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M3 Festival Wrap

What: M3 Festival
When: May 30, 2009
Where: Baltimore, Maryland @ Merriweather Post Pavilion
Who: Twisted Sister, Ratt, Extreme, Kix, Dokken, Slaughter, Y&T, Gilby Clarke, Keel, Jetboy, L.A. Guns, Jani Lane, XYZ, BulletBoys, Carmine Appice’s SLAMM, Steel Panther

A lot of people considered M3 a “mini Rocklahoma:” great Glam bands in one day instead of four. There is surely something to be said for one day festivals: they are pretty efficient and you don’t feel like a corpse by the time the last band is done. Held at Merriweather Post Pavilion, the fest ran as a “turn-key” operation: real bathrooms, true infrastructure, beautiful grounds. The best weather imaginable helped make M3 a massive success.

The day started early with Gilby Clarke. For the noon hour, Gilby had a great crowd. This was an indicator of just how well M3 sold. Even for a one day fest, people were willing to fly thousands of miles. I mean, I did – this wasn’t just a Baltimore crowd! As expected, Gilby did a mix of his own tunes and some Guns n’ Roses classics.

The thing that made M3 exhausting was the back-to-back scheduling. If I were queen, I would have given 10 minute gap between bands on both the main and second stage. Overlapping meant always missing a song by one band while rushing to the other.

Around for forever and a day, Y&T are enjoying a resurgence of sorts: they’ve been playing more and more festivals. That can only be good because that means their brand of music is still in demand. The band played their most famous songs and I was surprised that “Summertime Girls” was toward the middle of the set. Seemed like a perfect set ender for a rock festival.

The Glam husband loves Slaughter. All last week, all he said was “We’re seeing Slaughter soon – ‘Fly to the Angels!’” I was in the pit for much of the day, but for the beginning of Slaughter I actually went to the security area in front of the barrier. Glam knows I love Mark Slaughter. Too bad the sound was so bad for them I had to leave and go to a seat to hear better. Poor Mark was having a bit of a rough one I think. He was struggling. Maybe he was sick? At any rate his voice was pretty raspy – but “Fly to the Angels” was still the best song of the set. Everyone around me was singing along.

Jetboy is an impressive live band. They always play far earlier than their talent deserves – and they shouldn’t have been on a second stage, either. The same can be said for XYZ. Both bands have played Rocklahoma, albeit the main stage. At M3, tons of people were walking around in Jetboy shirts – and definitely headed back to stage two for XYZ. Jetboy and XYZ were certainly two of the most energetic bands on the bill. The members of each act had no problem running from side to side, climbing over stage rigging and the like. No one was suffering from “feet plant” disease.

“Feel the Shake” is always excellent, but I do think Jetboy sounded better at M3 than they did at Rocklahoma 2008. The number of people screaming every word of the 1988 single was damn impressive. I mean, Jetboy is far more obscure than, you know, Def Leppard.

You never know what you’re going to get when Jani Lane is involved. What M3 got was one of the best performances of the day – bar none. Guitarist Keri Kelli played with Jani and the two of them together = glam happiness. Jani sang all the predictable Warrant tunes and also a new song he just wrote called “Changes.” I tell you, perhaps the cutest thing I saw all day was Keri mouthing along the words as Jani actually sang them. It sort of gave off the vibe that Keri was willing to step in just case Jani needed some help – but he didn’t. By the end of the set, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one saying “Warrant, who?” Performing as he did at M3: sober, tight and talented, Jani doesn’t need his old band to earn a living. A brilliant songwriter, I hope Jani keeps up his craft, protects his voice and continues to do electric shows like at M3. Truly impressive and a definite highlight of my day.

Right after the Jani and Keri hour (of which I stood right in front of Keri while he played and acted all “fan girl” on him) I had to interview Extreme. This meant I didn’t see Dokken or the Bulletboys.

