The second day of M3 was the big one, featuring performances by Modern Superstar, Danger Danger, Firehouse, Slaughter, Great White, Mr. Big, Sebastian Bach, Tesla and Whitesnake on the main stage. On the side stage, there were performances by Korupt, Pretty Boy Floyd, Hurtsmile, Black n' Blue, Faster Pussycat, Big Noize and Lita Ford.
The weather was freaking cold in Columbia, Maryland on Saturday. So cold that at one point I was wearing a T-shirt, my husband's button down, Christian's long-sleeved Whitesnake shirt and a hoodie. And my toes were still numb. The rainy mist was annoying as all get out, too. Still, the weather didn't deter the crowds and that is great. Also, as a side note I bought a margarita from one of the vendors and almost had to call my bank for a loan. $13 for a frozen strawberry margarita? Insane. I bet Merriweather Post Pavilion made a ton of money off concessions during the two days of M3. I digress.
I didn't see Modern Superstar so I have no comment on their set. I arrived just as Danger Danger was performing. People were filing in to see D2 and Ted Poley sounded great as always. During Danger Danger, I noticed a guy two rows in front of me. Let's call him Hot Pleather. Anyway, it was clear that Danger Danger was maybe his favorite band. He stood, fist in air, the entire set. His pleather pants were gleaming, and his mesh shirt just seemed appropriate. When Ted jumped from the stage and ran up the aisle, I poked Christian and said "Watch." Sure enough, Hot Pleather flew to the center aisle to high-five Ted. It was very cute. During "Naughty Naughty" Hot Pleather called a friend and held the phone in the air. Dude was having a great time and that was good to see. Danger Danger doesn't play live very often and they are a treat to catch live. Definitely one of the better bands of the weekend. Oh, and they dedicated "Rock America" to Seal Team 6 which was cool.
I didn't catch Korupt so the first side stage band I saw (briefly) was Pretty Boy Floyd. They did the songs they always do live, including "Toast of the Town" (the Motley Crue song) and Steve Summers gave away some stuff. The band did sound good, very glam. And Steve had on a furry jacket which was humorous. Honestly, I didn't hang around long -- everyone in my little group was giving each other a look. So we wandered back to the pavilion to get ready for Firehouse.
Firehouse is one of those bands that is just chock full of awesome musicians but isn't all that great in a festival setting. Why? Because Firehouse is a ballad band. And by this time, the pavilion was pretty full, people were standing and cheering... and then the ballads started and it was a total buzz kill. While the slower songs are not great for a festival, Firehouse does them well and C.J. Snare can just sing his butt off. So props to them. I love "All She Wrote" and "Don't Treat Me Bad" so there you go.
We left Firehouse early to check out Hurtsmile. They were probably the band I was most curious about so we pushed fairly close. Gary Cherone is awesome and he was wearing a shirt that said "INFIDEL" which I wanted really bad. The band is heavy and I like their debut record. Gary's brother Mark had some guitar issues, but things worked out okay. They did a Van Halen tune and Extreme's "Hole Hearted." They were very, very solid - another top band of the weekend.
Of course I didn't get to hear "Hole Hearted" because I had to move back to the main stage to see Slaughter. The over lapping bands was insane and got worse as the day went on. No matter what, it ended up that you usually missed the band's most famous songs because you were moving from one place to another.
I watched Slaughter from the lawn but I wasn't paying much attention -- all I wanted to hear was "Fly to the Angels" but did I? No. We stood, listened, heard "Mad About You" among others and decided to try someone we hadn't seen yet. Let me say I know Mark Slaughter takes a lot of flack for his voice, but I didn't think he sounded bad. The jumbo screens focused on drummer Zoltan Chaney a lot and I noticed our resident drummer Brian was studying Zoltan's nutty moves.
Because I was looking for someone, I did not catch any of Black n' Blue. While we walked past the side stage Christian said "Didn't we see Jamie St. James with another band not long ago?" I said "No" and then it dawned on me. "Yes! With Warrant at the first Rocklahoma!" And then we laughed.
Great White had Terry Ilous singing lead. Terry can sing but it's weird hearing things like "Mista Bone" from a different voice. I'm not sure it was even fair, Terry singing. But still. It wasn't like the band was advertised as Great White featuring Terry Ilous. But, Terry did say at the beginning of the set "Jack sends his love" which was nice. I think everyone is pulling for Jack Russell to get well. I have no problem with the band using a fill in singer to get through gigs but some people were perplexed, asking what was going on. "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" sounded slow and hollow. It's hard to explain, but it didn't sound like Great White's signature song at all.
