By Guest Reviewer Sandy Storm
This years NAMM Exhibition took place from 23-26 January at the Anaheim Convention Centre in California. Metal Shock Finland asked metal fan Sandy Storm if she would like to write a review as she visited NAMM for the whole exhibition with her husband, musician Bobby. Read Sandy’s thoughts below:
Anaheim , Ca January 22-26, 2014 the most anticipated month of the year. When The NAMM Show comes alive! Wednesday January 22, kicks off the the NAMM Show with media day where journalists from all over the world get a first glance at this years new arrivals.
Thursday January 23, the doors open ,this is the crème de le crème for music lovers of all styles. However, the majority presence is ROCK. This is an invitation only for those in the music industry, both vendors and artist. For the fortunate ones that receive this VIP invite it’s a place where exhibitors display their latest products; everything from instruments and their gadgets to stage gear and the latest advances in recording gear and software.
Where else can you be checking out a killer looking guitar and Dave Mustaine accidentally bumps into you on his way to the Dean Guitars booth for a signing or having a talk with Glenn Hughes about the tragic loss and golden heart of Ronnie James Dio and holding onto Glenn’s encouraging words. Or Geezer Butler talking to you about the photo he’s signing that he took with you at the previous NAMM Show. Also chatting to Peter Baltes from ACCEPT about recording their new album and saying that they would like to start a tour in the winter, since everyone does concerts in the summer – just some of the examples of what it is to be at a NAMM Show.
This year’s NAMM after parties were hosted by The Grove in Anaheim Ca. Friday January 24. The Heineken NAMM Jam sponsored by Jackson, Charvel and Monster Energy, with a diverse artist line up featuring Jake E Lee’s RED DRAGON CARTEL as the headline act, PERIPHERY as main support, Guthrie Govan & The Aristrocats, and Jake Allen.
Saturday January 25. The Grove once again was host to Schecter Guitars NAMM Party featuring BLACK LABEL SOCIETY as the headlining band, KILL DEVIL HILL and Jeff Loomis’ new band CONQUERING DYSTOPIA. The show started off full throttle as KILL DEVIL HILL hit the stage, delivering a powerful performance, Vinny Appice (Drums) , Rex Brown (bass), Mark Zavon (guitar) push out a wall of sound as front man Dewey Bragg brings the crowed in with his amazing voice.
Next up, the debut of guitar extrordinaire Jeff Loomis’ band CONQURING DYSTOPIA, but by no means does the talent stop there. You add Keith Merrow (guitar) Alex Webster (Bass) and Alex Rudinger (Drums) and you have a powerhouse of jaw dropping riffs. Conquering Dystopia is an instrumental band formed sometime in 2013 and they had their first live show at The Grove.
Enter the headliners; BLACK LABEL SOCIETY with their intimidating and impressive wall of Marshall stacked stage, Zakk Wylde and his crew grabbed hold of the crowd. Zakk had multiple guitar changes during the set. BLS only briefly toned it down when Zakk turned to the piano to pay tribute to Dimebag with In This River, as he played a photo of Dimebag was displayed. It was a very emotional moment. BLS gave a stellar performance and was a killer end to the 3rd day of NAMM. Both shows were invite only events, but plenty of free passes were distributed by numerous sources at the NAMM Show, to such extent that entry was granted on a first come first serve basis and entry wasn’t guaranteed to every pass holder once maximum capacity was reached. The main problem was deciding which one to attend.
Saturday 1/25/14 ELTON JOHN tribute: Kenny Metcalf as Elton and the Early Years Band featuring Bobby HQ Storm (Bass), Mark Servi (Guitar) & Josiah Servi (Drums) performed an unplugged set at the Grand Illusion Piano Shell booth. Not only did the crowd get into it by singing along and dancing, but the surrounding booths chimed in with their instruments backing up the band with cymbal crashes, synthesizers and a Hammond organ. Songs included were Funeral For A Friend / Love lies Bleeding, Harmony, Benny and the Jets and Take Me To The Pilot. The crowd was so into it that the sound patrol had to come over several times requesting the band to keep it at the required decibels. How can you control a good time? Lol.
The bands next performance was at ANVIL Cases where Mick Jagger impersonator (Mick Adams And The Stones) and Freddie Mercury impersonator Greg Finsley (Queen Nation) joined in. The crowed was in amazement! The band performed Elton’s Rocket Man, Your Song, and Saturday Night’s Alright as well as The Rolling Stone’s Honky Tonk Woman, Satisfaction & Brown Sugar. If you’ve ever experienced an or want to know what an Elton John concert was like in the 1970’s. This is the band to see.
NAMM highlights performances included / Workshops by Stu Hamm at Samson, Jeff Loomis at Schecter Guitars, Paul Gilbert at Artistworks, Blue Oyster Cult at Pavey Electronics, Lita Ford, Mike Inez and Orianthi at Dean Markley Strings, Alex Skolnick‘s Planetary Coalition at Anaheim Marriot and The Iron Maidens (all female band) at Pavey Electronics.
For four days NAMM takes over Los Angeles and Orange County and the parties actually start a week before the convention – from Hollywood to the southern beaches of Orange County, venues, clubs and pubs are oozing with music Rock Stars. This year’s NAMM was a huge success! I feel so fortunate to have taken part in this special event; I look forward to NAMM 2015. Now I guess I will get some much needed rest and catch up on some sleep. Cheers!