The 2010 NAMM show was, in many ways, better than last year.
While there were fewer exhibitors (and many of the companies that did exhibit scaled back on the size of their booths), the overall "vibe" of the show was much better. The reality of the current economic environment was evident upon walking into Hall D, but as the show went on, there was undoubtedly more optimism and a more positive outlook than the surroundings conveyed.
Check out this year's photo gallery and videos:
Every year we try to identify a trend, and this year the theme seemed to be named snare drums. Many of the large manufacturers had "cutesy" names for their new snare lines. From Mapex's "Phatbob", "Phantom" and "Fastback" to PDP's "Woody", "Blackout" and "Ace", named snares were everywhere. Unless your name is Ludwig and your snare is a Supraphonic or Black Beauty, these names kind of annoy me for some reason. Feels a little "band-wagon-ish," although I guess some manufacturers have been doing it for years. Otherwise, blue-black fade and orange glass glitter finishes abounded at the show. Most manufacturers had one of each.
There were very few "big" rollouts that we could identify. Pearl tried to make waves with their new ePro kits, but that rollout landed with a giant thud. Not only has Boom Theory been doing something similar with Spacemuffins since the 90's, but isn't the point of e-drums a combination of their ease of transport and compact size? Methinks they're going for the church group demographic...and that's about it.
DW's new SuperSolid snares were one, although I think I recall the beginnings of that wave developing last year. Mapex had a new pedal that feels great but doesn't really blaze any new trails. Otherwise, Brady's 30th Anniversary snare drums were notable, and there were a few new hardware releases like DW's 3-position throwoff and Mapex'sNickelworks/Tama-looking throwoffs. Also, Mapex has new "SonicSaver" hoops that are basically rounded hoops a-la Slingerland stick savers or S-Hoops.
Anyway, DrumART Crew took more time than ever to talk with vendors, partners, artists and friends which was really nice. Unfortunately, that means less in terms of photos and video, but we still got some good stuff. As always, DrumART was well-represented at the show since we provided all custom bass drum heads for Ludwig (16 in all) and a really cool one for SJC's Arizona Iced Tea promotional kit.
There wasn't a whole lot in the way of performances at this year's show, but we do have some great video from the Sabian Live event that featured Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats. That'll be posted soon.
Overall, the show was still extremely enjoyable, interesting and exhausting, and there was still more to take in than anyone possibly could over the course of just a couple days. Enjoy the photos and videos!
Jim and the DrumART crew.