The NAMM show held each year in Anaheim, California always brings a multitude of rock veterans to the area who end up playing at various venues across the county. The first night of this year's show was no exception with concerts cropping up all across the region. But the sold-out show at The Observatory in Santa Ana featured the most impressive lineup of veteran rockers, coming together for the annual Dimebash. The tribute concert in honor of Darrell Lance Abbott (Dimebag), the former guitarist of Pantera, who was murdered onstage in 2004. The show will benefit the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund, Kitten Rescue LA, and KYNG's GoFundMe campaign set up to help recover stolen gear and transportation.
The master of ceremonies for this year's festivities was Sirius radio personality Jose Mangin, who also doubled as a respectable lead singer on a couple of rock jams during the night. The evening began with an explosive rock and wrapped drenched set by the new group Powerflo, led by Cypress Hill rapper Sen Dog (Senen Reyes). The group also includes William "Billy" Graziadei, the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and founding member of Biohazard, Belgian bassist Christian Olde Wolbers, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Rogelio "Roy" Lozano, and drummer Fernando Schaefer. The band is reminiscent of the sounds of Ice T and Body Count, with a bit more rock vent. A sea of black shirt clad metal fans screamed their approval while pumping their fists in the air.
The rest of the evening featured an ever-changing landscape of veteran rockers playing short sets, adding up to a four-hour marathon of music. Members of a multitude of rock bands made appearances, including various players from PANTERA, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, ROB ZOMBIE, ALICE COOPER, FEAR FACTORY, ARMORED SAINT, KING'S X, ACE FREHLEY, KYNG, CYPRESS HILL, BIOHAZARD, POWERFLO, FIREBALL MINISTRY, PRONG, ACT OF DEFIANCE and KORN.
One set included veteran drummer Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Death, Fear Factory, Testament, Dethklok, etc.) He was joined by Tony Campos, Courtney Cox and other musicians for some Pantera covers of “Cemetery Gates” and “Domination.” The guitar highlights of the evening came with a set by Rob Zombie’s brilliant lead guitarist, John 5. The extraordinary guitarist has just released his live album, It’s Alive, on January 25th and will begin a US tour shortly. The metal master led his solo band in an extended medley including riffs from many of the best rock songs of the last 25 years. The crowd went wild responding to every riff change with a roar.
The jam sessions continued with covers of classic songs from Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, and of course Pantera hits, performed by several metal veterans, including Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies). The band Kyng tore through a searing rendition of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.”
The evening ended on a high note with a surprise appearance by Korn’s lead singer Jonathan Davis, for a heavy metal version the Pink Floyd classic “Another Brick in the Wall.” The song included a special appearance on bass by Rex Brown, the only member of Pantera to appear for the evening. The band continued with the song “Fucking Hostile,” with vocals being taken over by Luis Delgado from Pantera tribute band, Trendkill Revolution. The show ended with Brown still on bass for “Walk,” this time with Mangin on vocals. After the show, Dimebag’s wife Rita appeared on stage with Brown to thank the crowd for their enthusiastic response. Long live the music of Dimebag.