Wednesday, May 20, 2015

M3 Rock Festival Day 2 @ Merriweather Post Pavilion 5/2/2015

Tony and I went to the M3 Rock Festival Day 2 ($61 for 2 day lawn ticket).  We saw Ariel and Ilem, Ron, Dwayne, Dorothy, Ruby and Julia, Rikki, Tom, Gori and Omar, Michelle and Neil, Henry, jen and Bridget, Rachel, Lisa, and maybe more! In its 7th year, the M3 (Merriweather May Metal) Rock Festival still is going strong (although with an oddly chosen headliner- more popular overseas than here). It was a long day, about 10 hours of being in the sun, drinking, listening to music, walking, singing along, and hanging with friends!

The M3 Rock Festival seemed to still bring a strong crowd of thousands today as well. There was plenty of room on the lawn, but it was by no means empty! I am not sure if the attendance was more or less than previous years, but there were no shortage of people coming to rock out! We did miss Rhino Bucket, Killer Dwarves, Bad Seed Rising, and most of Tyketto.


Merchandise, I finally took a look during "Ballad of Jayne" (hate that song). There was not as much as I was expecting- but most bands had at least one shirt. Tawny Kitaen was on the side, signing and taking photos at some point. She still looks pretty good. She later introduced a couple bands, but I can't recall which ones. Eddie Trunk also did the similar. I didn't see anything particularly interesting, and maybe even a bit disappointing.

Eddie's Frankenstein was here too!

As we got to the parking lot, and entered the venue around 1:10 PM, we heard the last song of Tyketto. I heard rave reviews of them from some friends, but what I heard was just "OK." Not bad by any means, but not really compelling. I heard rumblings that they may come to Northern Virginia, but that's not confirmed.
You can kind of see Vixen

Vixen, the first band we fully saw, was sounding great. Their setlist was great, but their song order,  too much talking or silence between songs, and the unneeded snippets in "I Want You to Rock Me" really hindered a lot of their momentum. Just as a song would fire you up, there would be a poor transition and the energy waned. I am pretty sure I saw the all female Vixen featuring a man on keyboards off the side of the stage. A really good set, all things considered

Black N Blue

Black N Blue was up next. They had an AC/DC sound, rock moves, and a faux Michael Schenker on guitar. I thought they were entertaining (especially the rock moves!) and they were very tight. However I think they were at the bottom of my list on my queue, so I only recognized a couple songs. The singer was pretty decent, but all in all it was kind of a generic performance song wise. A good set, with their 'hit' ("Hold on to 18") being the highlight.

L.A. Guns was up next, and sounded very good. Phil Lewis sounds as good as ever, but their newer guitarist Michael Grant still was not playing the solos right, as my buddy insisted. I think I could tell on one or two songs that they sounded different, but I'm not the world's greatest L.A. Guns fan! He wasn't bad, he just wasn't playing the songs right- some may argue that he was putting his own mark on those songs, but wouldn't you rather hear the one you've heard for so many years? Their set was noteworthy because they pulled out a couple deep cuts ("Showdown..." and "...Ball"), which I don't ever recall ever getting to hear live before. Props to them for that, some special treats for the diehards! I checked merch at the always yawn worthy "...Jayne." Still, Phil and the boys did put on a good show and got a pretty long set (about 50 minutes)!

My love /hate relationship with Bang Tango continued this day as well. Bang Tango was featuring a a new guitarist -Drew Fortier  the director of a recent documentary about Bang Tango. That's not strange at all. Frontman Joe Leste was still his same spotty self. I don't know why he still includes 2 newer Bang Tango songs that lack the soul of BT. He should really throw some Beautiful Creatures songs in or something. In any event, we missed most of "Dancin' on Coals" huffin it to the side stage. An OK set, but definitely have seen better (and worse) from them. "Someone Like You" was also a bit rough sounding on those high notes.

