Review: Roland Main Event 3, 2009

Last weekend (Sunday 27 September) Roland UK hosted the third V-Drums Main Event in Birmingham. Featuring V-Drums stalwarts Johnny Rabb and Craig Blundell, perhaps the biggest surprise was the addition of Steve White to the line-up.

Compered by the inestimable John Thompson, the Main Event 3 featured live performances, a hands-on demo room and a panel Q&A session that also included Pink Floyd's Nick Mason as well as Craig, Johnny and Steve.

Whitey opened proceedings with a solo performance on the new TD-20KX, utilising an SPD-S to trigger tunes by Oasis, Stone Roses, New Order and Paul Weller, mixed together with Steve's trademark groove. He was joined by Damon Minchella to show that the TD-20KX works perfectly in a live setting.

Johnny Rabb was next, and he demonstrated the versatility of the TD-20KX and the SPD-S, talking the audience through the many features the revised module allows. Raul Midón unwittingly lent his talents as well, the American adding a latin-style groove to Midón's acoustic track, and he finished with a one-man house and d'n'b performance, utilising the pitch modulation features in real-time to emulate processed synth sounds.

After a short break, Thompson introduced Craig Blundell who, bathed in bright white light, unleashed a blistering display of acoustic drum mastery and electronic wizardry throughout, cementing his place as one of the UK's most progressive drummers and producers. Craig also demonstrated the versatility of the Roland Handsonic, playing fulsome grooves using a foot trigger as well, and demonstrated the d-Beam and ribbon controllers.

Nick Mason joined host John Thompson and the rest of the the line-up for a Q&A session that explained the new features of the TD-20KX and the newly expanded TD-4KX.

Roland UK put on an excellent event, showcasing both entertainment and information and demonstrating that the V-Drum line is more relevant to modern music than ever.

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.