Steel Panther were scheduled for stage 2, right before Kix. If you’re going to open for Kix in Baltimore, you better damn well know what you’re doing. 1) Steel Panther rule 2) They know what they are doing. So, after two days of fake rumors the band wasn’t really playing (and hell, they may have started the rumor themselves to hype their set) it was time for a whole lot of people to get clawed by the Steel Panther. Can I just say I love parodies? Steel Panther is a great band because they play up every Glam cliché to the millionth degree – but back it up with great talent! A major draw for many, seeing Steel Panther outside of the west coast was a huge boon for us easterners. I do love Lexxi Foxxx, the so called dumb bassist. I am crazy for subtle humor, so my favorite part of their set was when Lexxi continually pulled out a mirror and fixed his lip gloss. Great wig too! Even up close, it looks real. Seeing a truncated festival set of Steel Panther meant we got all their own tunes – no cover songs and I love that. The band has a new album out soon, so they were hyping the single “Death to All But Metal” pretty hard. The crowd loved “Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)” and “Girl from Oklahoma” - and I just tended to enjoy the ridiculous choreography. Great band really. If you get a chance to catch a Steel Panther show, just do it: they play every week in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. (Steel Panther also did the official M3 after party and this meant a longer set of Steel Panther tunes and a little bit “edgier” material. Nudity may have been involved. Ok, it was. Great party. See this band!)

Then it was time for Kix.

Seriously, Kix played at 5 in Baltimore? Why doesn’t someone give this band a headline spot? Overlapping schedules meant leaving Steel Panther for Kix – but priorities! People were literally RUNNING down the hill from Steel Panther to get to the pit for Kix. Some kind men let me stand in front of them because I’m short and was angling for better positioning in the pit. So, here I am, jumping up and down while Steve Whiteman wails on “Midnight Dynamite” and I kept right on jumping and screaming through “Same Jane” too. Here’s what I’ve decided: it is scientifically impossible for Kix to do a bad show. Like, it just doesn’t happen. I’m sure the boys felt a little bit of pressure before the show – I mean, most everyone was there to see them. No point in denying it. So, the pit was a chaotic mess of too many people crammed in a small space and – no lie – I turned around and all I could see was a mass of bodies. Just humans everywhere, singing every bloody word of “Poison.” Festival sets mean that bands play their biggest hits, so Kix did “Cold Shower,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “Girl Money” and the like. Since I could listen to Kix play for probably five hours, I’d love some random obscure goodness, but I’ll take whatever I can get when my beloved Kix is involved. Seriously – I know there were lots of people seeing Kix for the first time at M3 – I’m sure the band just earned some more lifelong fans. Random aside alert: You know, it just dawned on me: the guys in Kix (being generally sweet and polite men) actually dress to perform. I never really thought about their stage clothes before, but each guy has a certain style of clothes he likes to wear while performing. As we all know, street clothes and stage clothes are two totally different things...but Kix just look different. Everybody and his Glam brother can wear some chains and cowboy boots on stage, but the guys in Kix wear clothes of a different age that actually match the style and tone of their music. Random aside over: lest there be any doubt: Kix were the best band of the day (as per usual).

Phil Lewis’ version of L.A. Guns played M3. Gasp! The band didn’t play “The Ballad of Jayne,” but they did play some tunes from Hollywood Vampires and classics like “Rip and Tear.” Too much jumping and screaming (and drinking and no eating) meant I had to do some major migraine prevention during L.A. Guns so I sat on a picnic table instead of standing. My apologies to Phil and the boys, but I pledge my allegiance to Tracii anyway. That’s another post for another day!

Now when I talked to Extreme, I asked the band about their upcoming tour with RATT, recording new music...and how they select songs for festival sets. The band admitted to liking long songs that tend to eat their time. Extreme was sort of a jam, but Gary Cherone sure sounded good. It did look as if a large part of the crowd left after Kix, but there was still plenty of people rocking out to Extreme. A highlight for me was “Get the Funk Out.” Always thought that song was genius and it does translate well live.

Keel is one of the few bands at M3 I’d never seen before. I was sort of curious to see Ron Keel in person. He’s an interesting figure with his country music ways. He also wears one of those pop star microphones so his hands are free for guitar. That’s sort of unique among Glam singers. Watching Keel, I got the impression they were kind of (ok, really) excited to be playing together again. A lot of people were walking around in Keel shirts and I think most of them had waited a long damn time to see the band in action. Keel performed their most famous songs like “Right to Rock” and “Because the Night,” plus Ron explained a little about the band’s history and work with Gene Simmons. I think the band was well received and I’ll check them out at Rocklahoma as well. Keel is main stage at Rocklahoma and that means a longer set.