Overcast or something for Krokus

We headed back over to the main stage to hear Swiss band Krokus, one of the European rarities of the day (and one band I'd not seen before!). They sounded pretty great musically, but their setlist flow and choices were a bit spotty. Why have two unnecessary covers (including one pretty bad Bob Dylan song), especially with 17 (!!) albums to choose from! It really bugs me. "Heatstrokes" had a snippet of  UFO
s "Rock Bottom" in it as well, for some reason. I will count their set as disappointing, based on how wonky the flow was.

Ritchie (no not that one)  and the Winery Dogs

Next, we headed back to the side stage to see the odd for this festival Winery Dogs, featuring Mike Portnoy, Ritchie Kotzen, and Billy Sheehan. I had last seen them last year, at an excellent show at the Birchmere. They did not disappoint this time either, sounding spot on playing their originals and one Talas cover. The vibe was a bit more serious and even blusey or proggy for them (as expected), which was not as simple or even hedonistic as most of the other more hair bandy groups of this festival. Mr. Sheehan absolutely proved once again why he's one of if not THE best bassist today! Nevertheless they had one of the strongest sets of the day.

Can't tell/remember who this is

Warrant was up next, to bring things back to the party. I think I read about some people complaining about singer Robert Mason not mentioning the deceased Jani Lane, which I understand- most of those songs he wrote! They were very solid, no surprises, one non-Jani song. I didn't have any complaints except I wanted to hear more! They had Jack Russell (of Jack Russell's Great White) guest on "Cherry Pie" gang vocals as well. Jack actually did an acoustic set for VIP people I think. I recently saw Jack at the Fish Head Cantina, and he was on point. I think people in the pit were a bit more appreciative because from the lawn you couldn't really hear Jack's additions.

Y&T had unfortunately started by the time we got over there. They were predictably amazing. They were amazing when I saw them 2 years ago at the Baltimore Soundstage. I think they could have played anything and people would have loved it- but there were of course several songs that would have been a joy to hear as well! Dave Meniketti and co. sounded on top of their game, rocking perhaps harder than many younger bands! I thought they were even better than Warrant, and I was having a ball! Not to mention who would be up next!

Queensryche was up next, with a set of about an hour with perhaps the strongest performance of the day. A killer set of classics, excellently executed, but surprisingly featuring zero new songs. A safe set, but why not venture out with a newer song or two, as Todd's been with them for a while now? Tony and I were up close (on the lawn) and I thought they were loud as hell! We were shouting along to most songs, and even above our rendition of "Walk in Todd LaTorre, Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson, and Parker Lundgren were on point and could do no wrong this evening. I hate that they've only played M3 and not any headline shows in the MD/DC/VA Area... PA I think was the closest they've come, Pittsburgh? Queensryche also had that more serious feel to them, but was no less enjoyable.

Tom Keifer (Cinderella) was the headliner in the dark on the side stage at this point. I don't know if he had an ego problem or didn't keep track of the time, but he kept on playing a couple songs into Europe's start time. I think that was a bit unprofessional, but it's hard to say the reason why that happened. Nevertheless, Tom sounded great, and the crowd was really into it. He played a couple solo songs that I didn't know that sounded alright, and then a bunch of Cinderella classics that were pretty great. I wanted to hear all of his set, but I had to run to Europe, who I'd never seen live, much less tour around here before! People seemed to really dig his set, and not a lot of people were running to see Europe (besides me).

Bonus Krokus

As we heard Tom Keifer still wailing away, Swedish rockers Europe kind of kicked off their set with a whimper with some new songs from their latest album "War of Kings" that a number of people were scratching their heads to. I think most people are regrettably only familiar with Europe with the hits "The Final Countdown" and "Carrie." They have much more in their discography, and hopefully enough people stayed to listen to the variety. I definitely saw people leaving during their set, unfortunately. "Scream of Anger" was my favourite of their set. I wanted to hear anything from their self titled release, but still I think we got a good mix, that was perhaps a bit heavy on the new stuff. That may work in Europe for Europe, but I don't think a lot of people grabbed that solid new album. To me, Europe was a good headliner, but lacked the punch of a "superstar" act to many. I enjoyed their set, but I think Queensryche or even Cinderella proper would have been a more appropriate final act of the day. I appreciate Europe, but all in all they were not the strongest headliner- they were only slated to play for an hour and five minutes! Tom Keifer and Queensryche both played about an hour!

