Hello and welcome again to “BISCUIT’S BASSMENT.” In this month’s issue of Bass Musician Magazine, I’ll be reporting on a real low-end “Feast” for all of you “Bass Bandit’s” out there at: THE LONDON BASS GUITAR SHOW (hosted by Bass Guitar Magazine)!
The long awaited weekend had finally arrived, and it was now Saturday the 12th of March, 2011, where I found myself at the Olympia Conference Centre in London for the London Bass Guitar show, which was organized by BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE. It was the first day of what was hopefully going to be a fun filled event which would be jam-packed with bass players and music lovers alike from all over the world.
The big day had finally arrived and I was all geared up for what was to be a very busy, but equally exiting and enjoyable weekend. I had already camped down at my mother’s flat in Victoria West London the evening before, to be that bit closer to the tube line network the following day.
After what for me was an early night at 11.30pm, I rose the following morning at 7.30am to be welcomed into the day by the sunshine beaming through the windows. This, I thought, was going to be a wonderful day.
It was now 9.30 and the doors were opening at 10am, so I wanted to find the venue quickly and get my space in what I thought would be near the front of the queue. It turned out that the conference centre was only a five minute walk from the station and I quickly noticed the large crowd waiting in anticipation outside, which was already about two hundred yards long and three to four deep. It was now 9.40 and only twenty minutes until the doors opened. I had had a couple of T-shirts printed especially for the weekend, one for myself and the other was to be adorned by my good friend and assistant for the day Dave Bridge, on behalf of myself and Bass Musician Magazine. So T-shirted up and with pockets full of business cards, cameras and the odd bit of fluff and a few coins, I stood in line and awaited the opening of the doors. Some people in the queue recognized the Bass Musician Magazine logo on the shirt which prompted a few conversations regarding all things Bass of course, while we waited in the warmth of the mid morning sunshine.
Just around ten minutes before the doors opened, I was joined by my partner-in-crime Dave Bridge, who had also fortunately remembered to put his Biscuit/BMM T-shirt on, so we were now ready to go! Right on the dot at 10am the doors opened and the snake like queue “slid” quickly through those large glass doors which led to two lifts in the reception area. There were other shows going on at the conference centre aw well on different floors of the building, and the lift attendant informed us that the bass show was on the third floor, so don’t get mixed up and get out on floor two for the Dr. Who show, he said, which raised a smile or two, especially when I asked how I would “string up” and play a Dalek !
The doors of the lift finally opened on floor three and we all disembarked. The first thing I wanted to do was just have a good walk around and get a feel for the place and check out what was what and who was on which stall, etc, and just generally familiarise myself with the layout. There were thirty six stalls in all, so even with two days there, I quickly realised that I was never going to cover every one of them fully, so I decided that during my time spent at the show I would just cover the exhibitors I found to be the most Interesting and helpful etc, in my own opinion of course.
One of the first stalls we came across was Stall (B-1) “STRINGS AND THINGS” who were featuring a wide range of Ernie Ball “Music Man” basses, including the Stingray classic’s along with the Sterling and the Bongo. They were also to have John Clements, Dave Marks and Geoff Gascoyne available on the following day which would be Sunday, the 13th March for demo’s and general chat as well. All in all I found this Stall to be excellent, as it was quite large, very open, and well organised, It also had easy access to the excellently crafted and powerful yet beautiful Musicman basses which could be plugged in and played through the various Pandora effects and boxes together with headphones as well, which I thought was a fabulous idea.
The staff was very friendly, and courteous as well, which makes a world of difference in adding to a person’s enjoyment of such an event as this. This was especially the case with Alan “Big Al” Grant, who was all too eager to assist with any queries and talk enthusiastically about the Musicman range of basses and indeed bass and music in general… in fact, anything in between as well. He was a real gentleman and a breath of fresh air, and made me feel so welcome that I felt I had always known him. Well done Alan, top marks indeed!
You can find out all you need to know about Musicman basses by contacting “Big Al” and his team at www.stringsandthings.co.uk or by calling direct on 01273 440442.
As I made my way round, Dave headed off in another direction to collect info and return with details as I quickly realized that this show was going to need a two pronged “attack”, and it was filling up rapidly with the entire Bass-bashing-Bandit’s.
I ventured next towards stand (E-3) which was housing Jay Henson of “FIRST LINE DISTRIBUTION” who represents three real “Giants” of the bass world in the U.K., those being Eden Amplification, DR Handmade Strings, and Spector bass guitars. Now, with yours truly being an endorsing artist for Spector, I just had to pop over and meet Jay in person. Having made contact with him via email previously, I really felt we should put faces to our names. To my delight Jay was brilliant, and we had a real laugh at the stall, and of course I just had to get my hands on a Spector Euro or two as well and roll them through an Eden rig…Oh what joy, ha-ha.
While we were on the stand, I was joined by a guy named Kris Rodgers, a fellow bass player. He was also a friend of Dave Bridge, who by now was giving out BMM cards and chatting away to existing and possible new readers of our wonderful magazine. Kris and I decided to have a little jam on a couple of Spector Euro’s during which we were joined by none other than TM Stevens who popped in to say hello and see what we were up to. This was a highlight moment indeed, especially as Kris informed me that up till that point he was not aware who TM was.
