Friday, May 2, 2014

M3 Festival Day 2, Part I- Stryper/ Jake E Lee's Red Dragon Cartel/ Keel/ Jack Russell's Great White/Femme Fatale/ John Corabi/ Heaven's Edge @ Merriweather Post Pavilion 4/26/2014

Part I of M3 Festival, Day 2.  (Part II here!)
I didn't catch Day 1 of M3 (Paganfest 2014 instead), but my friend Neil did and has a much better written review  at his blog.

I went to M3, day 2 ($40 lawn) for 2014 with my buddy Tony.  I saw a bunch of people there, including Kris, Bobbie, Marysol y su hombre, Ariel y su mujer, Tom, Rod, Dwayne, James y su mujer, Rachl, Tony Dio, RUBY, Bob (Mr Rock and Roll Experience) and maybe someone else. whew! Break out your leather and hairspray, because we going to the BIGGEST (hair) metal (and hard rock) show of the year (in the US)! Whew.

As great as family bonding is, I think the skullet is not a great choice

There were TONS of people there, I think there may have been more people there than last year- it seemed packed, even at the NEW SECOND STAGE.  This was an interesting show for me because I had not seen a lot of the bands today before. The walk to the second stage was a bit longer, but totally worth it!

Merriweather constructed a whole new second stage that seemed very similar to the one that was at Outlaw Jam years ago. It was pretty big, much bigger and nicer than the one at previous M3 years.  The sound was pretty amazing as well, I def think that they made a nice investment with this new stage. I got there early so I for once would not miss any bands. Other years I've missed Steelheart, Pretty Boy Floyd, etc.)

Best Rock Moves go to Heaven's Edge

Heaven's Edge was on first and for having what, one album, they were very solid and actually way better than anticipated.  Their sound was spot on, and their coordinated rock moves were bar none the best of the whole day. They would synchronize their rockin' movements for many songs, and for the first band of the day, they set the bar VERY high.  The crowd reaction seemed really strong, especially for a C or D level hair band- they sang along to the ballads ("Find Another Way" in particular had a lot of singing).  I didn't know that many people knew about this band that I grabbed a CD for $1 a while ago.

We knew Keel was on next around 12, overlapping his set and I could hear him, but his performance at the second stage M3 in 2011 left much to be desired, IMO, so I wanted to finish out Heaven's Edge (who seemed to play longer than anticipated).  When we got over to Ron Keel, I heard  his OK cover of "Because the Night."  I dunno why he didn't play more originals... but just like last time I was underwhelmed. I think even my buddy, who is allegedly a huge Keel fan, said that the songs sounded slower or weaker than they should have. So take that with a grain of salt.

John Corabi: Hippie

We hustled over to see John Corabi, who I have never seen before, and was curious as to the hippie on stage was.  I knew he played with Motley Crue for a bit, and had some other bands as well (thanks He sounded really good, pretty heavy. For not having heard pretty much any of his songs (well not remembering the Crue ones) I thought he was pretty great. There was one jam at the end that kind of meandered, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised by him.

Jack Russell's Great White was what I walked over to after a piss break- and he sounded pretty good. They were throwing out the hits, and I thought even though he looked rough, he sounded about as good as when we last saw them at last year's M3 (which was pretty damn good, if you like Great White).  I can't really recall anything bad about their performance (esp the inclusion of "Mista Bone," that song really jams), so def a solid set. 

Femme Fatale, another band I had not seen before, was on next. They seem to be Vixen V3.0, from a band with a female singer to one composed entirely of females.  I think Lorraine Lewis has a couple members of the Iron Maidens (Courtney Cox and Nita Strauss, both guitars),  in her band now, actually. Unfortunately, all this girl  (lady?) power was not very well appreciated by the crowd- they had a pretty lukewarm response. All this despite the very energetic frontwoman running around in leathers (note: her vest had a stars and bars patch on it...), and even spraying pink silly string on the crowd at one point (wtf?).  Sonically, they sounded really good, and I recognized many of the songs (and they had a new one as well ("Lady...")).  I think they were alright, but comparably, Heaven's Edge (also had one album) had a much larger reaction.  I thought all the ladies involved looked very nice (tho Katt Scarlett on keyboards seemed like she had a bit of an attitude and looked a lil like Kat Dennings) and performed with little complaints. The sound on the guitars could have been turned up a bit more, tho.  I felt bad for them giving a nice performance, but the crowd was clearly underwhelmed.

