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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Melbourne Guitar Show @ Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne 05/03/2023

Kids have The Royal Melbourne Show, Shoppers have Black Friday, Foodies have The Food & Wine Show and for Guitar Nerds like myself, we wait around all year to attend the Melbourne Guitar Show.

Walking in is like entering a massive, sprawling guitar store with booths from all the major brands greeting you as you enter – Gibson, Fender, Jackson, Gretsch, Ibanez, ESP, PRS. Every major brand was there front and centre. Conveniently, Studio 19 Rentals and Afterpay also had easy to locate booths near the entrance. Ah, there is no other place where you will find addicts and enablers so enamoured with each other.

The fine gentlemen at the ESP booth deserve a special mention for their excellent customer service and even indulged me by letting me try a very rare, 1 of only 15 in the world, USA custom shop guitar. This beauty featured a wood-burned Nosferatu graphic and had a eye-watering price tag of $20,000. It certainly was tempting and had me considering ringing up my bank manager before I snapped out of my trance.

While the big booths drew the largest crowds, it’s always the small boutique builders that pique my interests. So I made my way past all the bright lights and went in search for the hidden gems tucked away in the corners of the showroom.

Mark Gilbert Guitars

Mark Gilbert makes exquisite, one of a kind guitars from sustainably sourced Tasmanian Timbers.

The level of craftsmanship on these instruments is astounding. Each instrument showcases Mark’s meticulous attention to detail and one can only imagine the painstaking hours that go into every build. It’s a very rare thing for artistry and engineering to meet in such a complimentary fashion but when it does, it certainly takes your breath away.

However, these guitars are not merely visually appealing, they are also incredibly comfortable to play. The Tasmanian wood definitely lend a unique voice to each instrument and Mark’s choice of pickups from brands such as TV Jones, Lollar and Lindy Fralin show that no expense is spared with his builds.

All of this luxury comes in at a very reasonable price, especially when you take into account the intricacies involved in these guitars. I for one am now a fan and my wish list has just gotten a little longer. A few of the other boutique brands that caught my attention were Legator Guitars, Cilia Guitars and Holdfast Guitars who do custom airbrush work that is truly stunning.


Nick Johnston

When I heard Nick Johnston was gonna be performing I made sure that I would be there early to get a good close-up view of his set. Nick is such a tasteful player that has so much intentionality behind every note. Emotion flows through every bend, every legato phrase, every trill. As he performed his song, Remarkably Human I really got a sense of his storytelling ability and there were moments that reminded me of one of the greats, Andy Timmons.

Nick Johnston evidently possesses all the techniques and guitar acrobatics that one could wish for, but it is in the way he discerns when and where to use them that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. He would vary his touch from aggressive digging in, to a light feathering of the strings – and the notes you don’t hear are almost as important as the ones you do. He also exhibited great showmanship and his playful personality came across in his playing.

At the end of his set, Nick took the time for some questions from the crowd and stayed back after to take some photos and have a chat with fans. In the short time that I got to watch him play and have a little chat, I can safely say Nick Johnston is certainly a Remarkable Human.

So that concludes the 2023 Melbourne Guitar Show. I would like to commend the organisers and all the brands involved for putting together an excellent event. We may not have a guitar show on the same magnitude as NAMM in Anaheim but we certainly have a lot of talented luthiers and pedal and amplifier manufacturers in our fair country. Therefore, any event that gives them a platform to be known is definitely one that I cherish.

Photos Contributed by AARON MAK

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Melbourne Guitar Show Is Set To Return in March 2023

The Melbourne Guitar Show is ready to make its rockin’ return in 2023, set to storm Caulfield Racecourse on March 4 and 5, with tickets on sale today from www.melbourneguitarshow.com.au. It’s been 3 long years since the last show was devoured by over 5,000 guitar and music loving punters, but we’re breaking open the cases, dusting down the show, oiling its neck, setting its action and tuning it to perfection for a grand return in 2023. 

L – R: Liz Frencham, Nick Charles, Anna Scionti, Ash Grunwald, Minnie Marks, Shannon Bourne, Phil Manning, Charlie Bedford, Corey Legge – at 2019 MGS, photo credit Jason Rosewarne

Executive officer of the AMA, Alex Masso says, “The association is pleased to be able to announce the re-birth of our iconic show in 2023. The industry has missed the chance to meet face-to-face and talk to guitar enthusiasts about our great products.

