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M3 2011 Day 1 Review

M3 Rock Festival 2011 is in the books. This was the third year for the event and I've attended every one to date. M3 is held at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. This was the first year the event was extended beyond one day – the special Kix-off party was Friday night. Of course, Kix headlined. The attendance was way more than I expected for Friday – 10,000 easy. It was cold and rain threatened and I expected some people to stay away. I think pretty much everyone ignored the weather and headed out to rock.

I really can't speak to Black Mambooza because I was too busy walking around and talking to people during their set. Jetboy sounded good, featuring their new singer DK Revelle. Since fellow BBG! writer Brian loves Jetboy, I will let him comment more about their set. I will say this: Brian was very excited to see them and we made sure to be in our seats in time for their set.

Phil Lewis' L.A. Guns were up next. The thing that strikes me about them is that is dawned on me that I no longer care to argue over which version of the band is better. It just is what it is at this point. Phil sounded good – from what I could make out anyway. There were some major sound issues going on and for a lot of the set I kept leaning over to people and asking “What is he singing?” Seriously, at some points I had no idea what song was being performed and keep in mind – I have every L.A. Guns song memorized. This was both frustrating and disappointing for me. At any rate, L.A. Guns played the hits you would expect and ended with “The Ballad of Jayne.” This was an odd end and not planned – they were cut off (I think “Rip and Tear” was cut). I'm not sure how it happened, but the fest was behind by this point in the show – just a couple bands in! At one point, Lewis came out with some sparklers on his head. As in, he was wearing a construction-hat type thing with lit sparklers shoved in the top. I'm not sure why other than the fact that this was cheaper than pyro or something.

By the time L.A. Guns were done, the pavilion seats were just packed. The girls behind me were jumping around, singing along and having a good time. When Warrant came on, they screamed “We love you Jani!” Christian and I just turned a little towards them and laughed. Why ruin their fun by correcting them?!

In all seriousness, Warrant with Robert Mason were incredibly good. Probably the best Warrant show I've ever seen. The sound was better than it was for L.A. Guns but still not perfect. Warrant had stage banners made promoting their new album Rockaholic and they were also selling it in the merch booth. Robert only mentioned the album was for sale one time, for which I am grateful. When a band pimps their merch too much, it makes me nervous. Think of all the Warrant hits and you've got the set, plus a couple new tunes including “Sex Ain't Love.” The crowd did not want to hear new Warrant, however. I swear, at one point it seemed like people were booing when Robert mentioned the new stuff. Who wasn't booing? Those girls behind me who love Jani Lane! They were screaming for “Cherry Pie.” They got it, of course. It was the last song. Warrant also played “Uncle Tom's Cabin” and I watched Christian sing along to it even though he didn't think I was looking at him (ha). Robert worked the crowd better than I remember and he has tons of energy. I think working with him is giving the original guys in Warrant a shot in the arm – and that's good. I recently interviewed Jerry Dixon and that will be on Noisecreep too. We talked all about Rockaholic and more.

But let's be honest. Everyone knows Kix is my band and Friday for me was all about Kix. The band finally got the M3 headline spot they deserve! Kix opened with “Ring Around Rosie” and the sound was distorted. It was too low for a lot of the set. This made me crazy. More songs: “Atomic Bombs,” Lie Like a Rug,” “Sex,” “Don't Close Your Eyes,” “Hot Wire,” “Girl Money” “Cold Shower” and more. The set was so good because the band was so excited to be headlining. Steve Whiteman kept saying how scared and nervous he was and how he couldn't believe that many people would come out to see them. It was adorable. Kix actually got to have a proper encore with many songs! The band even came forward and did an acoustic version of “For Shame.” Merriweather has a strict curfew of 11 p.m. but Kix played until 11:30 and the crowd loved every minute. The band ended with “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and Steve's classic rap. There was an over-head balloon drop and Steve had a giant mallet that he pounded balloons with from the stage. The length of the set and the epicness of “Hot Wire” (10,000 people pounding their feet in unison) made this my favorite Kix performance of all time. I loved it all: the stage banter, the choreography, the genuine happiness and Brian's signature polka dot tops. That is all. Day two review tomorrow. I'll have a photo gallery too.


Reader Comments (23)

Mason is a great frontman for Warrant, I really enjoyed their show in Cincinnati a couple of years ago. But the new record just hasn't clicked for me yet. It's not bad...but not as good as I wanted it to be.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJT
Sounds like a great festival!

Still killin' me, I missed it!

Heard Faster Pussycat was Killarious!

Wish I had seen Pretty Boy Floyd!

I also heard Big Noize was the sleeper and turned in a ruckus set with Jamie St. James jumpin' in for some vocals, which apparently had Joe Lynn Turner a little perplexed. I heard Turner was in killer form, so I perfectly understand.

I heard Carlos Cavazo was a monster, too, which duzn't surprise me. He was totally killer when I saw him with DuBrow about 9 years ago.

Can't wait to hear your further reviews, Al.

