I genuinely love the sound made by a drummer using a practice pad. I love the sound of a full kit as well, but there is something about a steady measure on a practice pad that is also cool. You tap into the essence of the rhythm and the beauty of what can be played with just two sticks and a flat surface that has a bit of bounce. And despite its sound limitations, you can still explore a range of expression with a practice pad. The playing can be energetic, soulful, calming, or playful. It can run the full gamut.
As an example, check out this video featuring Ben Sesar, drummer for Brad Paisley, grooving on the Prologix Practice Pad. (He really gets into it at the 1:32 mark.)