A little madnes for the weekend: Rodney Branigan

I dropped into the London International Music Show this afternoon which is on through the weekend in the Excel conference centre in Docklands.  Funny old event really. Packed with guitar showrooms. And would be guitar heros and rock chicks. Very noisy. I'm going to sound like an old fart but the point of blues and rock music was that you felt it. Now it has been transmuted into a leisure activity teenagers were strutting out with Guitar Hero III on xbox with no embarassment alongside others pulling agonized expressions as they showed off their guitar chops. The age range was vast because the baby boomers can afford to extend their guitar collections. I saw a pedal for £29 which emulated a dozen classic amps, a dozen classic cabinets and a dozen effects.  For the price of a couple of DVDs. More functionality than you will ever use for an impulse price point.

My two highlights were hanging out on the Ableton Live stand to watch a demonstrator who really knew what he was doing demonstrate how to build up a track in about 10 minutes. Then do the same again for a DJ set. Very educational. And how ironic that the margin in the music business is being made on hardward and kit. But the expertise the bit that was really valuable was being given away for nothing.  Steve Vai is holding court next door for 3 hours on Saturday. But it is the sales of guitars and amps that nobody needs which is really going to pay for it.

My other highlight was walking round a corner. And spotting this chap Rodney Branigan playing 2 guitars at once. Something I had never seen done in 40 years of guitar playing. Enjoy.



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