Engaging, witty, ferocious, awesome – a few of the words muttered in and around Elizabeth College Performing Arts Centre last Saturday during and after Jason Bowld’s drum masterclass. An audience of 120 were treated to nearly 2 hours of groove metal, drum and bass, rock and even some Brazilian and African rhythms as Jason battered his Mapex kit nearly into submission. Mums or Dads brought their drumming children, musos turned out before heading off to their own gigs and many went simply to see a top level performer up close. The man’s CV speaks volumes for his own abilities not only as a drummer but also a composer and contributor to some household names – Bullet for my Valentine, Pop Will Eat Itself, Killing Joke and Bill Bailey to name a few. He also contributes to the Rockschool programme of learning and it was his ability to teach across the levels which I think resonated most throughout the event. Throughout the session he played along to a range of tracks demonstrating rock, metal, drum and bass and across a number of pieces from the Rockschool grades. He simplified drum patterns and explained the idea of using rudiments musically – at a variety of tempos such that everyone left with many things to practise at home. His double bass drum technique had the front rows pressed into their seats and the older members of the audience appreciated de-mystifying Steve Gadd’s “upside down” fill in the Rickie Lee Jones track “Chuck E’s in Love”. The “venue” was perfect for a clinic of this type – decent lighting and sound with a perfect view of the stage. Jason was more than approachable after the event to answer drumming questions, explain what’s it like to play Download festival and to jump into the hot seat with Bullet for My Valentine’s arena tour on 3 days’ notice. Congratulations must go to Wayne Mahy and Thirst Music School for bringing Jason over and in putting on a thoroughly professional show; think London Drum Show and that’s an idea of the professionalism of the event. The evening ended with a prize draw – the top prize of a signed Mapex kit won by Toby Walker. Here’s to the next one Wayne and Thirst Music School! Review by Darran James