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If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old: OWC Highlights from NAMM 2020

The NAMM Show

Every year at the NAMM tradeshow, there is invariably a booth or two that gets shut down for sound policy violations. (No, no, no – OWC has never been one of them.) What kind of sound policy violation would occur, you might ask? Well, excessive volume to be more specific. And why on earth would a booth be unusually loud at a tradeshow, you then might ask? It’s because this particular show is all about music. And as we all know, far too many performers subscribe to the “harder, louder, faster” school of music. They simply can’t help themselves.

NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, and every January, over 100,000 exhibitors, artists, and attendees from the general public flock to the Anaheim Convention Center in—you guessed it—Anaheim, California. If you are a music gear enthusiast or a business that is in any way, shape, or form associated with the music industry, NAMM is the place to be.

OWC does not make pianos, sell sheet music, produce amp modeling software, stage rigging, lights, instrument cables, or sell guitar picks. What OWC does do is offer the highest quality storage, memory, and computer expansion solutions on the market. Producers, engineers, and artists from all around the globe know this. And if not, they should – which is why we exhibit at the NAMM Show!

OWC’s innovative booth had three distinct sections this year, featuring different creative environments where OWC products help the creative workflow:

  • Innovation – With equipment typically found in a photo studio. You can’t be a rock star without glam shots.
  • Technology – Featuring a quiet, glassed-in space to simulate a recording studio. This area was also used for in-booth demos, interviews, and meet-and-greets.
  • Performance – A small stage area where a stellar lineup of musicians gave live mini-concerts to eager-eared NAMM attendees.

OWC NAMM Highlights

As you can imagine, a lot was going on during the four-day event. We were giving away docks and drives, chatting “OWC Gear” with 100’s of interested folks each day, participating in press interviews and meet-and-greets, and featuring artists who rocked it out on our small stage. This post can’t capture it all, but below are some of the highlights of a great week at NAMM.

Reliving Woodstock

For those of you too young to remember, have never read a history book, or are utterly oblivious to American pop culture, in the summer of 1969, over 500,000 people made the pilgrimage to a dairy farm outside of Bethel, New York. Billed as “An Aquarian Experience: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” Woodstock was the most massive music festival/concert ever to have taken place up until that time – and it remains one of the most storied.

One of my personal favorite presentations at the OWC booth this year was the photo show and commentary presented by Michael Lang, creator and founder of Woodstock, and legendary rock-n-roll photographer Henry Diltz, who captured so many of the iconic photographs we all know and admire. Stepping through nearly 100 pictures, we saw and heard the behind-the-scenes and backstories of Woodstock, along with a detailed history of how the event came to be.

Michael Lang and Henry Diltz share about their Woodstock experience to an enraptured audience at The NAMM Show 2020
Lang and Diltz relive Woodstock.

A picture of the rotating stage that notoriously collapsed under the weight of the Grateful Dead’s equipment. A hippie commune holding hands to form a helicopter landing pad. And of course, Jimi Hendrix’s famous performance of The Star-Spangled Banner. These were but a few of the fascinating shots Lang and Diltz shared during their Woodstock photo-narrative.

OWC is proud to be helping Henry digitize his body of work. It is no small feat as it comprises more than one-million photographs shot over more than five decades.

If you’d like to watch the entire Reliving Woodstock presentation, you can do so on the OWC Facebook page. Below are a few of my personal favorite photos – used with permission, of course.

Down from left: The Stage Being Built, Creating a Helicopter Landing Pad, Woodstock Crowd, Joe Cocker, David Crosby, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and a Lonely Chair in the Aftermath.
(Images courtesy of Henry Diltz)

The Performance Stage

We had many great acts grace our Performance Stage to demo their talents in our little corner of the exhibition hall:

  • Will Champlin – Understandably a Top 3 contestant from NBC’s “The Voice” powered through a fantastic solo performance.
  • Billy J Kramer – British Invasion and 60s teen heartthrob sang his classic hits such as “Little Children” and “Bad to Me.”
  • Derek Day – Guitarist phenom, and wildly energetic frontman performed with his three-piece band. Don’t be surprised when he hits it big.
  • The Reign of Kindo – A progressive polyrhythmic pop/rock band from New York with wickedly intricate, yet accessible musicianship.
  • Thomas Claxton – Classically-trained singer/songwriter rocking out a few standards on his acoustic guitar.
  • Mystical Joyride – Primal and the cosmic, this psychedelic world-pop duo has an urban and spiritual flair.
  • Dave Kim – Electronic violinist and concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra rocked out while live-mixing his own brand of electronic music on-the-fly.
  • Effemme – An Italian vocalist, and last-minute addition, blew everyone away with her passionate vocals.

Down from left: Derek Day, Will Champlin, Mystic Joyride
Thomas Claxton, Dave Kim, The Reign of Kindo, and Billy J Kramer.

Stopping By, Saying “Hi”

OWC is well-known in the music industry as the company that provides the best for the best. We certainly didn’t snap pics of everyone who stopped by to chat, but here are a few OWC friends who did.

From top left: OWC CEO & Founder, Larry O’Connor with Herman Li of DragonForce, Richard Fortis of Guns N’ Roses, and Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails; OWC VP of Sales & eCommerce, Rick Van Dyne with recording artist Porscha; Billy Joel’s Keyboardist and Music Director, David Rosenthal.

Jam in the Van

Jam in the Van at NAMM 2020
Jam in the Van at NAMM

Formed in 2011, Jam in the Van is a solar-powered mobile studio functioning as a robust content studio, video production house, and live event production team. It’s also the world’s first and only solar-powered mobile recording studio. Focused on changing the way artists share their music, Jam in the Van creates authentic, impactful, and engaging spaces for artists and fans to interact.

Jam in the Van crosses the country visiting top music festivals and music shows like NAMM. They offer a space transformed into an interactive haven for artists and attendees alike. Each day, 7 to 10 bands performed and recorded a unique session in front of a live crowd, with the content being shared through their YouTube and other social channels.

OWC is a proud sponsor of Jam in the Van, providing mobile storage devices like the Envoy Pro EX – giving the thankful artists a chance to take their live recording sessions home with them.

“Jam in the Van” participants and spectators enjoying jamming in the van.

My favorite moment? I would have to say it was the spontaneous “pick up” set of random classics with several folks who all happened to converge upon the OWC booth at the same time. Thomas Claxton, Joey & Danny from The Reign of Kindo, Scott Page (of Pink Floyd, Supertramp, and Toto fame), and yours truly on bass. Pulling off Pink Floyd’s “Money” in 7/4 time on the fly without ever having played it before? Yeah, that was pretty rad. Especially considering I’m not really a bass player. And maybe, just maybe, we were a little bit too loud. But on the positive side of things, I guess that means I am not too old… Yet.

OWC Mark C
the authorOWC Mark C
Content Marketing Manager
A creative by nature, Mark is a writer, programmer, web developer, musician, culinary craftsman, and interpersonal artisan. He loves the outdoors because greenspace is to the soul as whitespace is to the written word. He does not like Diophantine geometry or mosquitos. Most everything else is okay. Oh yeah, he is also the managing editor of the Rocket Yard blog.
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