Friday, May 2, 2014

M3 Fest Day 2 Part II- Tesla/ Night Ranger/ Sabastian Bach/ Slaughter/ L.A. Guns/ Autograph/ Queensryche @ Merriweather Post Pavilion 4/26/2014

Part II of M3 Festival Day 2- the 2nd half  (Part I here)  We left as I was scampering over to see...

As "Feeder" was being played, I motioned to la familia that we should go see (the "real?") Queensryche!  Now you've probably heard a bit of controversy with the drama surrounding Geoff Tate and the rest of Queensryche. And to make things sweeter, Tateryche was admittedly AMAZING when I saw them earlier in the year.  I wanted to see/hear for myself how Todd La Torre (ex-Crimson Glory) was with the rest of Queensryche.  I was definitely excited, and was pretty sure Todd and co were going to blow Tateryche out of the water.  I think my prediction, as well as the reports from all over the internet, were accurate. Todd's amazing voice combined with the already amazing band (Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Michael Wilton) makes old songs new again- cliche of breathing new life into the band.  They kicked things off with the odd "Nightrider" and threw out hit after deep cut after hit!  They only played one new song, surprisingly, and just nailed us with songs I guess everyone wanted to hear. I know I lost my mind at "Walk ...," which sounded nigh perfect. I don't know how many accolades I can give to them to relate how amazing they sounded.  I def want to hear more!  As great as "Walk..." was, "Take hold..." was almost an ethereal experience. I think most people who heard it would agree.  Would I say that this Queensryche took hold of the flame? Yes.

One hit wonder Autograph had the misfortune of playing after Queensrcyhe (another booking error IMO, why wouldn't they be earlier in the day?).  I looked at wikipedia and they apaprently have like 7 albums. I def have heard the first one (I thought it was rather week when I heard it in like 1999 or so), but not the rest. I thought they sounded OK, but maybe the Queensryche high made them seem like crap.  I really wasn't impressed by them, but its not like they sounded horrible.  Sorry guys.

I think we walked over while Autograph was "Turning Up the Radio," to catch Sebastian Bach (whom I missed because I was coming back from a business trip and thought Baltimore was a hell of a long trip after a plane ride).  He predictably played a lot of Skid Row songs (he's so full of it whenever people ask him about Skid Row reunions).  6 of 8 or 9 ( has him performing his new "All my Friends are dead" song, but my notes didn't have it). were Skid Row songs, and had the best reactions. I think "Monkey Business" was the best. I heard reports of him being "too loud," but I was on the lawn and it sounded fine to me.  He also casually mentioned that M3 had 'sold out' this year. Maybe he meant the pavilion, because it was definitely not sold out on the lawn. Having been there for Zac Brown, who actually DID sell out the whole pavilion and lawn, this was NOT sold out.  I thought his solo stuff was alright, but the Skid Row jams had me a bit hoarse.

L.A. Guns was up next on the second stage, and they had the misfortune of having it start to rain in about the middle of their set. I put on my coat and let my cowboy hat soak up the rain, so I was fine, but many patrons ran for cover.  I think my friend will tell you that L.A. Guns without Tracii Guns...isn't L.A. Guns. I thought they sounded fine, and they had their 'greatest hits' including my favourite "Over the Edge."  If you've seen an L.A. Guns (well that makes it 3 bands in this lineup with name squabbles- Great White, Queensryche, L.A. Guns), you've seen this set before. Pretty solid, but I'm only a casual L.A. Guns fan. They played one song I didn't know, that may have been "Eel Pie" based on some kind soul on  I think their 'new' guitar player sounded way better than last time, and we'll leave it there.  They ended with their horrible ballad "...Jayne," so I convinced everyone to walk over to the Main stage for....

Please... one year

the 'hey we have more songs than THAT song you people why are you looking at me like that?" Night Ranger!  Now I always am like "Yeah NR is good live, that'll be fun" before the show, and then "HOLY CRAP THAT RULED" after the set.  And this time was no exception. They started out a little weak ("...Madness"), but things quickly ramped up and by "4AM" I was AMPED.  They threw an amazing curve ball in with not one but two Damn Yankees songs ("Coming of Age" which I've never heard live before! and "High Enough" )!  Those were definitely the highlights for me.  Then they kicked out "Don't Tell Me..." which sounded fantastic (probably my favourite Night Ranger song), with a snippet of "Highway Star."   I was still high on their set, so I dealt with "..Christian" and "Rock..." with a restroom break.  Basically they sounded amazing, despite Brad Gillis kind of phoning it it on guitar.

