18TH ANNUAL SCHECTER NAMM PARTY:
HOLY WARS, NEW YEARS DAY, and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
January 18, 2020
Grove – Anaheim, California
PHOTOGRAPHS AND REVIEW BY ANABEL DFLUX
“Prepare for an influx of NAMM posts,” write hundreds of musicians and industry professionals on social media during the famous NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) week. This mid January endeavor swarms Anaheim, California, with thousands of individuals affiliated with the music world in some capacity, whether it be actual musicians, buyers, distributors, all the way to the actual instrument companies themselves.
However, once the business dealings of the day have concluded, the fun begins. One of the most famous and iconic staples of NAMM week is the famous Schecter party that takes place on Saturday night. Hundreds flock in line to hang out, drink, and enjoy some amazing music.
Schecter Guitar Research “has solidified its elite status as one of the world’s premier guitar companies, offering electric guitars and basses, acoustic guitars, and USA Custom Shop instruments to musicians around the world in more than 150 countries,” writes the company’s official website. With a slew of A-list acts on their artists list, such as Nikki Sixx and Al Jourgensen, the party is always bound to have a fantastic lineup.
Hosted at the Grove of Anaheim, this year’s 18th Annual Schecter NAMM Party lineup included Holy Wars, New Years Day, and the badass Black Label Society.
First up on the bill was female fronted band Holy Wars, a unique project that aims to bring to fruition a world of sound and visual surrealism. Fronted by Kat Leon and co-created with guitarist Nicolas Perez, “Holy Wars is not just a band, but innovators evoking a way of forward thinking as a poster child of self discovery,” according to the band’s biography.
The live performance was an immediate cathartic release, with powerful music partnered with equally emotionally driven musicians. The stage lighting created a beautiful ambiance with deep blues and rich reds, tying in perfectly with each song’s melody. Kat truly knows how to pull the audience into her world, consistently finding deeper and deeper ways to draw them in throughout the set.
NEW YEARS DAY
New Years Day has quickly taken the rock world by storm, amassing an impressively large fan base and a slew of credits under its belt. This band’s résumé is one to make note of, with hundreds of concerts and a large amount of festivals bearing witness to this band’s energetic performance.
The Schecter NAMM party was no exception, with the very first sound to hit the stage erupting the band’s immense energy. Frontwoman Ash Costello popped right up on her podium, swinging her long hair around to strategic beats while the audience below shrieked in excitement. Her bandmates Frankie Sil, Nikki Misery, and Austin Ingerman matched her performance enthusiasm with some tricks of their own, often showing off some fun guitar moves and teasing the crowd.
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Let’s be real. Can you think of a better band to represent guitar shredders all over the world, let alone a guitar company? Zakk Wylde is a beast with his instrument, and the crowd was absolutely infatuated with his performance. Black Label Society’s notoriety was evident with how quickly the entire theater of the Grove packed up. Everyone wanted to watch!
In true Wylde fashion, Zakk appeared on the stage atop a platform sporting his plaid kilt, hair flowing wildly with each headbang. It’s hard not to desire to headbang with how heavy the riffs are, beautifully melodic and grungy at the same time. Granted, as a photographer for the evening, much of my perception of the music came from directly in front of the stage in the photography pit, but from what I heard, it was pretty grand. The other brilliant musicians in Black Label Society brought just as much fervor and passion as Zakk did, creating a truly unified group.
The set list was long and thorough, running over crowd favorite hits and providing just enough drool-worthy solos to make any music enthusiast happy.