Bonus Tawny Kitaen

Overall: a blast of a time. Maybe not THE BEST M3, but definitely a great time! Best: Queensryche. Worst: Bang Tango.

Next Show: Haken at Empire, Farewell show

Vixen (1:15-2:00)

  • Rev It Up
  • How Much Love
  • Cruisin'
  • Cryin'
  • I Want You to Rock Me (w/ Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Guns N Roses, Slaughter, Poison snippets)
  • Streets in Paradise
  • Love is A Killer
  • Love Made Me
  • Edge of a Broken Heart

Black n Blue (~2:00- 2:29)

  • Get Wise to the Rise
  • School of Hard Knocks (saw from here)
  • Autoblast
  • Nasty Nasty
  • Miss Mystery
  • Chains Around Heaven
  • Hold on to 18
LA Guns (2:44- ~3:35)

  • No Mercy
  • Showdown (Riot on Sunset)
  • Sex Action
  • Never Enough
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Over the Edge
  • Hellraiser's Ball
  • Electric Gypsy
  • Ballad of Jayne
  • Rip & Tear
Bang Tango (~3:30- 4:05)

  • Dancin' On Coals
  • Attack of Life
  • My Favourite 9
  • Soul to Soul
  • Breaking Up a Heart of Stone
  • Bring on the World
  • Someone Like You

Krokus (4:15-5:00)

  • Long Stick Goes Boom
  • American Woman (Guess Who cover)
  • Hoodoo Woman
  • Screaming in the Night
  • Heatstrokes (w/ Rock Bottom snippet)
  • Easy Rocker
  • Eat the Rich
  • Headhunter
  • Quinn the Eskimo (The Might Quinn) (Bob Dylan cover)

Winery Dogs (5:08 -5:50)

  • Elevate
  • We Are one
  • Time Machine
  • I'm no Angel
  • The Other Side
  • Love is Alive
  • Desire
  • Shy Boy (Talas cover)

Warrant (5:59- 6:48)

  • D.R.F.S.R.
  • Down Boys
  • Sure Feels Good to me
  • Sometimes She Cries
  • So Damn Pretty
  • I Saw Red
  • Sex Ain't Love
  • Heaven
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Cherry Pie

Y&T ( 6:45?- 7:35)

  • Don't Stop Runnin'
  • Black Tiger
  • I Want Your Money
  • Mean Streak
  • I Believe In You
  • Contagious
  • Summertime Girls
  • Rescue Me
  • Forever

Queensryche (7:41-8:47)

  • Nightrider
  • Breaking the Silence
  • Walk in the Shadows
  • En Force
  • Warning
  • Silent Lucidity
  • NM 156
  • Eyes of a Stranger
  • Empire
  • Queen of the Reich
  • Jet City Woman
  • Take Hold of the Flame

Tom Keifer (8:55- 9:56 +)

  • Bad Seamstress Blues/Fallin' Apart At The Seams
  • It's Not Enough
  • A Different Light
  • Somebody Save me
  • Shake Me
  • Heartbreak Station
  • Don't Know What You Got (Til It's Gone)
  • Nobody's Fool
  • Solid Ground
  • Night Songs
  • Coming Home
  • Shelter Me (left here)
  • With a Little Help From My Friends
  • Gypsy Road

Europe (9:55- 11:00)

  • War of Kings
  • Hole In My Pocket
  • Rock the Night
  • Last Look at Eden
  • Scream of Anger
  • Superstitious
  • The Second Day
  • Carrie
  • Firebox
  • Cherokee
  • Days of Rock N' Roll
  • The Final Countdown