This Little Underground: Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live

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  This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.
Drummed out: Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
  • Drummed out: Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
Drummed out: Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert) Beyond a string of credits alongside people like Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, Missing Persons and U.K., Terry Bozzio (Sept. 5, Plaza Live) has built a legacy of his own as a percussion pioneer. On his first North American solo drum performance, he rode into town on what’s billed as the “world's largest tuned drum and percussion set.” Just look at this thing
Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
  • Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert) Like an instrumental array from some H.R. Giger dream, this one-of-a-kind behemoth is more evocative and beautiful than most big-city urban art. It’s maybe the only solo kit out there that could break Neil Peart’s heart. I am totally a song person. However, when a guy sports a gasp-drawing spread like this, songs are the furthest thing from both mind and criteria. But that’s practically what we got. Although everything was done on percussion, this performance wasn’t just an exercise in rhythm. Melodically full in composition and expression, it was actual music made by drums, with a general idea similar to steel drums only pushed to its most extreme and maximalist conclusion. While in the belly of his own beast, Bozzio showcased his singularly melodic drumming style in dynamic, centipeding displays whose height was a live, attacking drum and bass passage. Occasionally, he’d step out from behind the city of drums to perform atmospheric numbers with hand and finger work on a cajón or a Korg Wavedrum percussion synthesizer.
Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
  • Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert)
Terry Bozzio at the Plaza Live (photo by James Dechert) With a kind of deeply narrative percussion style not usually seen in Western music, Bozzio takes drums from the backing structure and pushes them and all their seldom imagined possibility to the fore to create music that’s unreliant on any other accompaniment to sing. Instead of a superficially dazzling series of drum fireworks, his thoroughly musical performance is more of an immersively crafted thing that draws you in and transports you. It’s a transfixing live experience deluxe with concept and wonder.

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