Monday, June 30, 2008

London International Music Show Part 1

Hi All,

The 12-15th of June was all lined up to be a high point of the year for musos, and gear addicts in particular, with the London International Music Show taking place at Excel in Dockland's.

LiMS is in fact an amalgam of previous music trade fairs focusing individually on guitars, drums and music tech, so the question was... was it really bigger, or did it just have more stuff that I didn't want to look at?

Well the answer to that questions was simple, it 'felt' smaller than last year's Guitar Show and for some odd reason, no doubt to do with local councils, you couldn't even buy anything priced above £25! This latter fact had some types looking like extras from a Sam Raimi film...wandering round looking but not touching with credit cards hanging uselessly in their hairy hands. Eeek!

In these days of the on-line retailer it did make me wonder whether the show was there to further encourage people to ignore their local guitar shop in favour of the faceless .com. We'll all regret it when it's too late!

Another odd side-effect of the 'sales ban' was that there seemed to be far fewer people actually trying gear out than last year - was this for fear of wanting to buy something and being told 'guitar denied!' in true Wayne's World style? Maybe, but surely it doesn't help the industry does it?

But the LiMS is not just about the gear, it's about performances too and Shredders...we were well catered for! I was there on the Saturday which meant Jamie Humphries, Dave Kilminster and the outstanding Guthrie Govan set the stage on fire as a Cornford Amplifiers endorsee billed 'C3'. We were later treated to the incredible and legendary Billy Sheehan doing crazy things on a bass further assisted by Mr Govan.

A real chemistry showed through with these two and the mouth watering prospect of a future collaboration between Sheehan and Govan was left hanging in the air! I've got my fingers crossed!

If that wasn't enough, next up was a man well known to Shred Academy...Paul Gilbert. Paul is of course responsible for more shredders taking to the strings than any other guitarist as a result of his terrifying teaching videos and outstanding recording career with Racer X, Mr Big and his solo work. Paul played a jaw dropping clinic style set with backing tracks and you could hear people breaking their own fingers in disgust! Strangely he didn't join former band mate Sheehan on stage...

Phil Hilborne hit the stage next but I've seen Phil before, and he's a real entertaining guitarist with top chops, but there was only so much time in one day, so I hopped out awaiting the headliner...

Yngwie J. Malmsteen!

What is there left to say about this guy? His influence is everywhere and his playing grossly underrated in my opinion. I particularly love his interpretation of classic rock and blues style solos that most people never hear - check out his version of Carry On My Wayward son for example - amazing!

So the opportunity to see the legend was top of my 'not to miss' list. BUT...

The organisation had been a mess...all the timings were well over an hour out of sync by the end of the day (perhaps they had a drummer organising it LOL) and people were drifitng out early (nothing to do with the price of parking, beer or food..RIGHT!), so Yngwie exploded on to stage to a half empty auditorium. To make matters worse, his tone was awful!

I know we say it's all in the fingers, but if your amp sounds rough and the FOH sound is poor there's nothing really you can do even if you're YJM. It looked as if Yng was playing through a DSL, but it sounded like a cheap combo out front. To top this he was playing along to backing tracks in a very 'OK where's the cheque?' sort of way, hilariously shouting 'Track 1, 2, 3, 4 etc' to the sound engineer between numbers! the time I heard Yngwie bark out the order 'Track 5' I'd had enough and went back to try out more gear. I'm sorry but I'd rather keep good memories of Yngwie than this performance. I'm certain his live tour next month with a real band will see him back to majestic form...let's hope so!

Sunday had a performance from Joe Satriani that I couldn't make, so tell us all about that if you were there.

I'll be back with LiMS Part 2 to share some of my thoughts on the gear I tried out...yum, yum!

Now stop wasting time on the net and go and shred!

Shred Bloggs

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