It started with online competitions among hundreds of drumming contestants in June. That was followed by eight regional events held in music stores across the US. And, finally, on Halloween, the Roland V-Drum Championships (US) took place at the Austin, Texas Convention Center, on the eve of the annual Percussive Arts Society Convention.
This event, the third annual US competition, serves to promote the drumming and programming skills of percussionists across the US. Each contestant performs for approximately five minutes, using a Roland TD-30 kit and SPD Sampling Pad. Winners are judged on creative use of the electronics as well as chops. The winner was a hometown boy, Austin's Patrick Kennedy, a band director and drummer who won the judges with a powerful chops-filled but melodic set. In addition to fabulous prizes, he'll represent the US at the V-Drum Finals in Frankfurt, Germany, next March. The runner up was Philip P.J. Hill. Youngster Ashton Leverett also won a Roland kit.
The show opened with Roland endorser Johnny Rabb playing a scorching set of funk and hip-hop inspired rhythms for the crowd. That was followed by performances by the eight finalists. While the judges deliberated Thomas Lang came on for a monster set that showed off the authentic acoustic sounds of the V-drums. Thomas played one of the standard Roland drum kits, and just wailed for the audience. Monstrous!
The Roland V-Drums Championships are sponsored in the US by American DJ, DRUM!, DW Hardware, Remo, and Vic Firth, in addition to Roland.
Johnny Rabb played a stylistically diverse, emotional set.
With the lights dancing off the Roland sets, the stage presented a vision of sonic power.
Contestant DeCarlo Davis of Winston-Salem, NC
Eventual contest winner Patrick Kennedy of Austin, Texas.
P.J. Hill was the runner-up.
Thomas Lang was in his usual incredible form.
Master of Ceremonies Tim Root of Roland, with Ashton Leverett.
Tim Root represents his favorite magazine sponsor.