On a whim, I bought a ticket top see the Yamato Drummers at Reading’s Hexagon. No idea at the time what they were like although it would be fair to say I was confident there would be lots of hitting large drums.
Downstairs was full and a chunk of the balcony too so an audience of maybe 600 people, waiting for the drummers to appear on stage.
I had wondered how interesting an evening of Taiko drumming could be but they’d already thought of that. The performance (with an interval) was several epic drumming sessions interspersed with crowd interaction and comedy slapstick with small drums or hand cymbals which also allowed them to take a break from strenuous activity and rearrange the instruments.
The Yamato drummers are an impressive group of people with significant stamina. You didn’t need to wonder how they kept it up as it was pretty clear how fit at least their core players. This was highlighted with a piece where some of the drummers sat on the raised stage with their backs to the audience, each facing a huge odaiko drum set on it’s side; stripped to the waist, gleaming with sweat, pounding away with what looked like rolling-pin-sized drumsticks.
I was genuinely enjoying myself and frequently smiling so will definitely look out for them on their next European tour that includes the UK.