Monday, 16 July 2012

A few photos from the weekend at Guilfest 2012 Please note that the photographs in this blog post are the property of Gavin Wilson - please ask permission before copying and - when using elsewhere on the internet - please credit and link back to this blog post. Thank you!
Apologies for not being able to post here on Guitarz over the weekend. I was at Guilfest in Surrey. By way of a post today I am going to share a selection of my photos from the weekend. Gary Numan (above) headlined the Good Times Guide stage on Saturday night. Although predominantly known for electronic music, Numan has had the same Gibson Les Paul since he was a teenager and has used it at every gig since early Tubeway Army days in the late 1970s.

Veteran reggae performer Jimmy Cliff proved that he still has the tunes and the moves! He's quite energetic for a 64-year old.

Nile Rodgers and Chic performed a fantastic set of greatest hits from Chic, Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Madonna ("Like A Virgin") and David Bowie ("Let's Dance"). Rodgers was keen to point out that "Chic are NOT a covers band." He explained that every one of these songs he was involved with right from the inception, either as a writer, producer, player, or - more often than not - all of the above. I reckon he's an all too often overlooked guitarist. When do you ever see him mentioned in a list of Greatest Guitarists? But the emphasis in such lists is always on lead playing, whereas Nile Rodgers must surely be the King of the Rhythm Guitar. I was watching some of the licks he was playing - it's not all barre chords you know - and there are some pretty intricate patterns going on, and of course his timing is absolutely perfect.

Candi Staton says she has been performing for 65 years (she's now 72) and like Jimmy Cliff she could show many younger artists a thing or two. She performed a great set of "real" R'n'B numbers, a cracking version of "In the Ghetto" and, of course, her big hit from 1976, "Young Hearts Run Free". Her guitarist had a few tasty licks to show us on his Gibson 335 too.

Be-suited and immaculate as ever, Bryan Ferry performed a selection of his solo work and Roxy Music songs, including a few tracks from the first, rather avant garde, Roxy Music album.

I thought the guy with the Jaguar looked familiar. Yes, of course, it's ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr playing his new Fender signature series Jaguar.

As well as Johnny Marr, Bryan Ferry also had another guitar legend in his band, namely Chris Spedding. Some might only know him for his 1975 hit "Motorbikin'" but he has been a major session guitarist with artists including Harry Nilsson, Jack Bruce, Roxy Music, Elton John, Brian Eno, Nick Mason and Katie Melua. He even was one of The Wombles band put together by Mike Batt and appeared on TV playing his trademark Flying V in a furry womble costume. Here, with Bryan Ferry, he appears to be playing a James Trussart Steel Deville.

I confess I don't know much about Hector's House other than they were named after a kids puppet show on TV. I tried looking them up on the web but only found a page for a five-piece band of the same name, but these guys were a three-piece.

As part of the younger contingent, Look No Hands are a promising bunch of lads. Whilst they played a few covers, their own songs stood up well against the better known material and they certainly know their way around their instruments. I'm not so sure about the wearing of the guitars so high up on the chest, Mark King-style, but - Hey! - each to their own.

What I haven't mentioned is the mud. A week of rain meant that the ground was turned to squishing stinking mud. This meant no sitting down - there was no grass and no dry patches left anywhere - so we dived inside the acoustic tent where there were a few bales of hay to sit on and rest our legs. Here we were treated to the songs of Wizzi, a local talent from Guildford where the festival is held.

Over in the Big Cheese tent, we watched a rather noisier set by Exit_International who, as fellow Welshmen, I warmed to instantly. A three-piece, here we see drums and bass...

...and another bass! Yep, that's right, no guitars. The two basses approach worked surprisingly well with the Mustang bass being used as a fuzz bass and occupying a very different sonic territory from the more traditional sound of the Fender Jazz Bass.

Talking of bass guitars, I spied this Italia Imola bass being used by Chords UK in the Viva Le Rock tent. It sounded great too, and made me wonder why the Fender Precision is so prevalent when there are so many other affordable quality alternatives.

The Priscillas describe themselves as "milkshake punk" and are always entertaining; I've seen them three or four times now over the years, and am pretty sure I had a drunken conversation with one of them backstage at a gig headlined by The Damned a few years back now.

Described by Abba's Benny Andersson as the closest thing you'll ever get to Abba, Australian tribute act Bjorn Again performed a very entertaining selection of Abba's hits, with a few clever twists, e.g. morphing the ending of "S.O.S." with The Police's "Message In A Bottle" - "sending out an S.O.S., sending out an S.O.S." etc.

OK, that's it for now. Back to the usual Guitarz format tomorrow!

G L Wilson

© 2012, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!


  1. Spedding's biggest hit to me is "Hey Miss Betty" which I guess is some sort of Bettie Page tribute. Clocks in at about a minute 30 or something. Never had much use for his other solo stuff. Completely unaware of his session work except for rumors that he was on the Sex Pistols album.
    Anyway that festival seemed like a fun, diverse line up. I also noted all the boring, boring non alt guitars.

  2. Great photos!

    Having just turned 62, it's amazing how young you feel most of the time and how old you feel some of the time.

    Keep on rockin'

  3. Wow, great report, what a line up!
    Unfortunately I was busy with a couple of my own gigs in the Berkshire area in those days so I missed it all...
    I totally agree with you about how Nile Rodgers is an underrated guitarist, especially in my native Italy where they ONLY judge a player by his solos, Nile is my main inspiration when I play funky patterns and last year I even made a masterclass about him as a project for my Masters' Degree at the ACM, right there in Guildford. What a chance I've missed on Sunday!!!
    I saw Chic in 2005 in Perugia and Nile's playing was astounding, machine-gun picking and pinpoint precision.
    WIZZI!!! I know her personally as I've played alongside her a few times at the Kings Head pub in Guildford, where she hosts an open mic night on Wednesdays but also features many times in another open mic held there on Sundays that I often go to...veeeeery talented singer...and she plays the mirror image of my acoustic guitar (I too have a sunburst Yamaha APX but a lefty) :-)

  4. "Bjorn Again"

    Too funny, love it. Great lineup, what would you say overall attendance was and how much were tickets? Just curious.

  5. "...why the Fender Precision is so prevalent when there are so many other affordable quality alternatives". I couldn't agree more, and have been asking myself that same question for 30 years. It's about time somebody said it. Thanks GL!



Related Posts with Thumbnails