So I was curious about SLAMM! A mix of performance art, Glam and drum master class meant a very unique way to close out stage two at M3. So, Carmine Appice and a bunch of drummers are making music on a traditional kit, some garbage cans and other stuff. The musicians also painted their bodies in day-glo paint and sometimes there was guitar. Interesting for sure and I can see why Timbo (Slaughter’s touring drummer) was checking out SLAMM! near the stage.

Why was John Corabi playing with RATT? No one seemed to have a definitive answer for that one, except the band must have been in a hell of a jam. Despite whatever inner turmoil the band was facing on game day, the M3 set was pretty good. You know what RATT played that I missed? “I Want a Woman!” Yeah, my favorite RATT song that I’ve never heard live and they played it while I was in the bathroom. Seriously. Scheduling bands back to back and crazy overlapping meant I was trying to limit bathroom trips and when I had no choice but to go, I miss “I Want a Woman.” At least I did hear “Lay It Down!” Argh.

Twisted Sister headlined M3. The band had some major guitar issues right at the beginning of the set, namely neither guitar worked. Some fighting with pedals and plugs and things started running smoothly. I was concerned this would make Dee Snider go batshit crazy, but he kept his cool. I always enjoy hearing “The Price” and this time, Twisted dedicated the song to the other bands sharing the bill with them, specifically Y&T. I was at the top of the pavilion for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and it was an interesting experience, watching a lot of exhausted people try to muster a last bit of energy to jump around and pump fists right along with Dee Snider. No matter, Twisted got the job done and closed out M3 with a giant pyro bang. Seems fitting.

Photo key: Lexxi Foxxx, Michael Starr (Steel Panther), Brian Forsythe (Kix), Jani Lane, Kerri Kelli, Lexxi Foxxx (Steel Panther), Steve Whiteman (Kix), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister).

More photos tomorrow!

Reader Comments (24)

Remember any of the lyrics to Changes? How does it sound?

Nice review.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterK
talked with Corabi at the after party, it was just for the weekend due to Carlos having other obligations.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
I followed you all day on Twitter. I was texting and phoning Jani's security guy(Road Dawg Shawn), "Z" (his keyboardist) and Jani himself before and after their performance. In the tune up area before the show they actually did "Sad Teresa" which hordes of Warrant fans have been wanting to hear live. Unfortunately and fortunately as well, they didn't do it and put in "Changes" This is a song showing where Jani is musically now it seems.
I received a bunch of texts and emails from fans that I knew there worried that Jani was a mess because Slaughter's set was going EVERYONE in TMZ mode waitning for the worse? I assured them that Lane was prepped to come out strong. Judging by your review of his set, it seems he did! We all know that Jani and been sober and drunk and sober, then drunk again many, many numerous times. BUT falling off the wagon is part of recovery too...hopefully this time there is a loooooooooooooooooooong in between the two gaps this time.
I saw a YouTube of Keel's performance, but I couldn't tell if Marc Ferrari was playing...was this a TRUE Keel reunion?
Great coverage, can't wait to
Sweet Lou.
I had heard a big portion left after Kix, but from the reports I got...BAND MEMBERS that played and were playing WATCHED Extreme from the sides of the stage. Pretty amazing that the musicians LOVE Extreme. ME? I never really got into them. LOL That's probably why I'm not a musician and would have been like the throngs that left after KIX. After all, most of the 80's hairmetal bands STOLE Steve's stage moves and raps back in the day. Steve Whiteman is a true GLAM GENIUS!
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
Check out the clip here... <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