I saw Warrant back in the day twice off the first record and they were flawless. Lane was tip-top back then.

Hey, wasn't Mason in B*g Cock? Awesome frickin' band!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
@ was Robert Mason who jumped in during Big Noize's set and yes, Mason was in Lynch Mob/Big Cock. Saw Big Cock in ROK 09 and it was a highlight..He wails. It did not seem that Joe Lynn was ticked off..they were smiling, hugging and having a good ole time.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Well said, Ally. Well said.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDamnp78
Brian, I wondered if they knew he was coming on, they sure did not care. Big Noize was one of the highlights of M3, they just had the songs. And yes, I sung along to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'....
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I had a great time at M3 this weekend! I thought LA Guns sounded pretty good from where I was sitting. Jetboy without Micky Finn and his mohawk isn't Jetboy. Kix and Warrant were great Friday night.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterricksav65
Hello all. Absolutely THRILLED to attend my first M3. As I live in south FL where it is 90+ every day this time of the year, the cool, overcast weather did not bother me at all - it was actually a welcome respite.

Due to a delay with the original departing flight, we got into Baltimore 2 hours later than expected. But we rushed to get to the pavilion right at 7:10, missing only the very beginning of Jetboy. What we heard was impressive. Yes, it would have been nice to see them with Mickey Finn, but the show must go on. They were good, and ended with an appropriately heavy 'Feel The Shake'.

LA Guns were up next, and having seen them several times over the last few years (both versions), they impress me more and more each time. Everyone knows all the hits, and Phil Lewis is a great frontman. Nothing against Warrant, but LA Guns could've easily gone on just before Kix - the crowd was that into 'em. I didn't realize that their set was shortened, although I did think that it was interesting to end the set on 'Ballad of Jayne' and omit 'Rip and Tear'. LA Guns were an early highlight.

I had never seen Robert Mason with Warrant, so I was initially skeptical. At Rocklahome 2008, Jani with Warrant headlined Sat. night, and it was incredible; the best Warrant performance I had ever seen, including the times I saw them in the 80's. Warrant sounded good, and Mason is energetic and eager to get the crowd involved. They played a lot of the early stuff (particularly good to hear 'Big Talk'), but unfortunately no 'Machine Gun', one of my personal favorites. But overall they were in great form, and even the new track went over well. And 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' always sounds fantastic live.

Finally, the headlining show from Kix... What can I say? After seeing over 150+ plus bands live spanning 25 years, this might have been one of the best live performances that I have EVER seen. Keep in mind, I am hardly the biggest Kix fan out there, and I remember seeing them in the 80's and thinking they were just okay. (I know, sacrilege, right?). But Friday night at M3 was almost magical. They sounded great, looked happy and thrilled to be headilining in their hometown, and had the crowd in the palm of their hand. They played all the hits, and as Allyson said, went long past the 11PM curfew. Steve Whiteman had the energy of an Angus Young onstage, and, at nearly 10 years younger than him, I was getting tired just watching him! He also sounded legitimately honored to be headlining the show, even making a crack that he could see if maybe they were Judas Priest instead. Talented and self-deprecating! Other bands, particularly those in different genres, should take heed: THIS is how you headline a show! I know I'm getting a little repetitive and long-winded here, but by the time they got to 'Blow My Fuse' (my personal favorite) late in the set, I was thinking that if I only got to see Day 1 of M3, I would still feel as though I got my money's worth. Yes, Kix was that good.

On the overhead video screens between bands they would show twitter lines from people at the show, and one's guys thoughts summed up the Kix headlining slot thusly: "Seeing Kix headlining in Baltimore is like seeing U2 playing live in Dublin, Ireland!!" It may sound like hyperbole, but it was true. Kix simply ruled the day.

Day 2 review coming soon.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGator
Great review Allyson and i am still pissed i may have missed the best performance ever by KIX because i had to work.
Gator, nice review too!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
Great review Allyson and i am still pissed i may have missed the best performance ever by KIX because i had to work.
Gator, nice review too!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
Great review, Allyson! I kinda wish I hadn't read it, though, because now I am REALLY sad that I missed KIX!!! Guess now I'll have to wait until KIX-mas... \m/
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHRosaV
BEST KIX SHOW I'VE EVER SEEN!!!! @KixRules, I know this must pain you greatly since you missed it but it truly was magical to see them headline to a packed house in their hometown!

I had a little different take on openers:

Black mamboozle = filler band, remember thinking the singer sounded decent. I think they did a cover of We Die Young (from the Rockstar sdtrk).

Jetboy = not feeling the shake as I did last year. didn't dig their new singer.

LA Guns = decent, seen them perform better, just didn't feel the energy that they have put off at this festival in the past. Never get tired of their song catalog. I'm with Ally, over fighting which version is better, blah, blah.....I'll continue to support both (pros and cons to both and i'll just leave it at that)!

