Trevor Gordon Hall is a new artist I was just introduced to this past weekend at the annual Guitar Show at the Tacoma Dome, WA. As well as many dozens of exhibitors flogging their wares (including much vintage gear from guitars, amps, effects, accessories, and much else). The past years have included performances by various talented individuals and bands.
These all take place in a separate hall away from the main exhibition area and go on all day. Each act goes on for an hour or so, and there are up to 6 acts each day since the event runs Sat/Sun.
These are all inclusive of the modest $15 daily entry fee, and one can go or leave the shows at will. I hasten to add that the presentation is second to none-
A totally professional crew sees to it that there is a first class sound system, complete with video feeds displayed on huge monitors on either side of the stage. One main camera on the mixing deck plus several remote cameras, as well as a live cameraman in the wings or the pit.
All the other effects are in evidence, with the lighting, fog machines, and much more. A total class act. Seating for probably 300 on the floor, plus standing room for that much more on the sides and back. Major concert hall presentation!
The first act on Saturday was Trevor Gordon Hall, a musician I hadn't been familiar with. Suffice to say I was totally blown away by his performance!
He's a solo acoustic guitarist playing original instrumentals. And the caveat is that he plays like he's got 4 hands. Yes, he did use some effects but the reality is that everything he produced live was generated by his virtuosity.
There was a mix of genres which included jazz, folk, new age, and his own thing. He also used the guitar as a percussion instrument in much the same way as the late Michael Hedges, as well as calling up Michael's proclivity for different tunings, harmonics, and much more.
Yet it wasn't a blatant rip-off of Michael Hedges, as Trevor clearly had his own vibe going on. His compositions were thoughtful, intimate, and well thought out. Virtuosity and taste combined with an innate sense of emotion. Very, very impressive.
He played a custom designed guitar he worked with from several manufacturers, as well as designing a unique African instrument known as a Kalimba, as well as a Mbira (google it). Basically a thumb piano, with tines tuned to various pitches.
The Kalimba Trevor designed is a chromatic version, which basically means that he can play in any key signature as others are normally tuned in one key.
This, he has attached to the lower body of his guitar so he can play it with his right hand while his left hand plays the guitar.
The results are mesmerising, and he doesn't overuse it. It's his own sound. And it's fantastic. Suffice to say that he made an indelible impression. Here's his website if you're interested-
The other acts that day I saw featured Dave Ellefson, the bassist for Megadeath. Make no mistake, I am no aficionado of Heavy Metal. But I was curious to see what he what he brought to the table, as it were.
Frankly I was suitably impressed with his performance. He had his band on his phone, minus the bass tracks. And he played along to this while my ears bled!
Yet the thing I came away with was that he was very engaging. He spent at least as much time playing as talking to the audience about his technique, his influences, the band, and much more. And he also entertained many questions from the audience which he answered with aplomb. In short, he seemed devoid of ego or arrogance. Just a regular guy.
Apparently, Megadeth was celebrating 35 years a a band and he had been there from the beginning. So he and the others of his ilk (Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer) were the originators of Heavy Metal and have survived all these years. Some may take issue with that claim, and I'm not here to debate that. (To me, the originators were Zep, Deep Purple, and Sabbath but that's a dialogue for another day).
His technique on the bass was beyond peer. And while I really can't enjoy Heavy Metal it was obvious his skills were superb.
The next act I caught was John 5 & the Creatures. They seemed to be the highlight act of the day as the hall was now packed!
I lasted through 2 tunes of this and left on the third. John 5 was obviously very talented, but there's only so much high speed virtuoso/noodling I can take! It was like all his songs were the same frantic speed with no melody or form. And the volume had increased to uncomfortable levels. So I exited the hall at that point. But the crowd was obviously digging it!
Here's the website if you're interested-
So after another spin around the exhibition hall I left. No, I didn't buy anything but was tempted.
Actually I did come home and grab all 5 CD's from Trevor Gordon Hall from amazon though!