Yamato: The Drummers of Japan performed at the Redland Performing Arts Centre last Friday night (16 August).
Their new show is called 'Passion', a pounding barrage of sound that cannot be ignored. Sending shockwaves through your body, your eyes indecisive as they dart across the stage. Heart rate elevated and breathing deep the drumming pauses, a brief moment of respite. That is when you notice they haven’t even used their biggest drum yet . . .
Not only does Yamato blast your ears and body with a thunderous noise only akin to stampeding elephants, it is a spectacle for your eyes too! Great care has gone into the choreography of the show. While they spin, banging their drums strapped to their sides, my eyes are overwhelmed with the spectacle. Even when drumming standing still, their synchronised movements are a sight to see as their flowing clothes exaggerate their movements.
Performance was varied to keep things fresh over the two-hour show. It was exciting, wondering what will happen next as things get more and more ridiculous. Nothing seemed off-limits to Yamato. At one point, the massive drums were turned on their side. The men wrapped their legs around them and dangled off the platform. They proceeded to do sit-ups while hammering the drums.
The show surprised me with how funny it was. It had the whole audience laughing throughout. The funniest moments were the interludes with crowd interaction. These moments had as much function as comedy skits as drumming.
Time came for them to play their huge o-daiko drum. It had been teasingly sitting on stage until this moment. One of the performers brought out a drumstick of which is the size of a fence post. BOOM! The whole room shook under my feet. This drum is not just for shock value, it has a beautiful resonance with a large tail.
The large o-daiko was fantastically incorporated into the rest of the show. At one point three performers held it above another. They started to tilt it forward. It towered over him. He leaned back and pounded as much as his heart would let him. This is another example of the feat of strength and endurance from all the performers. Despite all this, they did not stop smiling throughout the entire show.
Yamato have performed thousands of times by now and it shows. 'Passion' is an explosive experience. Big booming drums that will vibrate to your very core. Comedy that will give you a big belly laugh. Energetic dancing that will bring a smile to your face. 'Passion' will leave you shaking with a lasting impression, an experience no recording can replicate. It cannot be missed.
Yamato's tour dates can be found here.