Warrant = I'll say this again, this band is lucky to have the talented ROBERT MASON on vocs! He's such a powerhouse singer but the rest of the band is just boring as hell. I missed Jani Lane honestly and the charisma he used to bring to the stage. Robert Mason is too talented for this band! HOWEVER, If you crave the songs sounding great, then you will love this version of Warrant, the band does sound tight.

KIX RULED THE NIGHT! You had to be there to fully understand how incredible it was. I was blown away and they rocked it from opening to close.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
whoever mentioned LAG playing too early on Friday was DEAD ON! They got screwed I think in the time slot they played. They are the only band (besides KIX) to have played M3 all three years and I feel they have become a staple band to play this fest! They should have had the spot b/f KIX. (I personally think they would have given off more energy in that spot too).

Also, not to bring up day 2 but since someone else also mentioned it.....I thought Robert Mason had more energy/passion while singing with JLT than he did singing with Warrant (again, my personal opinion)

And I saw Mason with BC also at ROK 09 and loved every GLAM minute of it.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Wow, Kix never fails to amaze. I have seen them so many times the past few years that I was not even looking forward to their last Kix-mas show. But lo and behold that turned out to be one of their best live performances. Now you tell me that this was even better and I am not at all surprised any more.

This is exactly what I envisioned when I told the promoters after year 1 that they needed to have a second night, with KIX headlining. Glad they did it and it was so well attended.

Now they need to take the rest of my advice which was cut down on the number of bands on Saturday, and not overlap sets, as I missed 90% of the 2nd stage shows due to the odd scheduling.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
Sorry to have missed it after being there the past 2 years. No Mickey Finn = No Jetboy though.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
NirV! Sorry I missed ya (and The Fest), my Metalbrother!

Sounds like everyone had an absolute blast!

Wish I coulda seen all theez bands with ya!

I am killed by Metal Jealousy!

p.s. Oops! I guess I got some misinformation (typical) regarding The Who's Who of who joined Big Noise on stage. My ex-lead guitarist told me it was the singer from Black'n'Blue who joined JLT on stage, not Mason. I stand corrected and I want to thank all on here who set me straight. I heard JLT, Faster Pussycat and Kix were the absolute stealerz of the show!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
BAZ WAS THE BEST OF THE FEST (but we'll get to that tomorrow)! The stage overlapping on Saturday HAS GOT TO GO! That was the one thing I loved about how RNA worked, no overlapping.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkari
Jetboy, different, with the new singer. I'm still digesting the difference and will post on it in the next few days.

Day 1 of the fest was great (with the exception of Black Mambooza, who were clearly filler anyways), and KIX put on an amazing show.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C.
I originally did not want a two day of the few, cause I thought it would ruin it in some way?? Not sure what I was thinking, for it was the absolutely best yr yet. This year's musical talent was unbelievable. I cannot stop thinking about all the amazing sets that I saw. I will have to agree with the set overlaps as being a negative. I would be very interested to hear what the attendance was, because I was amazed at the huge turn out. The biggest out of the three yrs .
Day one was a great way to start this whole weekend off, and KIX was the perfect fit. I've also seen them many many times in the last five yrs and they amaze me each time. I had been beggin them to play Ring Around Rosie for several many yrs, and finally, they started singing it last yr..I love them opening with this song, cause of all the energy that it brings. I have never seen so many people watching Kix EVER. Their stage set was off the hook, for they had ramps going up each side of the drums and Steve was all over the place. He came out with his sparklin microphone and a huge balloon pounding Cartoon Hammer. The coolest thing about Kix Kickin it was that they were loose and comfortable...even if Steve said that he was nervous. Wouldnt it be cool if this whole fest were to tour to several cities. More people need to be exposed to the quality.
Warrant was also very good and I totally love Mason on vocals, however, I miss Jani. I saw Warrant when they just came out opening for Eddie Money at Clarion University of undergrad school...I remember being blown off the stage. Jani could write the tunes and their collection is super. The new album is very good, too, and Mason's Vocals show such a range. I love his rockin voice, but with Big Cock. Get Big Cock's CDs if you wont be sorry.
LA Guns are always good...I have never seen Traci's version, so nothing to compare. These guys are true rockers and I love the glammastic Faster Pussy cat and Pretty Boy F. More on that later.
Did not see Jetboy.
M3 is turning into M4: Metal Music May Monsterous. Each year this fest gets better and better. More people dressing the 80s style. More people coming from further away. More national attention.
Maryland really knows how to throw a party.
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
I didn't see it for myself, obviously, but I would tend to think like Jeff here, regarding Jetboy...

And I quote, "No Mickey Finn = No Jetboy", just like "No M3 = No Metalboy", hahaha!!! That makes no sense, but when did anything I ever say make any sense.

Can't wait for the 2nd Dispatches from the M3 Front Lines!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Great review, Bri. Made me feel like I was there! Next Year, man!

p.s. You can see how I'm really jonesin' I didn't make it, as I keep commentin' with practically every review I read! You M3 Metalkidz are so lucky you caught this virtual One-Stop-Glametal-Shop!
May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!

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