While there are several events on the calendar for other types of musicians to get together, geek out over the latest instrument releases and see some of their heroes demonstrating said products, until now the world of percussion has been criminally under represented on the Australian trade show circuit. However the inaugural Sydney Drum and Percussion Show is set to change all of this when it comes to Rosehill Gardens Pavilion next month. We caught up with musician Lozz Benson to find out more.
Having been organised by the Australian Music Association, the group behind the very popular Melbourne Guitar Show, the expo will take place over the course of a weekend, offering clinics, demonstrations, seminars and performances from some of the most talented drummers and percussionists in the country.
Benson is one of those performers, who not only has held down rhythmic duties for the likes of Urthboy and Pat Capocci, but helms her own rockabilly and blues act That Red Head. Benson can be found most nights of the week gigging with one of her many projects, which also include Drummer Queens, The JHD Revival Band and Rackett, and has developed a reputation as one of the foremost rockabilly drummers in the country. This was recognised when she won the AUDW Best Female Drummer Award and the Drumtek Best Up And Coming Drummer competition. It was the latter award that led to her being asked to showcase at the upcoming drum show.
“My involvement with that has led to Frank [Corniolo of Drumtek] asking me to be a part of the drum expo in Sydney,” she says. “Part of the prize is winning some equipment and I’ll be playing those brands at the show. When I won the award I got endorsement from two particular brands, which include DW, MEINL and Promark sticks. I’ll be playing a DW drum kit and playing a set with my rockabilly band, then I’ll be playing a couple of things on the drums.”
As with the other performers on the day, Benson’s set will be a chance for drum fans to see a professional musician demonstrating their particular set of skills and area of speciality.
“This particular band that I’ll be playing with on the day is my own project, which is named after me - it’s called That Red Head because I have red hair,” says Benson. “It’s primarily rockabilly and blues. I feel like even though I love all different kinds of music - one of my favourite types of music is metal and punk - I think playing-wise what I’m really good at is shuffles and blues.
“It’s just a trio; it’ll be a double bass, a guitar and then me; I’ll be singing as well. We’ll be doing original material, just a couple of tunes so I can show a couple of different feels or grooves that I feel that I’m good at or that I really enjoy playing – your typical Chicago blues shuffle, your typical rockabilly Stray Cats straight ahead type feel.”
Some of the biggest brands in drum manufacture will be showcasing their products at the trade show and Benson is excited about not only performing but having the opportunity to see and try out some of the instruments first hand, as well as a chance to see some other world class drummers do their thing.
“Up until recently I wasn’t really a gear head, but after winning the competition and sussing out a couple of these brands I’ve really been getting into cymbals and drums,” says Benson. “I’m (also) excited to see some particular drummers - Thomas Lang for example, and Virgil Donati’s playing.”
There will also be several seminars and workshops happening throughout the event, covering a range of topics that will appeal to different drum aficionados. “That’s really exciting, learning about what technologies are available to us right now in the form of electronic stuff and triggers. I’m sure they’ll be covering everything from orchestral and traditional stuff so I think there’ll be something for everyone,” says Benson. “There’s going to be a bunch of seminars and demonstrations and it’s really going to be a lot of information and education. They’re just trying to put on a big day – you’ve got performances, you’ve got workshops, you’ve got stuff for gear heads, you’ve got stuff for people that are interested in different genres.
“These shows don’t come around often and a lot of work and effort goes into making them exciting and educational,” says Benson. “So if you can make it, you should definitely get down because there’ll be something for everyone - if you’re a beginner, or you’re advanced, and it’s family friendly. It’s going to be an awesome day out, so if you can book it in, book it in.”
The Sydney Drum & Percussion Show will take place on Saturday May 27-Sunday May 28 at the Rosehill Garden Pavilion, Sydney. For more information head to australianmusician.com.au/sydney-drum-percussion-show-2017. For tickets head to ozticks.com.au.