Gearphoria Volume 7, Number 1

IF YOU ARE reading this, it is safe to assume, you know about NAMM. Yes, that wonder- fully epic, overwhelming, huge, melt-your-face-off event that overshadows all other gear- based events out there. If you know about NAMM, then you are probably also aware that the event isn’t without its faults. Namely, it is expensive to display, but of course it is an industry trade show, not a buy/ sell/trade show. The Fear The Riff Expo is an example of the latter. Concocted from the brains of John McLaughlin and Steve Seabury, the Fear The Riff Expo has more in common with a show like the annual Dallas In- ternational Guitar Festival, but with more of an edge. From the brazenly metal-themed promotional materials, to the open invitation to buy/sell/ trade on the floor, the vibe couldn’t be more different from NAMM. The Expo is only in its second year, but it feels like it has found it’s footing rather rapidly. The show took place at The Brooklyn Expo Center. The venue’s floor to ceiling win- dows wrap three sides of the main floor space, and provide tons of much desired natural light. Which is something I never knew I wanted in a guitar event, but was much appreci- ated nonetheless. Once inside, I found around 50 vendors waiting for me. I immediately noticed Gibson/ Epiphone. They had one of the largest displays at the expo. (With a gorgeous Custom Shop SG that I could spend this entire write up blithering about). An interesting point since they were noticeably absent from Winter NAMM. Could this mean they are changing their tune? Let’s hope. Predictably, there were many die hard pedal nerds in atten- dance. Fortunately, there were a ton of brands for them to sample and some really amaz- ing products to tweak with. Just ask anyone who got to play with the Red Panda Tensor! The show also had some pretty epic meet and greets set up. The line for each artist took up one whole side of the venue, and actually spilled over a bit into the product demo area. When you have a line up that includes Zak Wylde, John Petrucci, Tosin Abosi, Jake Bowen and more, I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. All in all, the Fear The Riff Expo is really starting to come into its own. The show was a great time, and had a ton of awesome vendors and attend- ees. With rumors of a possible West Coast show happening in the future as well, this event is definitely one to keep on your radar. G FEAR THE RIFF II Brooklyn gear gathering grows in second year IMAGES &WORDS BY BLAKEWYLAND 52 GEARPHORIA SEP/OCT 2018

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