“Recycled Percussion” delivered more than just banging on trash cans to the West Chester audience on Thursday March 22 in Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall. “Recycled Percussion” is a group of four guys- one disc jockey and three drummers- who simply love to make music using trash. Throughout their performance, their instruments consisted of trash buckets, plastic paint buckets, ladders, chain saws, giant waste barrels, duct tape, their own bodies and voices and even the kitchen sink.
From the minute the audience walked into the concert hall, an enthralling performance was imminent. The dcor of the stage was indicative of what was to come, with an interesting array of blue, red and green lights, the drum sets of trash set up on stage with the DJ’s turn table directly behind, and a vast variety of rock music blaring through the speakers.
As “Recycled Percussion” prepared to hit the stage, all the lights on stage went out and an arena style introduction over the PA system took place, describing the upcoming performance as a “serious massive rock show.” DJ Pharaoh hit the stage first to get the crowd moving and ready for the drummers.
When Justin Spencer, Greg Kassapis and Ryan Vezina stormed on to the stage, the intensity never dropped until the show was over. They came out loud and they came out strong, blowing the audience away, getting them into a frenzy, forcing them to stand and clap to the beat.
The beats were fast-paced and intense throughout most of their songs, so much so that sweat was rolling off of their bodies midway through the first song. There were not any long pauses in between songs, keeping the performance moving at lightening speed.
The DJ’s music accompanying the drumming throughout all the songs added a nice touch to the night’s performances to round it out, especially since the DJ did not drown out the sound of the drummers, or vice versa.
The trio of drummers stopped at nothing for entertainment. They never stayed at one set of drums. Rather, they jumped over each other’s sets to switch it up. They twirled the drumsticks in their hands during songs, toss them in the air only to catch them and continue on beat, and even toss the sticks to each other- never missing a beat.
Vezina did a solo performance halfway through the show. This time, his body was the drum set, and his hands the drumsticks which added an interesting element to the show. Spencer and Kassapis each added their own twist to the show as well, beatboxing alone and then together as a duet. DJ Pharaoh added his own break dancing during Spencer’s and Kassapis’s performance.
The second half of the show became even more intense, when ladders were brought out to be banged upon and Spencer demonstrated his speed, tapping the drumstick 20 times in one second making him the fastest single stroke drummer in the world. The finale appeared the most dangerous, but also the most exciting. As the chain saws were pushed against the metal support beams, not only was there an added element to the sound, but a light show also ensued.
One of the reasons “Recycled Percussion” was able to keep so many people interested in the show was because of the audience participation. From tossing drumsticks to audience members and asking it to be tossed back during a performance to bringing volunteers on the stage for a mini-competition.
“Recycled Percussion” delivered everything it said it would, right to the very end. The show was intense, fast-paced and one of the best touring percussion performances out there.
Before they make it bigger, they might want to consider hiring a new person whose sole job is to pump up the crowd before DJ Pharaoh takes the stage. Just giving away free posters does not entice the amount of energy this time of performance demands.