Summer NAMM 2011: Best & Worst of Show
The attendance for the two Facebook-oriented seminars at the NAMM Idea Center on Friday was amongst the largest and liveliest we noticed all weekend. I guess it’s safe to say that show-goers still “like” learning about how best to maximize the potential behind social media platforms…
Chris Martin sticking around for hours to sign autographs at the C.F. Martin Guitars booth on Sunday was unquestionably a hit with “the public.”
Earlier this year, Orange County Choppers (OCC) created a unique, “cymbal-themed” chopper for Supernatural Cymbals. The bike appeared on the 2011 season premier of “American Chopper – Senior vs. Junior” and made its first public stop at Supernatural’s booth this summer in Nashville where it was a definitely attention-getter.
Best Celebrity Music Advocate
Even staunch Red Sox fans, such as ourselves, couldn’t help but be won over by Bernie Williams’ good-natured demeanor and enthusiastic support for music-making. After speaking at the NAMM Idea Center on Saturday afternoon, the N.Y. Yankee great and Latin-Grammy-nominated guitarist (jeez, Bernie – way to make the rest of us feel inadequate…) stuck around to sign copies of his new book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Musical and Athletic Performance.
Blasting and other construction-related racket beginning at 5:45 am each morning at the site of the new convention center site. Hopefully the new facility (which, truth be told, looks like it will be quite nice – check out the artist’s depiction of the finished building) makes as much noise for NAMM and the whole industry when it opens!
Did we order sushi? The entirely raw salmon filet served in the upstairs dining room at the Merchant Restaurant was… unexpected. Tip for the future: eat downstairs.
It’s roughly 100 degrees, you’re wearing relatively snug black jeans, a thick dark green polo shirt, and uncomfortable dress shoes – the obvious choice is to walk the 1.4 miles to White Castle for lunch, right? Sooooo sweaty, so uncomfortable, so tired… Curse you, White Castle, and your delicious steamed “beef” patties!
Best (Nearby) BBQ
We’re sticking with our assessment from last year, which anointed Bailey & Cato Family Restaurant the best BBQ in Nashville (and, in our estimation, the whole country), but this year MMR’s editorial staff was pleased to discover a close-to-the-convention-center alternative to the (still very good) fare available at Jack’s on Broadway: Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant on 5th & Church had enough quality pulled pork, ribs, and deep-fried everything to keep us amply stuffed.
Best Free Swag
If you’ve been to Summer NAMM in Nashville before, then you know the drill: Sure, you can count on great BBQ and bars with non-stop (and usually extremely high quality) bands, but you can also bank on temps maxing out past 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, Gator Cases’ complimentary water bottles were a much-appreciated freebie.
Finally(!) besting associate editor Eliahu Sussman at a game of cricket at the Springwater Supper Club & Lounge down by Vanderbilt University. The man is frustratingly good at all types of “bar games” (pool, darts). It’s entirely possible that, after having been thoroughly humiliated in the first four rounds, I was “allowed” to win, but I’ll take it!
Worst ‘What an Incredible Smell You’ve Discovered!’ Moment
Rotting garbage (and worse!) baking in the summer sun consistently makes the alley behind the clubs and bars that line Broadway… fragrant. For some reason, the stench was particularly stunning the first two days of this year’s Show.
Worst Cab Ride
There wasn’t anything all that “worst” about it, really, but having to wait for a cab after returning home to Boston at 1am – when you know you have to be up and nose-to-the-proverbial-grindstone in only a few hours – surely isn’t a “best” either…
With all due respect to the many gifted, high-profile endorsing artists who showed up at Summer NAMM, this is the second year in a row we’ve been left with our jaws on the floor after watching the guitar heroics of J.D. Simo, a regular fixture at Robert’s Western on Broadway. The music is (predictably) usually of the country-ish/country-blues variety, but Simo can do pretty much anything in virtually any style. If you happen to be a guitarist and fancy yourself to be decent, hop onto YouTube, search for J.D. Simo, and prepare to be humbled…
Worst Packing Mishap
Referencing the hot weather noted above ^^^, anyone who’s attended Summer Session before and who plans to be doing a good amount of walking around outside in the scorching sun knows to pack at least one pair of shorts. Anyone who’s been to eight prior Summer NAMM Shows in Nashville would, presumably, be even more aware of this… Thankfully Sam’s Clothing & Shoes on 5th Avenue North stocked some Dickies shorts, which didn’t break the bank (and which worked equally well as a bathing suit!).
Best Swag – Part II
D’Addario threw quite the shindig on July 20th to celebrate the opening of its new Nashville artist relations office. In addition to BBQ and live music, the company also treated guests to a wide variety of accessories, including strings, drumsticks, picks, tuners, and drum heads. Very generous – thanks, guys (and gals)!