Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
NAMM 2014 PT. 3--BONZO BASH
Originally Posted: 02-07-2014 1:50 PM
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NAMM weekend is a great time to check out live music as well, and keeping your ear to floor about parties can get you passes to some exclusive shindigs with great music. But after the trip and the first day of non-stop submersion into NAMM, I always have to push myself to go out on a Thursday night. Jamming a month of interaction into 4 days is what this mechanical bull of an event is. You've gotta hold on tight and last as long as you can. You will get thrown, but the goal is to make that between 2am and 8am.

So here it was, another NAMM Thursday, wanting to make it an early night, but my longtime friend and first call session drummer, Chris DeLisa, had been telling me about an event called Bonzo Bash that celebrates the birthday of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham. The event was happening again at The Observatory (ex-Galaxy Theater) in Santa Ana, and I wasn't going to miss it this time.

One of the biggest parts of the success of the evening was the venue's acoustics, sound system and front of house (FOH) sound crew. The Observatory is, hands down, one of the best sounding mid-size live venues I've ever heard. I spent the evening walking around the club, standing by the FOH mixer, and it just sounded incredible. Plenty of volume without sounding loud--power with clarity.

The FOH engineer pointed me to the house engineer manning the lighting system who thanked me for the compliments and told me the system was a KARAi system from the French sound company, L-Acoustics. Digging a bit more following the show, it was no surprise that Dave Rat of Rat Sound had handled the theater's sonic transformation. The sonic experience was stunning. The drums were big and open, and the vocals were clear. Aside from too little keys at times, the mix was an absolute joy to listen to. With a standing room of about 1000, the venue and tech were a perfect place to hear any live music.

The overall experience of the venue itself was inspiring. It appears that the theater was designed as an old Copacabana, showband-style theater with a total of 8 classic upholstery-backed dinner booths at the rear of the room's 5-6 ascending step-up levels. Each booth can accommodate up to 8 guests. Up to 8 additional removable tables can be reserved as well at the front of the top-most levels, allowing walkway between the tables and booths. For this show, the removable cocktail tables were gone, allowing standing room in the place of tables.

For a more private experience, the theater also offers two large VIP Skybox Suites looking down on the theater that can each accommodate 15 people, as well as their VIP Private Suite that overlooks the side of the stage and can accommodate a group of 30.

Then on top of the incredible venue, there was the reason for the evening--all the authentic renditions of Led Zep tunes with guest drummers sitting in were great. The core band was The Moby Dicks, a top Led Zep cover band that had all the song details down. Add in the celebrity drummers ready to pay tribute to Bonham on a gorgeously authentic Bonham kit (courtesy of Natal Drums) with Black Dot Remo drum heads, a Paiste gong and tympani, and you have a night to remember.

The following is the setlist from the night with their respective VIPs on the drum throne:

Celebration Day (Brian Tichy--Whitesnake, Billy Idol)
The Rover (Stephen Perkins--Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros)
Houses Of The Holy (Michael Cartellone--Damn Yankees, Lynyrd Skynyrd)
The Wanton Song (Chris Frazer--Foreigner, Steve Vai)
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Athena Lee--Butt Trumpet, Krunk)
Wearing And Tearing (Gene Hoglan--Testament, Fear Factory)
We’re Gonna Groove (Jason Sutter--Marilyn Manson, New York Dolls)
Heartbreaker (Van Romaine--Enrique Iglesias; Blood, Sweat, & Tears)
Communication Breakdown (Corky Laing--Mountain, Cork)
Whole Lotta Love (Matt Starr--Ace Frehley, Kevin DuBrow)
Misty Mountain Hop (Jimmy D’Anda--Bullet Boys, Lynch Mob)
Four Sticks (Glen Sobel--Alice Cooper, Sixx:A.M.)
When The Levee Breaks (John Hummel--Lady Gaga)
Living Loving Maid (Seven Antonopolous--Opiate For The Masses, Atrocity)
I Can’t Quit You Baby (Khurt Maier--Ratt, Salty Dog)
Custard Pie (Simon Wright--AC/DC, Dio)
Dancing Days (Rikki Rockett--Poison)
Since I’ve Been Loving You (Dave Lombardo--Slayer, Testament)
Nobody’s Fault But Mine (A.J. Pero--Twisted Sister, Adrenaline Mob)
Kashmir (Brian Tichy--Whitesnake, Billy Idol)
Dazed And Confused (Charlie Benante--Anthrax, Stormtroopers Of Death)
Good Times Bad Times (Brian Tichy--Whitesnake, Billy Idol)
The Song Remains The Same (Ray Luzier--Korn, Army Of Anyone)
Achilles Last Stand (Brian Tichy--Whitesnake, Billy Idol)
For Your Life (Brandon Kachel--Barbarian Overlords)
Fool In The Rain (Will Calhoun--Living Colour)
Out On The Tiles (Joe Travers--Duran Duran, The Motels)
D’yer M’aker (Mark Schulman--P!nk, Billy Idol)
Immigrant Song (Thomas Lang--Vienna Art Orchestra, stOrk)
Bonzo’s Montreaux/Night Flight (Mike Portnoy--Dream Theater)
Stairway To Heaven (Cortney DeAugustine--Moon Dog Mane)

I wandered through the backstage VIP section and finally got a chance to meet Noelle Kim, production coordinator for Bonzo Bash. She's really helped the brand grow for founder Brian Tichy over the last few years. The second biannual show for 2014 is scheduled for May 31st at the Bergan Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ.

After I returned from the concert, I reviewed a couple of clips I shot on my iPhone with Dave and Ronnie. The sound was still amazing through my phone, and when it sounds amazing on a phone? You know you just heard something exceptional. What a great night!

NEXT WEEK: FRIDAY AT NAMM 2014!

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