After a snack of pita chip and hummus - which I'll admit in hindsight was an odd choice from a festival booth - I was back in my seat for Mr. Big. Holy Glam, they were awesome! Billy Sheehan rocks! He played his bass guitar with an electric drill. Paul Gilbert is awesome. But you know what I didn't get to hear? You guessed it: "To Be With You." Look, I know a lot of people hate that song but I've never seen Mr. Big live and I wanted to hear that one. Why didn't I get to hear it? Because I had to freaking go back to the side stage to catch Faster Pussycat. Seriously, the overlapping bands was awful.
I figure Mr. Big will tour and I'll catch them that way with a full set. I'm a big Sheehan fan.
So me and Kari went to the rail for Pussycat. I've seen them live... oh I dunno... maybe a dozen times. And this was the best. They were seriously awesome. Man, Taime Downe is paler than me - and I keep my skin about as white as a sheet (I stay out of the sun). But while you can tell I just use SPF 100, Taime looks more... crypt-like. Dude was chain smoking and saying "good morning." It was roughly 5:30 in the evening when the band took the stage, so that was funny. The band pushed through their set and the crowd was freaking nuts for them - just people on top of people. "Bathroom Wall" was awesome and so was "House of Pain" as well as "Cathouse." There was no electronica-whatever here: all glam.
So after Faster... it was time for Bach. He was good and came out swinging and head banging. He whips his microphone around like a wacko and my husband was down in the pit taking photos. He said every photog ducked each time Bach started swinging his mic. Christian asked me how long before someone in the band gets decapitated.... it was that insane. Bach did some of his Angel Down stuff and mostly Skid Row material like "Slave to the Grind," "I Remember You," "Youth Gone Wild," "Monkey Business" and "18 and Life." When "18 and Life" started, Brian said "I hate this song," sat down and pretended to shoot himself. So yeah. At one point, Bach got the crowd riled by dedicating a song to Seal Team 6, started a "USA! USA!" chant and mocked the bullet through Bin Laden's brain. It was all very patriotic... for a Canadian.
The surprise of the day? Big Noize! Joe Lynn Turner and Carlos Cavazo are awesome! Overall, Big Noize probably had the best set list because they did a ton of Dio and even some Quiet Riot stuff. Warrant singer Robert Mason came out and did a couple tunes and that was fun. My highlights were "Cum On Feel the Noize" and "Rainbow in the Dark." I was back on the rail with Kari and Christian for this one, so I could see for a change. Side note: I saw Joe Lynn Turner at the airport Sunday morning. His hair was just as big going through security as it was ripping through "Crazy Train." True story. Besides Kix, Big Noize was my favorite band of the weekend.
Tesla was up next. You always know what you're going to get with them: a solid rock show. The band did "Love Me," "Modern Day Cowboy" "Signs" and more. Toward the middle of the set, it was time for Lita Ford. Brian has never seen Tesla but he wanted to leave them for Lita so I went with him (telling him he was nuts, by the way) but off we trotted. By this time it was good and cold, dark and rainy. We got a spot toward the middle of the crowd and waited... and waited. Did I mention I had LASIK surgery two weeks ago? Well, I did. Which means I have chronic dry eye right now. This is aggravated by cigarette smoke. People were smoking so much during Lita, my eyes started running which was incredibly painful and I left Brian on his own. I flooded my bloodshot eyes with bottled tears, had to use the cold compress I had stashed in my bag and wandered back to watch the end of Tesla alone. So, I have no comment on Lita other than Eddie Trunk introduced her. I'm sure Brian can review her performance for us.
Whitesnake headlined the entire festival. I've seen them before and I like them a lot. Too bad they weren't very good at M3. The set-up wasn't impressive for a headliner and the band played too many solos. Sure, Reb Beach and Dough Aldrich are awesome... but good gravy. A 30 minute solo block? Really? And a giant block of all new material? Really? Total buzz kill. People started leaving in droves. I didn't get to hear "Still of the Night" because that was the last song and we left early. Everyone in my group was tired and Christian was sick of me trembling from cold beside him the entire set. Kix should have just been the main headliner. Seriously.
To sum, I think this was a great festival but the overlapping bands must be fixed. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way -- and quite frankly, I enjoyed more side stage bands than main stage this year. Kix should always get a headline spot. Whitesnake should have done a festival set, not a regular headline show. Also, they ran out of the girlie-cut M3 festival shirts by Friday night. Too bad I went to the booth to get one Saturday morning.
It was great seeing friends from all over the country - and world! Special props to NirVrana and HRosaV for letting the entire Bring Back Glam! staff crash at their pad!
I have a zillion photos - and I haven't had time to edit them. So check back tomorrow.