I’ve survived another M3 Rock Festival. This year I skipped Friday because the line up didn’t seem to be worth the effort of getting up there in Friday traffic. Based on the Facebook comments about Vince Neil’s performance, I probably made the right call.
The Friday lineup.
- Vince Neil (using Slaughter’s band)
- Lynch Mob
- Britny Fox
- Enuff Z Nuff
- Gabbie Rae
- 86 Bullets
We made it to the pre-show tailgate party at about 10:30 AM on Saturday. The grills were grilling and the drinks were already flowing.
This cool and crazy group of folks that appreciate the music have formed around a Facebook group and we meetup at whatever shows we are attending, with M3 being the high holy days of 80s rock. We missed the first three sets because I was more interested in beer and food at 11 AM than music. So we didn’t see Every Mother’s Nightmare, Heaven’s Edge, or Faster Pussycat.
So the first band we heard was Steelheart. I remember their name from back in the day, but they were never one of my favorites. They sounded good though, and the performance vibe was of a band happy to be playing, so yay Steelheart.
Adler was up next. They played one Adler tune, which sounded like something Marilyn Manson would have recorded, and 5 off of Appetite for Destruction. Adler has had his challenges with addiction so that the fact he is playing music for money in 2016 is a success in a lot of ways. It just sounded like a very competent hard rock band covering GnR. There was nothing wrong with any of it, but not particularly noteworthy either.
Next up was Firehouse. I was never a Firehouse fan back in the day, but damn those guys come to play. I’ve seen them twice now at M3 and both times they killed it. So props to Firehouse for still playing like it’s 1987.
In the worst scheduling decision of the night, Y&T got a short 1:30 PM set. Seriously? Who made that decision? They of course sounded fantastic and acted like they were headlining a major arena, which is exactly what you want out of a band you are paying to see. I need to see them do a proper headlining show before they call it a career.
Next up was Quiet Riot. I still think they should be touring as something other than just “Quiet Riot” but there is no criticizing the performance. They were tight.
Following QR was Stephen Pearcy. I would have rather seen a Ratt tribute band. They at least would have appreciated the audience. Pearcy seemed to radiate a complete lack of interest in what he was doing, and almost some self-loathing that his career has come to this - playing the songs he wrote in the early 80s. His set list was 100% off of Out Of The Cellar. I saw Ratt headline a small club in 1998, and he wasn’t good then either. So I guess I can’t ignore the possibility that he was like that in 1986, at their peak.
FWIW, Out Of The Cellar is a fabulous record and an achievement 99% of all musicians will never reach. If that is his legacy he has nothing to be ashamed of.
Slaughter was up next. Slaughter’s band was awesome. His drummer Zolton Chaney is a maniac. Slaugher’s vocals were way off though. I don’t know of it was the sound man or him, but a lot of the set just sounded like somebody screeching over a kick ass rhythm section.
Now we get into the final four of the night.
Night Ranger was first. Night Ranger was my first show way back in 1984, and they are still a fantastic live band. Even though the must have more than enough cash to retire and take it easy, they play like they still have something to prove. I hope they have a headlining show nearby this summer as I would love to hear them do their full set.
Tom Keifer was up next, and IMHO he won the night. I’ve seen him 3 times in the last year and I thought he was on in every way possible tonight. He hit some screams I haven’t heard since Cinderella, and he did Purple Rain to honor Prince. Now he needs to get a new album out!
Queensryche was the first headliner to play. What is there to say? They had the most involved stage show, with coordinated video for the entire set. It did seem to me that Todd wasn’t quite hitting the high notes like he usually does. He seemed to be holding back a bit - maybe due to the damn chilly weather, or maybe he is fighting a cold or something. Of course, Queensryche on an off night is still very, very good, and the set rocked. They pulled out Screaming in Digital for the encore, a song I’d never seen live before.
Tesla closed down the show. There is some chatter among friends that were there last night that Tesla seemed off. I didn’t notice it, but by then I had been standing on concrete in damp chilly weather for 10+ hours, I was tired, and I was starting to think about the bed at the hotel. So I wasn’t paying close attention. By off, what I mean is some hardcore Tesla fans perceived a lack of interaction among the band, and a general vibe of them not being super happy to be there. Anybody can have an off night, so who knows? Maybe they were fighting with the promoter over money 10 minutes before they went on. Hopefully all is fine because we need more new music from Tesla.
So a general success, but I feel like M3 needs to shake it up a bit. Kix headlining every Friday night, Tesla headlining 2 of the last 3 years, it’s all getting a bit predictable. I could see not being super excited to go next year just on the merits of the show. Now if some far flung 80s metal friends want to make a weekend of it, I’m all in. Roger? Tim? James?