Slaughter (not the death metal band, but the one made up of basically 4/5 of Vinnie Vincent Invasion), yet another band I've not seen before (despite Mark Slaughter playing guitar with Nelson on a previous M3), was headlining the second stage.  It was odd because they played about 45 minutes, where Night Ranger just busted out an Hour plus set.  They did, however, play a number of great Slaughter songs. My favourite was "Real Love," despite it sounding a little less loud than it should have.  Mark Slaughter took to the crowd for a song or two, which was odd because you could NOT see him on the big screens and there was no spotlight to focus on him.  Another odd point was when the drummer started to hit and dismantle his drumset and even throw pieces on the ground. I'm not really sure what he was trying to accomplish, but it was a bit unnerving. Not to mention the awkward roadie/drum tech trying to grab the pieces and try to restore the set.  Regardless, Mark Slaughter sounded pretty great- the high wails were pretty remarkable.  That was only half the story, because there seemed to be something off, among the drummer, Mark's kind of odd stage performance (throwing picks out on like the first song, going to the crowd as above), and the short set.  Regardless, I thought they were pretty good.

I was the first time that I would get to see Tesla, who are less a hair and more serious (and slightly country or Southern rock) hard rockin' band.  My buddy has had rave reviews about them, and I enjoyed their studio stuff (but am by no means as big a fan of them as I am of say, Scorpions).  So they had a pretty decent set (a little over an hour) for a festival, and there were absolutely zero complaints about the sound and musical performance. They were basically flawless, all the way back on the lawn they were amazing.  Their set could have included "Edison's Medicine, IMO. The new song ("MP3") was sounding pretty good, despite the kind of hokey lyrics.  I think "Modern Day Cowboy" was my favourite of the lot (no surprise), and I was shaken a hell of a lot during "...Suzi."  Jeff Keith and Frank Harmon (and the other guys) seemed to be effortlessly playing.  Frank in particular had closeups on the screen and looked like he wasn't even trying while making his guitar sing (in some sweet Western shirt). Very underrated.  The crowd was a bit odd, because there were way less cheers and movement during songs, but we didn't see people leave part way thru their set, like Bret Michaels had last year.  The applause/cheering in between songs was pretty loud, so the folks must have enjoyed it?

Overall, it was a pretty great M3. I think the variety of bands I've not seen before, along with the 'standard's that I knew would be rockin' was rather good.  The order of some bands was a bit puzzling (Autograph on late, Queensryche and Jake E Lee on earlyish),  and the overlapping of sets was a bit disappointing too (I want to hear.all.the.songs!).  The rain (obviously out of control) was a little dampening (err no pun intended) on the mood as well.  The variety of bands, the new second stage, the ease of walking between stages, and the sound quality were all amazing! And Tesla was a MUCH stronger headliner than Bret Michaels   Another successful M3, with great friends and great music!

Next Show: Primal Fear at the Baltimore Soundstage!

LA Guns
Night Ranger from the lawn


Queensryche (4:10- )
  • Nightrider 
  • Breaking the Silence 
  • Walk in the Shadows 
  • Warning 
  • X2 
  • Where Dreams Go to Die 
  • Eyes of a Stranger 
  • Empire 
  • Queen of the Reich 
  • Jet City Woman 
  • Take Hold of the Flame 

Autograph (5:05- )
  • Deep End 
  • Dance All Night 
  • Loud and Clear 
  • Blondes in Black Cars 
  • Send Her to Me 
  • My Girlfriend's Boyfriend Isn't Me 
  • She Never Looked That Good for Me 
  • Crazy World 
  • Turn Up the Radio 

Sebastian Bach (5:50- 6:45)

  • Slave to the Grind (Skid Row)
  • Temptation 
  • Big Guns (Skid Row)
  • 18 and life (Skid Row)
  • American metalhead
  • Monkey business (Skid Row)
  • I remember you (Skid Row)
  • Youth gone wild (Skid Row)
(NOTE: has "All My Friends are Dead" after "I remember you" but I don't recall/have it in my notes. it does make sense that he would play that song since they just released the video for it)

L.A. Guns (6:40- )
  • Show No Mercy 
  • Sex Action 
  • Never Enough 
  • I Wanna Be Your Man 
  • Over the Edge 
  • Revolution 
  • Kiss My Love Goodbye 
  • (Unknown)
  • One More Reason 
  • Electric Gypsy 
  • The Ballad of Jayne 

Night Ranger (7:35-8:42)
  • Touch of Madness 
  • Sing Me Away 
  • Lay It On Me 
  • Four in the Morning 
  • Coming of Age  (Damn Yankees cover!!!!!)
  • High Road 
  • Eddie's Comin' Out Tonight 
  • High Enough  (Damn Yankees cover!)
  • When You Close Your Eyes 
  • Don't Tell Me You Love Me (w/little snippet of Highway Star)
  • Sister Christian 
  • (You Can Still) Rock in America 

Slaughter (8:55- 9:38)
  • The Wild Life 
  • Burnin' Bridges 
  • Spend My Life 
  • Mad About You 
  • Real Love 
  • Fly to the Angels 
  • Up All Night 

Tesla (9:47- 11)
  • I Wanna Live 
  • Hang Tough 
  • Heaven's Trail (No Way Out) 
  • Mama's Fool 
  • Into the Now 
  • MP3 (Too Much Technology) 
  • The Way It Is 
  • What You Give 
  • Love Song 
  • Signs  (Five Man Electrical Band cover)
  • Modern Day Cowboy 
  • Little Suzi