The annual M3 Rock Festival made its way back to its home for another two days of hard rock glam metal from the bands that were the music scene back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. If you have never been to this event, you need to make this a bucket list item immediately especially if you love this type of music. There is no festival like this anywhere. Period. Are there bigger festivals? Sure. Are there festivals with bigger top selling artists? Maybe. The difference with this one is every, and I mean every band, is handpicked from an era that was beloved by many. M3 was hosted again by Eddie Trunk.
Friday night saw performances by Station, Baton Rouge, Dangerous Toys, Loverboy, Faster Pussycat, Winger and Kix, with the first four listed as first timers to this event. A special VIP only acoustic performance by Lita Ford started the event off Friday. Kix is the annual closer on Fridays nights, if you didn’t already know this, less the one year when they let W.A.S.P. close, but it’s all good. No one minds this, especially since Kix are Maryland’s home rock band so I for one am in favor of this every year.
Station, from NYC, started things off and this band flat out rocks if you have never seen them. They have an album available, released in 2015, and it will rock your socks off. Look for an exclusive interview from the band in the coming weeks. Baton Rouge was next and it was nice to finally see this band play live as I missed them back in the day. “Walks Like a Woman” never sounded better. Dangerous Toys took the stage next and rocked the stage. I saw them play at the legendary Hammerjacks back in 1992 and I hadn’t seen them since. I can definitely see this band coming back as the crowd was rocking out to them big time and 30 minutes wasn’t enough. “Scared” was probably THE best song of the night played by any band on Friday. Faster Pussycat followed DT and due to an illness, lead singer Taime Downe was not able to perform but the band still played and sang some songs themselves along with guests Ted Poley of Danger Danger, Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys, and Share Ross of Vixen. Winger took the stage next and killed it. Possibly the best sounding band of the evening, they played “Seventeen,” “Madalaine,” and “Easy Come, Easy Go.” They always are a great live band with Kip still sounding great. It was nice seeing Paul Taylor perform with the band as well again for this. Loverboy took the stage next and this was going to be the first time for me seeing them live. Mike Reno and Paul Dean were great to see finally. Although not glam rock, Loverboy still made the M3 crowd quite happy and played a barrage of their hits they had back in the day which included “Turn Me Loose,” “Working for The Weekend,” and “Take Me To The Top.” Kix ended the night and did their thing. The end. Just kidding. Now, you know I can’t end that there. Kix once again brought the house down playing a full set of hits that included “Midnite Dynamite,” “Cold Shower,” and “Blow My Fuse.” Kix will always be the fun band to come and see on M3 Friday and yes, it’s their ninth straight festival as this is their home crowd.
Saturday was a full day of bands again that included first timers Vain, Junkyard, Mitch Malloy, and Rhino Bucket along with Vixen, Bang Tango, Jack Russell’s Great White, Autograph, Danger Danger, Warrant, Tom Keifer, Dokken, and the reunited Ratt. Local bands Korupt and 1 Nite Stand also performed. I always liked the fact M3 makes it possible for selected local bands to open the festival, which these two did this year.
Now for Saturday’s show, there are two stages if you have never been here, the main pavilion and a brand new smaller stage in the back woods of Merriweather called, well, the Forest Stage. When one band ends, another begins, alternating between the two. 1 Nite Stand were up first and they are a local cover rock band that M3 gave 25 minutes to rock out. Rhino Bucket were then first up on the main stage and funny enough, this was their third time performing in the area that week as they played some warm up shows the previous Wednesday and Thursday. Kix’s Brian Forsythe plays in the band as well so he had double duty to do at M3 and it was nice to see another side of him other than Kix. Local rockers Korupt then hit the back stage and they have a nice following in the area for the last thirty years so it’s nice they get their due at M3, which they have played before. Mitch Malloy came up next and it was nice to see him perform as this was the first time for me. “Anything at All”, his hit from way back was very nice to hear live and he can flat out sing too. Autograph came next and this was their second M3 as 2015 was their first. “Turn Up the Radio” is always everyone’s favorite. Shockwave did an exclusive interview with them which you can go and check out in our interviews section. Junkyard then hit the Forest Stage and it was great seeing these guys again. 1994 was the last time for me. “Hollywood” literally brought the crowd to a frenzy when they played it. Danger Danger always is a great live band and they absolutely put on a great show. Former guitarist Tony Bruno filled in for Rob Marcello and was amazing having not played with them for a while. “Beat the Bullet” and “Naughty Naughty” were the highlights. This was their third appearance here. Davy Vain and Vain were up next and this being their first time here, you could feel the crowd had been waiting nine years for them. Their version of “Beat the Bullet” was stunning to watch along with “No Respect.” They have a new release out called Rolling with The Punches as well that you can read about in our album review section. Jack Russell’s Great White was next on the main stage this year and it was great watching him perform. “Rock Me” is always a fan favorite that’s good to hear. Bang Tango took the Forest Stage next and the packed crowd enjoyed them tremendously. “Dancin’ On Coals” and “Someone Like You” were played and the people were ecstatic. Warrant then were up on the main stage and let me tell you, they might have been the most enthusiastic of the bands to perform. Robert Mason is a great front man for this band now and it shows in his performance. Vixen were up next and they did not disappoint either. “Love Made Me” and “Cryin” showcased their set. Tom Keifer of Cinderella was next up on the main stage and to be honest, while the crowd might have enjoyed his performance, I didn’t like the sound of his set or his voice, which was surprising because I have seen him before and he was great, but this time, I just did not like his set. He played songs off his solo album that no one really knew than playing just Cinderella hits. Just my opinion, so don’t shoot me. Dokken were up next and they made up for Keifer big time in my opinion. Headlining the Forest Stage, Don and crew was in my opinion the best performance of the day. “Dream Warriors” was superb, “Breaking the Chains” was incredible, and “Into the Fire” sent the crowd into a flux. And mind you, everyone was singing every song along with Don. I think the reunion did some good for him and I look forward to seeing him again real soon. Stephan Pearcy and Ratt almost specifically got back together just for this festival and headlined the evening, playing a full set of 15 songs that included “Nobody Rides For Free,” “Back For More,” and “Round And Round,” which ended another successful M3 Festival. This was their second time performing and headlining also and no matter how many times I see Ratt, they will always be one of my favorites.
Now I don’t know what the powers that be have in store for the tenth anniversary next year, but I can almost guarantee it will be something bigger than ever before for this great festival and I look forward to it.