“There has been a huge interest in the guitar over the past couple of years, with a big spike in demand during the pandemic. This is an instrument for everyone and the old stereotypes of shredders and being a male dominated instrument are fading away. Even as music changes over time it remains the most popular instrument, Melbourne Guitar Show is a showcase for the wide range of guitars and guitarists we have in Australia.”

Thrilled to present #MGS2023 once again, MGS organiser, Rob Walker says, “It’s exciting to see the show back again adding value to the live music industry after the unusual times of the last couple of years. We are proud to present such a broad range and quality of guitars, amps and gear from the big brands to local artisans. And each year we get to put together a program of live music featuring the considerable talents of our guitar community. It’s a great weekend for anyone into music, particularly guitars, and we encourage you to bring the kids to inspire our next generation of guitarists.

“And not only will the #MGS2023 provide a hands-on chance to see and play such a broad range of gear, there’ll be bargains a plenty”, he added, “All the guitars you can eat in the biggest buffet of gear you can imagine!”

The Melbourne Guitar Show will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on March 4 & 5, 2023 
Tickets are on sale now from https://melbourneguitarshow.com.au/tickets/

Visit the new Melbourne Guitar Show site at www.melbourneguitarshow.com.au for the latest show announcements and information.
Check out the 2023 Promo video and Highlights Video from the last show CLICK HERE

SUNDAY March 5 | CAULFIELD RACECOURSE | 10.00am – 4.00pm | TICKETS

Early bird online ticket prices when purchased before February 14:: Adult day pass $25, adult weekend pass $40, concession day pass $15, concession weekend pass $20.  Tickets after February 14 are:: Adult day pass $30, adult weekend pass $45, concession day pass $20, concession weekend pass $25.

WEBSITE                      FACEBOOK                  INSTAGRAM           TWITTER                    #MGS2023

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Remi Wolf to make Australian & New Zealand debut this January

Penny Drop and Frontier Touring are thrilled to announce California native Remi Wolf will bring her live show to Australia and New Zealand for the very first time in January 2023. Performing her debut Antipodean headline dates at Melbourne’s Forum on 5 January and Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on 6 January, the burgeoning funk-pop star will jump the pond to take in Auckland and Wellington on 10 and 11 January respectively.

Wolf also performs at Beyond The ValleyWildlands & Field Day in December and January.

Audiences ‘immediate response’ to her talent instilled in Wolf a sense of confidence that carried her through music school and into a post-grad stint gracing local Los Angeles venues.

“Before I really fell in love with writing, I loved performing,” says Remi. “That’s always been my home base, it lights something up in my soul that is never lit up at any other time in my life. It’s a very powerful thing — the most expressive I feel like I will ever get.”

Making waves with her 2019 track ‘Guy’, Wolf garnered attention from indie-pop darling Still Woozy and scored a spot opening on their tour. Three critically acclaimed EP’s followed – You’re A DogI’m Allergic To Dogs and We Love Dogs! — mostly created in makeshift studios with her co-producer Jared Soloman and limited gear. Apple would later recruit Wolf to soundtrack an iPhone commercial, and she’d receive major co-signs from the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, SZA, John Mayer, Dominic Fike and more.

With her debut album Juno (2021), Wolf dabbles in funk, pop, indie, punk, dance and everything in between. NME applauded the offering as “funk pop at its brightest and boldest” and Pitchfork describing it as “an effervescent, hook-filled record that flirts with weighty emotions… every ounce of sunshine is tempered by grit”.

The project marked the first time Wolf has had the resources to outsource the more technical elements of the production process, as well as access to high quality equipment; an adjustment for a self-proclaimed DIY artist.

Her euphoric live set is an experience to behold, the 26-year-old talking candidly about mental health, sobriety, social anxiety and more, but turning it into a celebration and exuding absolute star power.

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this dynamic performer when she lights up theatres across Australia and New Zealand in the New Year!

Presented by Penny Drop and Frontier Touring

​Via frontiertouring.com/remiwolf
Runs 24 hours from: Thursday 3 November (11am local time)
or until pre-sale allocation exhausted

​Begins: Friday 4 November (12 noon local time)

​Forum Melbourne | Melbourne, VIC (18+)

​Enmore Theatre | Sydney NSW (LICENSED ALL AGES)

​Powerstation | Auckland NZ (LICENSED ALL AGES)

​San Fran | Wellington NZ (18+)

Also playing at Beyond The Valley, Wildlands & Field Day this December & January…!


facebook.com/remiwolf | Instagram.com/remiwolf
Spotify | YouTube

frontiertouring.com/remiwolf | facebook.com/frontiertouring
twitter.com/frontiertouring | instagram.com/frontiertouring

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