We're back in the smoke for a few days, partly to do yet more clearing on the house but mostly to go to a concert with our friends.
And what a concert, because for a complete change we'd booked tickets for Mugenkyo, a group of British taiko drummers. If this sounds improbable, it is - most of the group are from Scotland and look rather as though they've just stumbled out of a pub on a back street in Glasgow at three o'clock in the morning. Looks can be deceiving, though, because they're all fully trained in the Japanese art of taiko; the group's leader Neil Mackie actually studied under a sensei in Japan. And it shows, because they are Good with a capital G.
Dave and I first saw them when we lived in Loughborough, when they played live at a street festival in the town. We'd never heard of them, but were so blown away by the sound that we stood and watched for over an hour. The subtleties and range of sounds the musicians get out of their drums are just incredible - everthing from a faint reverberating hiss to the sort of percussive pandemonium that nearly brings the ceiling down.
Last night was no exception - the rafters of Solihull theatre rang - and the group have added more theatrical style to their repertoire in the intervening years. The end result was loud, spectacular, moving, entertaining, and, er, did I mention loud?