No sooner had the 2011 MusikMesse show wrapped up in Frankfurt, we found ourselves boarding a Lufthansa airliner to the Adams Drummers Festival in Tessenderlo, Belgium, just 80km outside of Brussels. It was the first stop for both Jojo Mayer and Mike Portnoy as each embarked on a tour throughout select European cities.
Tessenderlo is a gorgeous town just outside Belgium and the annual Adams Drummers Festival is a perennially sold out event. Held inside a well appointed cultural center, the event crackles with energy, both onstage and off.
This stop was scheduled strictly as a signing session for artists Jojo Mayer and Mike Portnoy; however, SABIAN artist Mark Schulman performed along with talented bass player Eva Gardner, giving fans a taste of Pink`s killer rhythm section. The mad wedding drummer Steve Moore also put on an enthusiastic set, eventually joined by Mike Portnoy, much to the crowd’s delight!
From there the tour split – Jojo on to Hamburg for clinic dates and Mike to Rome for a string of Meet & Greets.
Jojo Mayer High Energy Clinics Sell Out
Armed with backing tracks from his band Nerve, Jojo Mayer kicked off the tour in Hamburg to a full house at the spectacular Just Drums shop. Residing in a massive, imposing structure built during WWII, the huge rooms are separated by meters thick concrete walls! It’s an impressive venue and Jojo set the room on fire with his mix of Dubstep, Drum`n`Bass and Electronica beats.
The consummate professional, Mayer performs, then tirelessly answers questions from his awestruck all-ages audience. Kids and adults alike strain their necks for a glimpse of his legendary bass drum footwork and his lightning fast snare and high-hat stickwork. And once the last question has been asked, Mayer plays more, then ends the night signing autographs for the happy crowd.
This routine was to repeat at every stop. In Cologne, 400 people packed the Die Kantine nightclub for a clinic hosted by Drumcenter. The bright and colourful Die Kantine, with its rock`n`roll grafitti walls and eclectic lighting sculptures made a fantastic backdrop for Mayer`s beats. In Karlsruhe, an impressive sound-treated studio venue built by Rock Shop to present clinics and showcase PA and lighting systems was full to capacity – it was a spectacular sounding room. In scenic Waldkirch, just outside Freiburg, the Drumhouse (wow, a very impressive collection of vintage drums and drum memorabilia indeed) hosted the show in a cultural center directly across the cobblestone street. Each event was a full house, leaving our gracious dealer hosts very happy.
Mike Portnoy signs thousands of autographs!
While Jojo was busy electrifying Germany, Mike made his enthusiastic fans very happy by signing posters, CDs, records, clothing, bags, even skin! Kicking off his tour in Rome, Mike signed autographs for 400 fans Monday evening at Drum School L’Ottava, then 650 more on Tuesday at Music Store Cherubini. Both were record-breaking attendances!
Next up for Mike was a stop in Niederlenz, Switzerland for a session at Musik Productiv, where 250 turned out to meet him. Then it was back to Germany, where Mike travelled to Thomann in Treppendorf for a Meet & Greet with 300 eager fans. Once again, both attendances were record-breaking, making for some very happy SABIAN dealers, not to mention fans.
Reunited, and it sounds so good
And then we all met up again in Frankfurt for a signing at Sessions Music, followed by Jojo`s final clinic in Germany. Mike would head back home to the US the next morning, while Jojo boarded an airliner to Switzerland for a last pair of clinics before joining his band Nerve in Tel Aviv for a two-week concert tour.
A fantastic conclusion to the Musikmesse season, the tours were also a wonderful opportunity to witness the high level of professionalism and talent on display from two superb drummers. Both demonstrate a deep respect for their fans and a genuine desire to help young drummers reach the same high level of success they themselves have worked so hard to achieve. Here`s hoping we can do it all again next year!
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