Saturday was NAMM's busiest day, at least in terms of foot traffic. Saw lots of celebrities in attendance. I did manage to wade through the crowds though to see some cool stuff. Right off the bat I checked out Carl Verheyen's masterclass in one of the H.O.T. Zone rooms upstairs. The main topic of discussion was bending, in all it's various forms. I dig seeing these kinds of events presented at the NAMM show. Most NAMM attendees would probably never have a chance to see a Carl Verheyen clinic in their home town. Verheyen was great - lots of cool playing and insight. I also enjoyed watching Chris Poland jam at the Music Garage booth (both with and without his OHM bandmate Pag). Killer playing as always.
My favorite gear of the day would have to be the T-Rex stomp boxes - particularly the Mudhoney II Dual Distortion pedal, and the Room-Mate Tube Reverb. Their Tonebug series is really cool also. They're built like tanks; very simple, and they sound great. I especially like the Chorus / Flanger Tonebug.
Late Saturday night, I saw Michael Landau play at the Baked Potato for the second night in a row - this time with Jazz Ministry, an incredible group of pros featuring Greg Mathieson on keys, Abe Laboriel Sr. on bass, Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums, and Landau on guitar. This particular group had not played together in a year and half (they had Vinnie Colaiuta on drums for the Baked Potato Jazz Fest gig in May). I previously saw this lineup at the Spud in 2008, and was blown away. Saturday night, they did it to me again. These guys never rehearse, but you would never know it. This was top-shelf west coast jazz at it's finest. Landau was so on point, and in tune with the band, and Abe Jr. was a joy to watch on drums. After the set, I chatted with Landau for a few minutes. He told me his next album will be all instrumental, and will hopfully come out in March. I'm stoked already - I really dig Landau's writing, especially his instrumental ballads. They were cracking down on picture-taking in the club, so I only managed a few blurry pics.
More pics from NAMM 2011 Day Three: