The Mirage Theory

The Word Alive || The Observatory

The Word Alive show started off with a bang as The Mirage Theory opened at The Observatory on February 20th, 2016. Hailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, this progressive metal core band was just one of many local bands invited to open for Fit For A King and The Word Alive. Telle Smith (Vocalist of The Word Alive) explained during their set that they had a well known guest band going to come play the show with them, but with only 24 hours notice, the band cancelled leaving The Word Alive in the dust. Instead of being defeated, TWA invited various local bands to open for them instead!

In case you haven’t seen The Mirage Theory at local shows in the Los Angeles area (or in Puerto Rico), they put on an exciting and energetic show regardless of the turnout, venue, or day of the week. During songs “Whaleshark and Dying And The Dead,” keyboard player Jon Viguié throws his keyboard on his back and starts shredding next to guitarist Israel Romero. Citing bands such as Dream Theater, Periphery, and Between The Buried And Me as their influences, The Mirage Theory continues to wow audiences in Los Angeles with their highly technical music and astounding performances. The Mirage Theory is currently recording new material at their recording studio in Brea, Flying Pig Productions.

Eddie Melendez of The Mirage Theory

Opening directly before The Word Alive was American Metalcore band Fit For A King. Currently signed by Solid State Records and based out of Texas, Fit For A King put on an amazing show that really set the tone for how the rest of the night would go. Everyone in the band was filled with so much positivity and energy before, during, and after the show, making fans fall in love with them even more. Their set was filled with absolutely brutal breakdowns that had the crowd moving and on their feet. Thanks to an interview at the show by Cayem Interviews, Fit For A King said they have just recorded a new album but have chosen not to play any news songs on the tour until singles get released. You can catch Fit For A King on Sunday, March 20th at So What Festival as they open for bands like Beartooth, The Devil Wears Prada, and Underoath.

Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King

The moment everyone was waiting for finally arrived. The Word Alive headlined the show at The Observatory in Santa Ana and the crowd couldn’t be any happier. Having just released the song “Sellout” off of their upcoming album, fans flocked to see TWA perform live. They played 7 out of the 10 songs off of their new album which has not yet been released to the public, which left the crowd speechless as they absorbed the new material for the first time. The rest of the set was completely explosive. The crowd was constantly moshing, jumping, and singing along to some of their favorite songs. Throughout the show, massive bursts of smoke would emanate from the stage, filling the room with a beautiful haze. The Word Alive will continue their tour with Fit For A King and will also play at So What Festival in Texas. 

Telle Smith of The Word Alive

The Word Alive:

Dreamer, Sellout, The Hounds of Anubis, Face To Face, Grunge, 2012, Lighthouse, Made This Way, Dark Matter, Entirety, Play The Victim, Trapped, Life Cycles

Fit For A King:

Hollow King (Sound of the End), Ancient Waters, Slave To Nothing, Descendants, Hooked, Forever Unbroken, Warpath

The Mirage Theory:

Colider, Whaleshark, The Dying and The Dead, Disappear

NAMM Day 2

Well I ended up doing a little bit more research for the second day, learning that there was a schedule (image that) for what famous people would be where and when. I bookmarked specific places I wanted to be in order to see some of my favorite artists. 

Upon walking in, I immediately ran into the all seeing, all shredding god that is John Petrucci. Talk about a great start to the day. He was signing autographs at Ernie Ball and the line was ridiculous. Luckily, I had a telephoto lens. :)

John Petrucci

Aaron Newberry and Me

I walked around a bit, admiring the various booths when a face caught my eye. I quickly tracked the man down to see if it was the person I thought he was. It was in fact Aaron Newberry, the singer and guitarist of the band SONS. I introduced myself and said how I’m friends with Mike Pattengale (the coolest bro to ever live) and that I shot SONS years ago at Indiana Wesleyan University. He remembered me and we had a fantastic time catching up. We talked about how awesome SONS was and how it helped both of us through some rough patches in our lives, along with everything new that was happening to us. This was one of the rare moments that required a selfie because Mike Pattengale and SONS got me into concert photography and changed my life forever. Easily the highlight of my week. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Next, I ran into Luke Holland and The Word Alive and told Luke that his new drum cover of “Sorry” by Justin Bieber was killer. We talked about how I saw TWA play on Nov 14 in Pomona and how that was the show where Telle stage dove and broke his back. Telle and I talked about his recovery and luckily its going well. However I think he’s gonna keep stage diving to a minimum for now. 

Wandering around more, I found my friends for the blog I shoot for (SoCalMusic Today) and walked around with them for a bit. We walked over to see John 5 (ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist), Alice Cooper’s daughter Calico Cooper, and Alice Cooper’s bassist Chuck Garric signing autographs.

Chuck Garric, Callico Cooper, and John 5

I went to go check out Plini play a quick set. Plini just announced he’s touring with Intervals and Angel Vivaldi recently. His set was awesome and one of the things that really stood out to me was the amount of eye contact he made with people in the crowd as he played. It definitely added a personal feeling to the performance. I noticed Angel Vivaldi was chilling in the back so I went over and said hi. He immediately recognized me from shooting a show of his at The Mystery Box and gave me a huge hug. Angel is easily one of the nicest, funniest dudes I know so hanging with him is always a pleasure. Got two portraits of him, snagged a quick portrait of Plini, congratulated them both on the new tour, and raced off to the next event. 


I reconnected with the guys from The Mirage Theory and we headed to the GoPro booth for their daily raffle. I had signed up earlier that day, but with the number of people at NAMM, I expected to walk away empty handed. I was telling the TMT guys about how a GoPro could help my photography by placing the camera in interesting locations at venues to get new kinds of shots. Well as they were calling out the winners, the announcer said my name and everyone in The Mirage Theory instantly started screaming and freaking out. Naturally I couldn’t believe it because the odds were pretty slim, but I won a GoPro Hero4 Session, their newest, smallest, most lightweight camera. 

Nick Johnston

I shot Nick Johnston at Seymour Duncan, demo-ing their pickups in front of a nice crowd and he graced me by looking at my camera. Something I really love. Snapped a few pics of Neal Morse signing autographs and I saw Thomas Lang taking pictures with some fans after his set (I missed it because they switched the times due to scheduling conflicts).

Finally, to end the day, I met up with Lauren Elle Jaye, someone I met on Facebook who I wanted to meet in person. She was the coolest, most genuine, caring person I have met in a long time. We talked as if we had known each other for years, sitting on the ground of a slowly dwindling hallway. It was the perfectly chill way to end the long and adventurous day. She simply radiates positivity and love and is such a delight to be around. Also she gives dope hugs.

Well Day 1 was kind of stressful and a bit of a nightmare. Day 2 was such an amazing day filled with old friends, new friends, and famous people. 

Other people I met and/or took pictures of were Jared Dines, Mike Orlando, Joey Creel, Steven Slate, John Browne.

NAMM Day 1

Being a first time NAMM attendee, I had no idea what I was in for. I walked into the Anaheim Convention Center and was immediately overwhelmed by the size of the place, mixed in with the vast number of booths and massive crowd of people wandering around. This was before I learned that there were 3 floors of the place! 

I wandered around looking at the various booths of which I knew nothing about until I ran into legendary bass player Victor Wooten absolutely shredding on his bass at the Hartke Booth. To see him play in person was such an honor. A crowd immediately gathered around him and listened in reverence.

Victor Wooten

Victor Wooten

Luckily, I ran into my friends from The Mirage Theory, who by their good graces got me into NAAM, and I used them as a guide for the rest of the day. Davier (drummer) and I walked around and he pointed out who was famous and when to take pictures of them. I was basically in a state of confusion all day, not knowing where to go, how to find people, or what any of the stuff did. I drove home exhausted and immediately passed out. 

This is how I felt after Day 1