The best drum solo performance I’ve ever seen

I was watching MUSIC HERO in Eat Bulaga, a contest of teenagers strutting their stuff with their musical instruments like the drums, piano, keyboard, saxophone, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, name it, they have it. It’s a portion that I look forward to in Eat Bulaga because I love seeing musical instruments, I love music, everybody loves music. And it’s fun to discover who will be the judges for the day, the icons and tried-and-tested musicians and singers, even showbiz personalites, of our country today, such as Pepe Smith, Ney Dimaculangan, Jeffrey Hidalgo, Jay Durias, Barbie Almalbis, Mark Escueta, and so many others.

I’m not a musician, but I super admire musicians. I don’t know how to play any musical instruments but I can brag that I know good music when I hear one. I can listen to mushy and silly love songs, ethnic, heavymetal, instrumental, Hawaiian, alternative, pop, Christian, rhythm and blues, novelty, even the videoke singing of my neighbor. My ears are flexible. And if there is one thing I admire about those young guns, it’s not their musicality, it’s their lakas ng loob.  I believe there are other young people out there that are musically gifted than them but just lack the lakas ng loob because of fear of losing or maybe they don’t watch TV (I know people who don’t watch TV). I observed that  most of the contestants I’ve seen performed in the competition are just good, but don’t come close to greatness.

“They’re still young, what do you expect?!” I hear you say. But I’ve seen a four-year old drummer and boy, he rocks!

In MUSIC HERO, there is a young drummer that already got in as one of the finalists. He’s enthusiastic with what he’s doing, he looks good while playing the drums, there is just one irritating quality, a big one, that I don’t like about his performance: his maniacal desire for speed. Each time, he would play his drums so fast, literally “strutting” his stuff, or just an arrogant display of skills in drum-playing despite him, smiling. I wasn’t happy. I love the drums. If I had time and resources, I would love to learn the drums. I just feel he’s lucky he got in because… there is no one better anyway. The finalists are in equal footing with one another. Too bad that each time this boy was on the stage, there was a different set of judges. I hope Mark Escueta was there, to give him a bit of advice. Jay Durias did that, when he judged the other set of contestants. He gave observations. But the second time he judged in MUSIC HERO, all he said was all positive but you can see by the look of his face that he did not enjoy the performances. (I don’t know if the production advised the judges to be kind and encouraging, to not be Simon Cowell, and just keep the real score to themselves.)

The teenaged drummer has it: talent. But he lacks soul. It was all porma. It was yabang pero walang angas. An impressive drum-playing doesn’t need to be fast, full of exhibitions to impress the judges. What I want to hear is good music, that’s all.

This solo drum performance by Mike Portnoy shows the right way. He’s doing what he feels he’s good at, you could feel that his body and the drum set are one, you could feel the rhythm, and because of that, I feel emotionally connected to him, to his drums that I feel empowered without knowing why. To the young ones who are already proud that they know how to play the drums, that they’re rockstars, maybe there is more to learn by watching this best solo drum performance I’ve ever seen by Mike Portnoy. (Thanks to Allen Uy who introduced me to him ancient’s ago.)

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