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Rackett’s Bec

Report: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne (unless captioned otherwise)

For the 4th year in a row punters were quick getting out of the barriers at Caulfield Racecourse to get inside the Melbourne Guitar Show and check out the 3 levels of fretted instrument fun. Outside the Triple M street team were keeping the new arrivals entertained with their Guitar Hero karaoke machine and good vibes.

Brand-wise, all the major names were either on the ground level electric floor or acoustic level two, alongside the new, boutique, rare and collectable. Each year the exhibitors go that extra step further in presenting appealing, well stocked booths, making it near impossible not to pick up a guitar and have a play.

Back in 2015, Rohan Stevenson made his live debut of his electric music project I Built The Sky at the Melbourne Guitar Show. This year Rohan kicked off the guitar show’s Aon Mezzanine Stage program with his first live foray into acoustic guitar music and he immediately won fans with his dexterity. Meanwhile upstairs Adam Miller and band were christening our new Aon Whammy bar stage, with Adam showcasing his versatility.

Day one in the Winners Circle Workshop Room delivered a series of informative sessions including one on AMEB’s Rockschool syllabus, James Ryan demoing the amazing Positive Grid, BIAS MINI GUITAR amp, then later James talked up the new VOX range of gear. Joshua Munday put the Boss GT-1000 through its paces, Maton’s head of Research and Development Patrick Evans chatted about the Maton AP5 pro pickup, Cole Clark ran a session their guitars and their Neil Kennedy basses, and the room finished up with Melbourne heavy flamenco trio Malcura playing their Katoh Guitars.

On the ground level, not only were attendees getting an ear full of great guitar tones, they were also treated to some fabulous on-stand appearances as well. Fender didn’t hold back in presenting some high profile artists, such as the wonderful Bec Sandridge, Abbey Stone, Slowly Slowly, and Harts. On the CMC Music stand, some great performances were being delivered by The Omnific, Damnations Day, and Jimi Baruta and Kyle Borg, utilising Ernie Ball Music Man guitars. Dean Gaudoin and Bernardo Soler provided such positive latin vibes coming out of the Eastgate Music/EGM stand early in the morning too.

The Aon Whammy Bar was also the scene of the first real gig for the Dave Leslie Band. In between Baby Animals duties Dave has put together a crackin’ band Alex Deegan, Travis Clark and Laura Davidson and they made many a new fan with their energetic mix of covers and Baby Animals obscurities.

Our headliner, UK guitar legend Albert Lee was up next and attracted the biggest crowd ever assembled at a Melbourne Guitar Show stage. Albert didn’t disappoint with a lively set, reminiscent of his current live album Live at the Iridium. At 70 plus years old, Albert’s fingers are as slick as ever and the guitar-centric crowd appreciated having such a global guitar icon in the house. Taking a breather from guitar to play piano, Albert displayed his diversity as a performer, nailing the Jimmy Webb classic The Highwayman. It was the perfect launch for Albert’s extensive Australian tour which runs throughout August.

Elsewhere in the venue, Daniel Champagne was showcasing his fingerstyle virtuosity, Ben Kelly was dazzling with his unique musical stylings and over at Cafe Corner I Heart Guitar’s Peter Hodgson was hosting his informative Meet the Players sessions.

Four piece all-female rockers Rackett hit the Whammy Bar with force, providing punters with a performance to remember, followed soon after by the incredibly talented and down to earth Scott Darlow.

Nick Charles led his merry bunch of acoustic guitar pickers through an enchanting journey featuring Fiona Boyes, Justin Bernasconi, Ed bates, Charlie Bedford and Alex Burns, who was a last minute fill in for Phil Manning (we wish Phil well and hope he’s on the mend).

It was fantastic to see so many families in the house too, with many kids having their first ever taste of playing a guitar. As for the bigger kids, many who came empty-handed, seemed to be leaving with their dream purchases. Day one may have been over but there was a full day of fun still to come.

Zevon Hiltz
Zevon with Abbey Stone
Cat Canteri
Alison Ferrier

Abbey Stone with Fiona Boyes

Dave Leslie



Jeff Lang

Justin Bernasconi
Albert Lee

Ben Kelly

Adam Miller

Cole Clark’s Miles Jackson with Jamie Pye
Daniel Champagne

Charlie Bedford
Nick Charles
Ed Bates



Scott Darlow

Johnny Salerno, Jack Jones (Irwin Thomas) and Adam Miller. pic Greg Phillips
Rohan Stevenson . pic Greg Phillips
Australian Musician interview with Albert Lee for Ernie Ball Music Man


Australian Musician interview with Harts for Fender
Bec Sandridge Fender stand. By Greg Phillips

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