Had we been remotely inclined to listen to its detractors’ bleating in the run-up to the event, the London Bass Guitar Show 2015 was going to be The One The Biggest Manufacturers Did Not Bother Attending and The One Where The Noise Is So Bad You Can’t Hear Yourself Thinking, Let Alone Playing Bass and so, as a consequence, The One With No Ticket Sales. How wrong can you be?
I’ve got news both for those detractors and for The Biggest Manufacturers Who Did Not Attend – the show did incredibly well, even without you. The punters (the real, supportive ones) kept thronging in throughout the weekend, most stands were swamped with visitors most of the time, and I’ve got the photos to prove it.
The Shows Within The Show
As every year, this time too we were treated to some amazing – and amazingly inspirational – masterclasses in the conference room, and some great performances in the auditorium and at the stands.
When I’m forced by the timetable to choose whether to attend a performance or a masterclass, I tend to favour the latter, as I find it gives us a more intimate and insightful experience. Every year the show has allowed me to see at least one of my lifelong idols. The stars talk about themselves, their beginnings, dreams, aspirations, and triumphs, and give us good advice. At the end of their talks we can walk up to them, shake their hands, chat with them and comment on what they’ve just told us. This experience alone is worth the entrance fee to the show.
On Saturday I started with Steve Lawson and his mesmerising use of pedal effects. He was later joined on stage by Ruth Goller.
The next masterclass I made it to was by one of my idols, Billy Sheehan. What can I say? Awesome, inspirational, and also very approachable.
I also managed to catch Jah Wobble’s class, and was very happy I did, as I didn’t know much about him before now.
On Sunday I did my best to catch at least some of the performances or masterclasses I had missed the day before. Unfortunately the performance by Mark King which I had to miss on Saturday wasn’t repeated on Sunday; however, I saw Yolanda Charles with her band, in the auditorium, after attending the first half of Divinity Roxx’s masterclass.
Another masterclass I initially attended out of sheer curiosity was Lee Rocker’s. I thought I might have a quick look and then move on, and instead I ended up not just staying the whole time, but also loving every second, tapping my foot and bopping like mad to his fantastic rockabilly double bass playing. I’m a fan now!
The masterclass/performance schedule was very tight, but luckily I could enjoy Lee’s talk in its entirety before moving to the next one – I wasn’t prepared to miss Stuart Hamm’s performance for anything in the world. He has been at the show in the past, and has always wowed me not just with his sheer chops and talent but also with his infectious love of bass playing and good advice. This time it was no different!
This year I had to miss seeing Doug Wimbish and Ethan Farmer – I’m determined to catch them next time they’re in town.
The Basschat Connection
Although this year Basschat didn’t have a stand or a table of its own, I managed to meet up with a few fellow Basschatters who spotted me walking around with my Basschat lanyard round my neck (in addition to the press pass kindly provided by Blaze Publishing), and carrying two cameras. I even managed to take photos of some of them.
There are a number of fellow Basschatters I didn’t get round to taking a photo of, either because we met in a queue for a masterclass or performance, or because we were simply sitting and relaxing for a moment. Shout out to Wolverinebass; Verb; Tom Kent, Born to be Mild, Vic and Molan who were working at the Bassgear stand; jeanmarinoe; Sibob; Iamtheelvy; Kees; Marcin (Such); Stuart; Alex and Max (the Italian Connection 😉 )… any others, please do let me know if I forgot to mention you!
And this is yours truly in a photo by Seashell 🙂
The Exhibitors’ Stands
Even without “those” big names, the list was impressive and the GAS high! These are in alphabetical order.
I only started playing bass later in life, and I have chosen to do it just for my own enjoyment, without joining a band or playing live.
I am a contributor to Bass Guitar Magazine and a moderator on Basschat, Europe’s largest online discussion forum for electric and double bass players.