At about 1:35 you hear Jani give HIS take on WHO is Warrant LMAO>
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou is the link...
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou
Hey Sweet Lou, Marc Ferrari was playing with the band.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixkixsass
Great review Ally! I attempted to post my own review on sludge but a real, professional writer, I am not. I'm a little rested (ok, didn't go to sleep until midnight after only three hours of sleep and being in the sun all afternoon-yeah, i'm insane). Anyway, I'm about ready to do this all over again. The back and forth b/w stages, made me a bit nuts (best way to describe this was a little tug-o-war of the heart - when Ally left from steel panther to go to Kix, there was an internal struggle but i figured i'll see Kix at ROK, full set and all, but I don't know if i'll get to see SP again so that is how I based that decision). For the most part it worked out rather well going from stage to stage. I also loved the fact that the vendors I went to for water and beer were right along my path and no lines is a nice thing (they had so many drink vendors everywhere there really were no lines). Also, i have no idea how I pulled this off but I managed not to pee the entire day, interesting thing b/c there was no time to pee if you wanted to try and catch EVERY band there (which, for the most part, i did). It was great hanging with you and Eric. A great day of GLAM indeed! 'ARE YOU READY TO BLOW MY FUSE?' Yeah,it gets me every time.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Awesome review Ally...i hope they do this again next year because it seemed to be highly successful! And yes Jani was amazing...other than KIX was the highlight of the day. Good seeing you, Eric and Kari...hopefully it won't be another year to we all meet up...can you say KIX in Baltimore or Sept 19??? lol
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
Great write-up Allyson... sounds like the festival went really well, glad to hear it!!
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Awesome Review!
I had a great time myself!! I had never seen Steel Panther perform and all I can say is I am SO IN LOVE with them! I don't care WHO knows it!

It was great seeing you!
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGigi
It was a great day the only real let down was Slaughter and when someone pointed out Ally to me in the crowd and I went to say Hi she basically blew me off like she was to busy watchin Kix to chat. oh well I'll chaulk it up to her being hypnotized by Steve Whitman.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFitz

Did that really happen? I tried to talk to everyone that came up to me...I didn't mean to blow you off if you're being serious.

But yea, I probably was hypnotized by the Glam that is Steve Whiteman, lol.

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
Allyson you know it was Brian thay hypnotized you! lol
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
It did happen I wouldnt lie, I'll try talkin to you at ROK in a few weeks, Just not during KIX lol.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFitz
Great review, next time come to FOH and get a birds eye view for your pic's, and yes we need to be in the headliner spot, in my opinon some of the acts had overzealous engineers and it hurt the bands, overdriven guitars, drums and lost vocals, they see a big system and think the faders go to 11, I hope my mix did you all well, I thought I had one of the best mix's for the day, and one of the best performances out of all bands, KIX. Come see me at Rocklahoma at FOH.
Sweet Lou good to here from you, you should have been at M3 brutha, you missed a good one for sure, tell Dave Duh! for me...J!!
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe KIX FOH

I'm sorry! I'm pretty fanatical in my devotion to all things Kix, lol.


I'll come see you @ FOH Rocklahoma. You DID have the best sound, by far. Kix has the best of everything - always!

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson
Great show, Gilby did not play any true classic GnR songs though. Only Knockin on Heavens Door, which was not theirs.

Next to Kix, the Bulletboys put on the best show. They should have been on the main stage instead of Dokken -who sucked. Don's voice is shot.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
I was there. And yes it was phenominal!
My quick review...

Best bands: Twisted Sister, Steel Panther, Kix, and Jetboy.
Worst bands: Slaughter by a MILE...

It was awesome seeing Ally and some of the other BBG posters. And yes, these places need to keep the festivals to ONE day. More than one is overkill.

My only complaint "other than the overlapping set times" is the lack of a merch booth. Only about 7 bands had any merch. WTF? And no festival t-shirts? I dont get it.

But the venue was great. Cincinnati should take note.
June 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
Great Review. What a great day of rock in Baltimore. I think this should be an every year event. I heard that the Merriweather did not expect the large turn out and started running out of food and booze. What a great warm up for ROK. I felt conflicted, too, when choosing bands at M3. Just imagine how it will be at ROK having to choose amoung Lord Tracy, Big Cock, and Dirty Looks. They all play at the same time.
Kix took the show and it WAS amazing the amount of people that watched them...IT was PACKED.
June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucas
Hi Allison,

We were there at M3 from Louisville,KY. I agree on most of the review. Gotta say,I'm a Steel Panther FAN now more than ever! They were too funny and they rocked. Bullet Boys were great as well as KIX and Y and T. Voices shot were Slaugther and RATT. Seen RATT many times, Steven Pearcy voice is gone, sounded bad.Which was disappointing cause RATT was always great when I saw them as recent as 2004.Other case in point was Gilby Clarke, he played to almost nobody. Most the the seats at 12:00-12:30 were empty. Loved LA GUNS and Twisted set as well. All in all great time and hope to see you at ROK.

June 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDave Kovacs

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