

Striking as it was, the Spider-kit wasn't the hot story of the show. That honour was reserved for Pearl's replacement for the legendary Export Series - the all-new Vision Series. Replacing the world's best-selling drumkit was never going to be an easy task, but with the Vision Series it looks like Pearl has redefined the market category it created in the first place. Available in three distinct shell flavours - the VMX, featuring 100% maple shells, VBX (100% birch) and VSX/VX (blended birch shells) the Vision Series features Pearl's professional hardware packs and a huge variety of finishes and features to suit all budgets. The VMX and VBX kits offer premium lacquer finishes, and the VSX offers 'Ultra-exotic' wrapped finishes, whilst the VX offers solid colour wrap to keep prices down.

Pearl also had a selection of mouthwatering kits on display selected from its full-custom Masterworks range, the Reference range, and kits from both the Masters Premium and Masters MCX ranges.

On hand to demonstrate the goods were a selection of Pearl artists. There was a main clinic stage, in which Robin Guy, Darrin Mooney, Jimmy Degrasso and the legendary Ian Paice each strutted their stuff, taking questions from the audience and dispensing hard-earned wisdom to the punters.

Not content with just one stage, Pearl also had the Vision Stage, located in the main exhibition hall, and upon which Adam Perry, Moose, and Dan Foord each played along to four of their best-known tracks. Dawne Adams offered two workshops in the Percussion Room - a samba class using Pearl's Brazilian percussion range, and an introduction to some of the basic latin rhythms such as rumba, bembe and songo. With the event compared by Ian Palmer (whose company, Palmerlive is again presenting the 'World's Greatest Drummer' show, 15th November 2008) and such an array of fantastic gear and incredible talent, Pearl Day 2008 was a resounding success.

Chris Barnes

I'm MusicRadar's eCommerce Editor. It's my job to manage the buyer's guides on MusicRadar and help musicians find the right gear and the best prices. I'm a guitarist and a drummer and I've worked in the music gear industry for 18 years, including 7 years as Editor of the UK's best-selling drum magazine Rhythm, and 5 years as a freelance writer working with many of the world's biggest musical instrument brands including the likes of Roland, Boss, MusicRadar and Natal.