Apr 29, 2017

M3 Rock Fest - Day #2

By Bob Suehs

 

M3 Rock Fest - Day #2

4/29/17

Columbia, MD

Merriweather Post Pavilion

 Day #2 of the 2017 M3 Rock Fest started off with clear, cool weather that slowly evolved into full on Summer time weather; temps were in the upper 90’s for most of the day.

 Arriving just as Autograph took the main stage, I stand by the statement I made the last time Autograph performed at the M3 Fest. Autograph need a 5 minute set because they have one song, “Turn Up The Radio”.  They need to play that song and then exit the stage because everything else is just filler.

 Junkyard performed on the Side stage at 1:25 PM and they sounded absolutely amazing.  Junkyard are an interesting mix of punk and hard rock, their approach is simple guitar/bass/drums/vocals and they do not pretend to be anything more than that.  Brian Baker from Bad Religion surprised the crowd by joining the band for “Hollywood”.

 Junkyard Set List:  Life, Back On The Streets, Misery, Faded, Simple Man, Blooze, All The Time, Wallet, Hands Off, Hollywood (With Brian Baker)

 Danger Danger were next on the main stage and they were the only band that feature all original members.  The highlight of their set was a bluesy number that was performed towards the middle of their set.

 Vain came out towards the end of the hair band era in the late 80’s…they never attained the success that Warrant and Winger had yet they maintained a solid underground following through the years.  Davy Vain is a tad older at this point but he still has the same energy and charisma that did in the late 80’s.  The side stage was packed for Vain’s set and this was the first time they had performed in Maryland in over 20 years.

 I missed Jack Russell’s Great White because I was backstage conducting interviews with Warrant and Vixen, but what I did hear from a distance sounded good.

 Warrant without Jani Lane will never be the same.  Robert Mason is a great front man and does a killer job keeping the legacy of Warrant alive.  Warrant have a new record entitled “Louder Harder Faster” and their new music sounds like classic hard rock with a modern feel.

 Bang Tango is always hit or miss.  When Joe is sober you will get a solid performance, but when he’s not sober it’s iffy at best.  For this set Joe was sober and brought his A game!  The only “off” moment was when they performed “Attack of Life” which sounded sloppy because the band members were clearly not playing together and Joe’s vocals were not in time with the music.  

 Bang Tango Set List:  Don’t Count Me Out, My Fav 9, Soul To Soul, Wrap My Wings, Attack of Life, Someone Like You

 Vixen sounded great and Britt Lightning on guitar has revitalized the bands overall sound.  Members of Faster Pussycat joined Vixen onstage towards the end of their set.

 Vixen Set List:  Streets In Paradise, Rev It Up, Bad Reputation, Big Brother, I Want You To Rock Me, I Don’t Need No Doctor, Love Made Me, One Night Alone, Edge of a Broken Heart

Tom Keifer was hands down the best front man, best vocalist, and coolest looking performer of the day!  Keifer and his band took the stage like well polished professionals and their set covered all the Cinderella classics as well as a cover of “Get By with a Little Help From My Friends” with the set closer being “Space Oddity” by David Bowie!  Keifer was hands down the best of Day #2.

 The renovations to Merriweather Post Pavilion look amazing and the new side stage adds to the overall concert experience.  The new stage has a large, green dome and the lights/sound are superb.

 Dokken headlined the side stage and as Don Dokken took the stage I immediately though, “When did Don Dokken become Sam Kinison?” Don’s hair is very similar to Kinison’s at this point and while the Dokken backing band may have sounded spot on, Don’s vocals were rough for most of the set.  The show had to stop briefly when Don’s guitar amp stopped working and for what it’s worth, the Dokken set sounded great with the exception of Don’s vocals which have deteriorated to a point where he should no longer take the stage.  Jack Russell joined Dokken for “Alone Again” which sounded decent.   By the time Dokken took the stage it was night time and most people were exhausted from the heat and alcohol.   RATT were getting ready to start their set and Lita Ford was onstage interning Ratt before the Dokken set had ended.

 DOKKEN Set List:  Paris, Don’t Close Eyes, Hunter, Kiss of Death, Into The Fire, Breaking the Chains, Dream Warriors, Lucky, Alone (With Jack Russell), Maddest Hatter, Too High, Will The Sun Rise, It’s Not Love, In My Dreams, Tooth N Nail

 Ratt had the honor of closing out M3 2017 and while the musician in Ratt were clearly having a blast, Stephen Pearcy seemed to be in another place at various points in the set.  Pearcy looked thinner, his demeanor was a tad cocky and at times it felt like he was not having a good time onstage.  There were long breaks between songs and at times it felt like they were not sure where to go or what to do as a band.  Pearcy would walk around and begin a small stage rap, then randomly just stop.  Towards the end of the show Pearcy commented that this was not the first time Ratt had played M3, that they had been their in other configurations and Pearcy made a random snicker which clearly referred to Blotzer.