Dear diary: My LA adventures featuring Andy Brauer & Mike Keneally

After my little blog post yesterday about getting to LA and stuff, I thought I’d fill you in on my amazing Saturday night. First up I went out to dinner with Andy Brauer – one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet and a legend in the world of guitar gear. Check out Andy’s site here for more info. It was great to finally meet Andy in person after conversing with him through Twitter, and after dinner we returned to his studio to try out some killer guitars that had been given his special treatment – the extra mojo he’s able to add to a Fender Road Worn Strat has to be heard and played to be believed. Andy also turned me on to Sheptone pickups, which sound phenomenal, and the Marshall JTM30 amp. You can read more about this little monster and Andy’s thoughts on it here.

After that, Andy dropped me off at The Baked Potato in Studio City for a very special Mike Keneally gig. In addition to Keneally (obviously), the line-up included Rick Musallem on bass, Brendan Small of Dethklok/Metalocalypse fame (and creator of the exceedingly brilliant Home Movies) on guitar and the mighty Atomic Clock himself Mr Gene Hoglan on drums.

Here’s the setlist from Mike’s Twitter:

Set 1: 1st 5 are Stevie Wonder songs Too High/Visions/Living 4 The City/Golden Lady/Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing/Improv/Why Am I Your Guy

Set 2: Kid Charlemagne/Killer Queen/Reelin’ in the Years/Too Much To Lose/Land of Broken Dreams/Improv/You Know What I Mean/Thunderhorse

I’ve been a Keneally fan since 1997 so it was great to finally get to see a show like this, and in such a tiny, cosy, friendly venue as the Baked Potato. It was utterly awesome to hear Gene play funky jazzy stuff, and Brendan has some super tasty guitar licks. During the evening I got to chat with Brendan, Mike and Gene, which rocked. The rest of Fear Factory showed up too, as did Thomas Nordegg. If you’re any sort of Vai, Zappa or Keneally geek you’ll know why that’s utterly awesome.

Oh incidentally, the staff at the Baked Potato simply could not have been nicer and more wonderful if they tried. And it was cool to meet Jamie (@echo_doll on Twitter) and her friend whose name I’ve forgotten due to the fact that I hadn’t slept in, like, 40-something hours by then – stupid international flight preventing me from stupid sleep. I was utterly delirious by the end of the evening but it was oh so much fun!

Anyway, here are some dodgy iPhone pics.

Oh, also, today we went to Santa Monica Pier. I saw this and just had to take a picture, in honour of the movie ‘Big.’

I’m in LA!

We (me, Mrs I Heart Guitar and our rambunctious 3-year-old) arrived in LA this morning for a 3-week Californian adventure. Blog updates will continue, especially from NAMM where I’ll be meeting with some big names and checking out a lot of cool gear – as well as meeting some awesome folks I’ve found via Twitter. I expect blogging will get back into swing tomorrow: I have some pre-NAMM press releases and more NAMM appearances to post.

If you’d like me to cover a particular product at NAMM (say, you wanna see what new 8-Strings are being released by whom, or you wanna know if that John Mayer Relic Strat is coming out this year), just email me and I’ll do my best to write a post on it from right there at NAMM.

And because images are fun, here’s a geeky tourist moment from today:

It’s the Whisky!