After their set, I headed over to see the Yellow and Black Attack- the much maligned Stryper. If you like Jesus, hey you may like these guys. If you don't, then try to give their music a chance anyways- you'll be surprised.  Their sound was pretty much album quality, tho it seemed not as loud as it should have been IMO.  I caught "..Rock," but soon everyone around me was singing "Calling..."  I thought they had a good sounding set, despite not knowing many songs. They really should have tossed out that Kiss cover (why?) and thrown in another Rocker or Ballad. I mean come on, Honestly?  They were noticeably less yellow (or maybe my eyes suck) than in past years that I've seen photos from, but you could still tell it was them.  I think I would have enjoyed them more if I had known more of their songs. Regardless, listen to the guitars, and TELL me they don't make you want to cry a tear or 2 of joy. 

Back from obscurity, wish he would have brought a better obscure singer with him

Now, I hustled while Stryper was finishing up to go and get there if Jake E Lee (I never have seen him before either!) went on early. Recently he;s resurfaced with a new band (Red Dragon Cartel), new songs (same), and OLD songs (Badlands, Ozzy!), and some horrible fashion sense.  My buddy at the Rock and Roll Experience captured Jake wearing the scarf he had during the show... wrapped around his head during some meet and greet.   Well, anyways (love him or hate him) Eddie Trunk introduced Jake E. Lee as if they unearthed a long lost fossil (which basically is what I felt like, he'd been a recluse for ages).  They stomped onto the stage with a favourite of mine- "The Ultimate Sin," and I was having a great time.  They powered into a set of mainly originals (surprising considering most festival sets for M3 pull out and lean heavily on the greatest hits), which was probably for the better, to prove to people hey, Jake is back (and he told you so)!  They included my top Jake E Lee song- "High Wire," but excluded  the predictable yet probably biggest hit Ozzy era "Bark at the Moon."  I thought Jake sounded pretty great, but his singer was... off. I mean couldn't you have found Joe Lynn Turner or Graham Bonnet? Mats Levin? Hell, anyone who used to sing for Yngwie or Ritchie Blackmore?  I think the strong performances on the album by mostly 'guest' singers didn't get translated well with this guy they had singing.  The rest of the band was either OK or better than the singer, I was so fixated on Jake and him that I kind of had the rest as an afterthought.



The unwashed masses of M3
Heaven's Edge and the crowd
John Corabi
Great White
Femme Fatale
Jake E Lee's Red Dragon Cartel


Heaven's Edge (11:39- 12:13)
  • Play Dirty 
  • Skin To Skin 
  • Rock Steady Rock 
  • Bad Reputation 
  • Just Another Fire
  • Is That All You Want 
  • Find Another Way 
  • Can't Catch Me 

Keel (12- )
  • (Unknown)
  • Because the Night  (Patti Smith cover)
  • Rock N' Roll Outlaw
  • Tears of Fire 
  • The Right to Rock 

John Corabi  (12:30- ) (thank you
  • Outlaw  (The Scream song)
  • Love (I Don't Need It Anymore)  (Union song)
  • Never in My Life  (Mountain cover)
  • Uncle Jack  (Mötley Crüe song)
  • Man in the Moon  (The Scream song)
  • Hooligan's Holiday  (Mötley Crüe song)

Jack Russell's Great White (1:10- )
  • All Over Now
  • Desert Moon 
  • Mista Bone 
  • Save Your Love 
  • Lady Red Light 
  • Rock Me 
  • Once Bitten Twice Shy 

Femme Fatale (1:55- 2:30)
  • Falling in and Out of Love 
  • My Baby's Gun 
  • (Unknown)
  • (Unknown) (up thru the sky?)
  • Rebel 
  • Lady in Waiting (new song)
  • Waiting for the Big One 
Stryper (2:35- )
  • Abyss 
  • To Hell With the Devil 
  • The Rock That Makes Me Roll 
  • Calling on You 
  • Free 
  • More Than a Man 
  • Shout It Out Loud  (KISS cover)
  • Legacy 
  • No More Hell to Pay 
  • The Way 
  • Soldiers Under Command 

Jake E. Lee's Red Dragon Cartel (3:33- )

  • The Ultimate Sin  (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
  • Deceived 
  • War Machine (NOT the KISS song) 
  • High Wire  (Badlands cover)
  • Shout It Out 
  • Feeder