To celebrate the successful completion of my son's first year of college we attended the M3 Rock Festival on Saturday. We showed up sans tickets after all my attempts to score good seats on Craigslist failed. We picked up really nice reserved seats for $5 over list from a scalper there at Merriweather. I was pretty happy with that. Below is my impression of the bands we saw.
The best set goes to Twisted Sister. They blew up the place and had the most engaged audience of anybody we saw all day. My 2nd favorite set was KingsX. They had the smallest crowd we saw all day, which allowed us to get a bit closer to the stage. They get 2nd based on pure quality of music. The worst set was Loudness. Their sound guy should be fired. It was just a wall of noise for 40 minutes. I couldn't make out the instruments or the singing most of the time.
The other bands we saw.
Great White featuring Jack Russell- I think Great White is doing the Queensryche thing with two bands touring under the name? This version featured the original lead singer. It was a good set - nothing special about it. The sound was good and the band was tight.
Steel Panther - They are basically an X-rated Vaudeville parody act of hair metal. But they do it out of love, and there is some serious musicianship there under the over-the-top lyrics in their music. They are very good at what they do and they have carved out a pretty good niche career. But it is hard for me to take them seriously.
Firehouse - They only had 35 minutes, and since they wanted to get all their hits in that means in was a very power ballad heavy set. They sounded great, and the audience was digging it. But it was too many power ballads in a short period of time for me.
Jackyl- I'm really not much of a Jackyl fan, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed their set. The audience was really into it, and when they ran long and the management turned out the lights on the stage they kept on playing and got most of The Lumberjack Song in before they finally quit.
The headliner was The Brett Michaels Band. Not Poison, just BMB. We decided to head home and skipped it. After Twisted Sister and Jackyl I really could not see how Michaels was going to close out strong. As we walked by we saw that his set backdrop was huge pictures of himself. That is just weird and narcissistic and I'm thinking we chose wisely by skipping the set. I don't really understand how Brett Michaels solo rated as the closer for last night. Poison I could accept, even if I'm not a big fan. Hell, I can't name one Brett Michaels solo song.
Other random thoughts from M3. The level of drunkenness was surprisingly controlled. Given that the doors opened at 10:30 AM, and a lot of people were probably still buzzing from Friday night, I expected to see a lot more people that were really hammered. Also, the number of 40-something women that can pull off dressing like they are 20 and at a metal concert is rather small. None of them were in attendance at M3 last night :) Finally Eddie Trunk from That Metal Show was sort of the MC and came out between sets to hype his show and introduce the next band. He got visibly drunker as the day when on. They were having a good time backstage!
If the bands are good I'll definitely consider attending again next year.