NAMM After Party Concert

by Brandon "B-Mac" McCarthy / 902 days ago / Comments

NAMM weekend is one of the most exciting weekends’ musicians and music fans can enjoy. For those who do not know, the NAMM Show (National Association of Musical Merchants) is one of the biggest and most extravagant musical conventions today. It takes place every January at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. During that time, famous musicians come down to help promote the merchandise that endorses them. What also takes place are the different concerts that play in the many different venues in Orange County. On January 24, 2016, I attended the NAMM After Party Concert at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Featured at the show included Saints in Rehab, As You Were, Divide the Day, and 7 Days Away to name a few. It was the perfect to cap off another successful NAMM weekend.

After the first group played their set list (Star of Machine), the band that I came to watch took the stage: Saints in Rehab. To kick their set off, the group began their performance with “First Lover.” During their show, they had guest cellist Michelle Packman come out and perform with gang, including their iconic single, “Vampire.” I have to say that when Packman brought out the cello, the crowd went crazy for her. Vocalist Daniel Mickelson is one of my favorite singers to watch because his voice captivates me. His stage presence is incredible; he brings the crowd to their feet and they dance to the sound of his vocals. His vocal capabilities are up there with the likes of David Bowie and David Ruffin. Bassist Kyle Lemburg and guitarist Joey K make a deadly combination. Lemburg comes with real funky beats that compliment K's stellar riffs. They remind me a little of the Who’s John Entwistle and Pete Townsend, with one providing outstanding solos while the other keeps the rhythm going. Rounding the group off is drummer Jeff Wagner, who gives the songs solid punch while behind the kit. Without Wagner, I don’t think the group would work. The best songs played were “Insanity” and “Heart Attack.” It’s always a pleasure to see this band play.

The next group to take the stage was another local legend: As You Were. I really dug this band’s sound and style. They remind me of Avenged Sevenfold meets Nickelback; great music mixed with having a good time. Leading the charge is frontman Jeff Zazueta, whose vocal techniques and stage charisma is reminiscent to M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold. The group displayed an excellent twin guitar attack from lead Steven Snider and rhythm Benji Zamora, both of whom played every riff to perfection. During their performance, we were all treated to a new song that will be featured on their upcoming album Revisions, entitled “I Hear You Now.” The song was incredible and if the new album is just as stellar as it’s first single, then I cannot wait to hear it when it arrives. However, the best song of the night was their version of Bruno Mar’s “Uptown Funk.” As soon as that song kicked into gear, everyone in the attendance went crazy and started dancing. To top that off, As You Were added a little bit of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” in the middle of “Uptown Funk.” This is a band that I truly believe has what it takes to be the next Killswitch Engage or Bullet For My Valentine. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Following As You Were was a band I never heard before, but was interested in listening to. They call themselves Divide the Day and they indeed captured my attention. I can not say what songs they played because I did not get the set list. The music; however, was balls to the wall rock ‘n’ roll. The group consists of three guitar players (Darren Lantz, Justin Canela, David Strickland) that just blew the roof off the venue with their superb riffs. It was their vocalist Joseph Nichy that stole the show with his thrilling voice and suave magnetism with the crowd. I could tell one of his influences was that of the late great Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. I will admit his charm was a little distracting, but the ladies loved it.

The final group I stayed for was one of the most exhilarating groups of the night. Hailed from Connersville, Ind., the House of Blues of Anaheim was proud to bring us 7 Days Away. Armed with a metalcore beat that has a melody to it, these guys just blew my mind away. Singer Jay Bales brought the house down with his forceful vocals that can be compared to Pantera’s Phil Anselmo. The song that I loved the most was their newest release, “Vengeance.” When Bales starts singing, it starts off sweet then towards the end it goes into overdrive, making the audience go wild. I was especially impressed with their bass player Danny Attack, who was a beast playing really cool riffs. This is another group I will be watching for years to come. The last band to perform was Knowing Forever. I didn’t get a chance to watch them, but I’m sure they were the best choice to end the night.

All in all, this show was certainly one of the best concerts I have attended in my life. The best bands of the night were Saints in Rehab, As You Were, and 7 Days Away. Each group commanded the stage with such authority and stardom. Not only were their songs terrific, the music they created was nothing but marvelous. I have to give a special shout out to the fans that came to support these magnificent bands, especially to the Saints in Rehab’s most loyal followers (Tyler Olsen, Adam Muse, Garner Muse, Kevin Nelson, Jessica Lujan, etc.) Without these fans, the group would not be where they are today; on the road to greatness. As mentioned before, this was a very successful concert to end a very successful NAMM weekend. To all the groups that performed, I salute you and look forward to seeing you down the road. Horns up


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About Brandon "B-Mac" McCarthy

Brandon Journalist

I've been writing for heavy rock 'n' roll for over 2 years. I've been a metalhead for over a decade. It will be my duty and pleasure to bring to Center Stage the heavy metal music it has been yearning for. From upcoming bands to legends of hard rock/heavy metal, I will bring you to your knees in Metal!!! For those ready to rock, I salute you. Horns up!!! - Brandon "B-Mac" McCarthy