NAMM 2013 kicked off with a wet start, as the morning festivities had to be moved into the lobby due to the rainy weather. The USMC 1st Division Marching Band led the crowds through the lobby and into the trade show as part of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Anaheim Grand Plaza area built between the Marriott and Hilton hotels, and featuring the new NAMM main stage.
Irregardless of the weather, I knew it would be a great day when I ran into the Jason Adamo Band in the Marriott hallway this morning. They had just won the LA Music Critic Award for best EP, and were enjoying a day of NAMM before heading to Venice tonight for a show at WitZend. They will be back at NAMM tomorrow to play the Marriott Center Stage at 10 p.m.
I ran into several indie artists today, including Kenny Metcalf (Elton, the Early Years), Ryan Stiles, Brian "Magic Hands" Mitchell and Josh Damigo. Other indie artists performing at NAMM today included Katie Garibaldi and Mike Vitale (Songsalive! song circle at Hilton), the Makepeace Brothers (Shure Microphones), Kelly McGrath (VocoPro) and King Washington (Sennheiser). Speaking of King Washington, they performed a dynamic set, including an amusing guitar balancing trick by bassist Billy (see photo).
Once the doors to the NAMM Show opened, it was time to check out some of the new and amazing products that highlight this elite trade show.
Etymotic Research (booth 3050) is showcasing their new Music PRO earplugs with three levels of protection that automatically change as the noise level around you changes, from normal hearing to full protection. They also gave us some complimentary earplugs and I was amazed at the change in the level of sound on the floor. I'm also pleased to announce that these are the first earplugs I have ever used that actually fit!
Another amazing new product was Rick Johnson's creation, the PicStix adhesive pick holder, available at Dean Markley. It is a clear gel-like strip that adheres to the guitar and holds three picks ready for use. It can be easily removed, cleaned and reused. It received Best of Show status at summer NAMM in Nashville.
My intern, Martin Coulson, headed over for a product demonstration of the new video game, Rockstar Rising in the Gaming and Apps Pavilion in Hall E (booth E-18). The game is manufactured by WhoTune Music Group. He reported that this new RPG game works on both iPad and Facebook platforms, and was fun to play. The game is educational in that it teaches you to play songs, as well as learning all the things necessary to pull off a good gig and work your way into playing the large arenas.
We finally took the tour of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, which was simply amazing. The bus can be partitioned into three separate studios or one large studio, and includes state of the art audio and visual production capabilities and a green screen room for videos. From there I checked out Smiles, one of the latest winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, as they performed outside the bus on the Venue stage.
We also dropped by the booths of Minarik Guitars, Yamaha (celebrating their 125th Anniversary) and VocoPro. Martin and Chelle Stipe, my photographer, also checked out the Gibson and Fender booths.
Unfortunately, we couldn't make it to all of the huge events at today's show, including the presentation of the NAMM Music for Life award to Randy Jackson at this morning's Breakfast of Champions, the short performance of Brian Wilson at the Gibson booth, Bernie Williams performing for D'Angelico Guitars or the impressive concert by Tower of Power as the NAMM show closed for the day. But we are heading back tonight for concerts by Nancy Sanchez, a jazz trio of Stanley Jordan, Muriel Anderson and Tierra Negra and MTV Band to Watch phenom of Verona (winner of the LA Music Critic Award for best band album). All these shows will be at the Marriott Hotel tonight and are open to the public. Nancy Sanchez kicks it off at 8 p.m. on the center stage.