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Exeter’s guitars melt

October 27, 2008
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THERE was barely room to mosh as rock fans flooded an Exeter guitar show for a chance to see some of their idols perform.

The Mansons Guitar Show not only produced heavyweight rock stars in its line-up at the Riverside Leisure Centre, but gave fans a glance at some of the latest technology in the music world.

Jim Marshall, who founded the namesake amplifier company in 1962, was one of those in attendance and signed posters for visitors.

He said: “This has been a great show and it is good to see lots of people of different ages here too. I’ve signed hundreds of posters and it’s been great.”

Perhaps one of the most savoured moments for guitar fans was hearing Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones answer questions, followed by his jamming session.

Then one of rock’s more flamboyant stars, Justin Hawkins, former lead singer of The Darkness, signed posters along with the members of his new band, Hot Leg.

The band were in town for a gig at the city’s Cavern Club and had photos taken with fans at the Rotosound stand, the company who provide them with their strings.

Jason How, from Rotosound, said: “It has been great fun having Hot Leg here. The band uses our strings and as they were in town we were able to get them here.

“We have also had John Paul Jones here and JJ Burnell from The Stranglers.”

Justin Hawkins said: “Rotosound has kindly sorted us out with strings for our tour so we thought we would come down and support them. We have a gig at the Cavern and are looking forward to it.

“I’m sure it will be fantastic.

“The guitar show has had a great atmosphere and everyone has been so kind and there is a surprising level of interest.”

Lewis Parker, 14, from Exeter, managed to make his way to being one of the first to see Justin Hawkins and Hot Leg.

He said: “I got my guitar signed by Justin and I am so pleased. I’m not sure many people will have a guitar signed by him — it has made my day.”

Other artists appearing during the course of the weekend included Jas Morris of Newton Abbot, a former Guitarist of the Year winner; Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre; and Aziz Ibrahim of the Stone Roses.

The show is making something of a comeback, having last been staged in 1999.

Steve Harvey, one of the show’s organisers, said: “The show has gone even better than we had hoped for.

“We hoped it would be a fun show but everything has been better than planned and we are absolutely delighted.

“It has been slightly surreal watching John Paul Jones jamming and then seeing Justin Hawkins walk in to do a signing and having people waiting ages to see him and his new band. It doesn’t happen every afternoon in Exeter that’s for sure. We are just delighted.”

And traders at the show also spoke highly of the event. Joe Moretti, from Vox Amplification, said: “I think the show is good, especially in terms of size and venue. I will definitely do it again.”

He added: “People here are getting a first glimpse at some of the technology now on offer and the reaction has been fantastic.”

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