Thursday, January 25 was an absolutely crazy busy day on the NAMM trade show floor. Those of you who are veterans of this gig will be able to attest to that. Day 2 proved to be a little bit more fruitful for getting some work done, and I wanted to make sure I got into the nooks and crannies of the various booths before the inevitable enslaught of pushing and shoving that usually dominates Saturday’s show experience.
Waking up early does have some merit, especially when you arrive early enough to enjoy the free breakfast at the Hilton AND virtuoso guitarist Jennifer Batten is playing. My 5-year-old self was absolutely elated to finally meet this guitar hero later in the day at the Washburn booth after she played for about an hour.
I saw some wonderful products including some of the killer new axes Cort has on display at their booth, and I also dropped by the Conn Selmer booth to fawn over the gorgeous and passionately built alto saxophones. If you are strictly a rock and metal musician/fan, and have never experienced the fine craftsmanship that is available in various orchestral/symphonic instruments, do yourself a favour at some point during the show and wander over to those booths. Bling that has form and function.
In terms of guitar gear, I went to check out some of the neat exhibitions in the basement (Level E) and as usual, I was not disappointed with some of the innovative products small companies are coming up with. One of those products was the Trinalog Effects Station, which is an app-controlled, cartridge based Analog Effects platform. In this age of Stranger Things binge-watching on Netflix and the retro video game consoles being sold everywhere, this innovative little product is sure to appeal to those who can harness what it is capable of. Check out the video for Trinalog below.
The highlights of the day were definitely the photoshoot that Laurie Monk setup to showcase female guitarists and the SheRocks Awards. I was honoured to be invited and to have the opportunity to say “Jack Lue has taken my photo!” Thank you to Laurie for setting this up and for everything he does to promote women in music.
The SheRocks Awards are always one of my favourite events to attend because you end up being surrounded by successful and inspiring women, and men who support those ideals as well. This year’s honorees included the women of pioneering rock band Fanny, Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar, The B-52s members Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, and Exene Cervenka of X. Sadly, Pat Benatar came down with the flu and had to cancel, which was heartbreaking for me because I'm a huge fan. (See what I did there? Heartbreaking? ;-) ) decided to volunteer for the event and met a group of smart, talented, funny women while helping with the silent auction. I snuck a peek at what was going on in the main awards show area every so often, and at the end of the evening I managed to have the opportunity to tell Shirley Manson of Garbage how incredibly powerful I found that first album from 1995. She was gracious and her infectious enthusiasm when I asked for a photo was something that will stay with me in the years to come. The photo says it all - definitely a 16-year-old me smiling!
Some notable events from day two:
8:00 a.m. Breakfast Session–Future Proofing the Music Industry with Mitch Joel,Anaheim Hilton, Pacific Ballroom
10:30 a.m. How to Make a Hit Record, moderated by Bob Clearmountain, Anaheim Hilton California Ballroom A
5:00 p.m. Deconstructing the Mix: Black Hole Sun, Anaheim Hilton, Avila
5:30 p.m. Roomful of Pianos: For 20 Pianos (20 pianos play in unison), Anaheim Convention Center, Lounge 88 (Level 3 Ballroom)
5:45 p.m. All-Industry Drum Circle, Anaheim Convention Center Palm Court
6:00 p.m. YAMAHA All-Star Concert on the Grand 2018, NAMM YAMAHA Grand Plaza Stage
6:30 p.m. Parnelli Awards, Anaheim Hilton, Pacific Ballroom
6:30 p.m. She Rocks Awards honoring Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, and The B52’s Katie Pierson and Cindy Wilson, House of Blues Anaheim