Jay and I continued our chat and it was revealed that the new Spector Coda bass, the Doug Wimbish signature model, and the inspirational Legend series were there on display at the First Line stall, and the entire range of DR strings were also available as well, including the new DDT range and also the amazing “Neon’s” which looked absolutely amazing and are of course used by Mr. TM Stevens himself.
Time was moving on now, but I assured Jay that I would be back to see him the following day, although I could have spent all day with Jay and those Spector beauties.
You can find out more about Spector, Eden, and DR Strings by contacting Jay Henson directly at www.firstlinemusic.co.uk or by calling him on 01626 830 336.
Dave, who had now returned after his card distributions, joined me again and we moved on to what was the very next booth (E-4) which turned out to be the AGUILAR AMPLIFICATION stall where I was again joined by Dave’s friend Kris Rodgers. I hope the guys from Aguilar will forgive me, as I did not get their names with everything going on at the time. But I would like to send them my thanks for letting myself and Kris jam on their rig, it was a real blast. That Aguilar rig sure was a nice piece of “Kit” for sure.
You can find out all about Aguilar Amplification at www.aguilaramp.com or call (1)212 431 9109.
It was now time to move on again, so I headed off towards stand (C-3) HEADSTOCK DISTRIBUTION LTD, where I was welcomed by a gentleman by the name of Chris Taylor who is the Artist relations manager at HD, and who pointed out that he and the company were representing Laney and Ibanez, among others. They insisted that I try a bass or two…how could I refuse. So I took him up on his offer and obliged by grabbing a nice looking blue Ibanez and plugged in. I saw my now bass show partner and newly acquired mate Kris Rodgers approaching again who was up for another little jam, and this was yet another offer I could not refuse. So we played some sweet blues and after a while looked up to see that a little crowd had gathered to listen, which was really nice. Thanks to all at Headstock Distribution and to my pal Dave who was ever present and taking pictures for me.
Together with the vast array of basses on show, Headstock Distribution were also displaying the new Laney Richter and Nexus ranges and were also offering their super compact, but yet very powerful Promethean amps which are especially designed for the travelling musician.
Find out all you need to know about Laney and Ibanez by contacting Chris Taylor at www.headstockdistribution.com or calling directly on 0121 508 6666.
A Big thank you goes out to Chris and the staff at Headstock; it was a really enjoyable time spent with all.
I found myself being approached by people who had either recognized me by my name on the T-shirt through Facebook, or via various other websites, including of course Bass Musician Magazine. Thanks to everyone that came and spoke to me. I had a wonderful time just speaking to players and fans of the low end as a whole. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits,
After having numerous conversations about all that was going on and handing out many BMM cards to the public it was off in search of new low-end level delights.
On my next walkabout I encountered so many exhibitors that it would take up the whole magazine to tell you about them all individually. But here are just a few of the exhibiting stalls and products that I checked out along the way; BOSE, D’Addario, Elixir Strings, GB Guitars, G&L, JHS, Mansons, Orange, Overwater, Peavey, Gallien Krueger, Mark Bass, Status, Trace Elliot, Yamaha, and Bass Direct.
For starters, on the Saturday March 12th performance list, at 10.30, Dave Marks would be doing his master class. He’ll discuss what it’s like to be a working musician, and having worked with Larry Carlton, Albert Lee, Carl Palmer, and many more, Dave should certainly know a thing or two. Then at 11am there was Troy Antunes, in association with Eden Amplification and First Direct performing on the main stage, followed at noon by the legendary Mark King of Level 42 who would be conducting the official opening ceremony at the show.
TM. Stevens was bashing out at 12.15pm with his very own master class which was a must see if at all possible. TM would be followed by Gary Willis (Aguilar/Ibanez) on stage at 1.00pm, and then Marco Mendoza (Yamaha/Ashdown) at 2:00pm conducting his master class, before Mark King who takes the stage again at 3.00pm.
Janek Gwizdala (TC Electronic and Fodera basses) would host the last of the Master classes of the day just before the last main stage performance by Marco Mendoza at 5pm.
What a magnificent line up for the very first day at the show I thought, as I headed off in the direction of some of the other stall-holders that I felt I just had to see. These stalls were to house the likes of THE BASS MERCHANT, TAURUS AMPLIFICATION, MAYONES GUITARS AND BASSES, KORG U.K. (HARTKE), SOUND TECHNOLOGY, and ROTOSOUND.
As I turned to walk towards the first of these stalls, I realised that the show would be closing for the day in twenty minutes, and I wouldn’t have time to catch up with all of the guys that I wanted to and get a full report for you to read inside the realms of April’s issue of Bass Musician Magazine. I will present the second part in the May 2011 issue of BMM to complete the story.
It had been a long day, but a fabulous one, that was made so enjoyable by all of the Exhibitors and all of the bass players that enjoyed the day equally as much as I had. Just as I was leaving, I bumped into Jason How of Rotosound, who said it would be great to have a chat to which I agreed wholeheartedly. But we both agreed that as it had been quite a day and we would leave that conversation for the next day. And with that said, I headed off back to South West London for that well deserved Cold Real Ale.
Catch up with the second part of my review of the London Bass Guitar Show (Sunday 13th March) in the May 2011 issue of Bass Musician Magazine. You will be able to read all about that conversation that took place with Jason, and much more. The best is yet to come…don’t miss it, eh.
Peace and Respects always,