Huge high fives to listener Ronna Korotkin, who was one of the winners of our first Rocklahoma giveaway in 2007. (Well technically, her husband Dave won, but it was all in the name of heavy metal love!) Ronna recently entered a contest on her local station (and HOH affiliate) WIYY/Baltimore and scored stage seats for her entire family at the recent kick-ass M3 Festival. Ronna was also crowned Miss M3…we think her favorite House of Hair tank is bringing her good luck!
Ronna’s M3 Festival Review
Saturday, May 30 – M3 Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
The weather was just as promised on Saturday morning – 70s and sunny. Although there were 16 bands playing the M3 Festival, we knew we wouldn’t be able to catch them all because there were two stages and the set times overlapped. So, unfortunately, that meant sacrificing the Festival Stage performances so that we could see the Pavilion (Main) Stage performances. This meant that we didn’t get to see:
3:00 Bullet Boys
4:25 Steel Panther
5:50 L.A. Guns
We got to the venue around 1:00 so we missed Gilby Clark who opened the show on the main stage at noon.
As we walked up to Merriweather, we could hear Y&T playing on the main stage, including “Summertime Girls.” The crowd was flowing in and the lawn was filling up. The pavilion was sold out but there were still some empty seats this early in the day. The pit was shoulder to shoulder – SRO.
Slaughter came on next and had the crowd singing along to favorites like “Fly to the Angels” and “Up All Night.” They still could put on quite a show even in the middle of the afternoon. We could tell that this was going to be one rockin’ festival!
What was most impressive about the show was that there was very little downtime between sets. This is good and bad. On the positive side, you didn’t have to wait long for the next band to start. On the negative side, there wasn’t time to go to the second stage or the merch booths. We took a quick tour of the merch booths and, while there were plenty of band t-shirts, there was not M3 merch at all.
After the quick set change,Jani Lane ran onto the stage looking like a man on a mission. We had heard an interview with him from about a week and a half ago and he said he was ready to rock and had put together an all-star band – Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper) on guitar, Kevin Baldes (Lit) on bass, James Kottak (Scorpions) on drums and former Warrant keyboardist Shawn Zavodney. Jani definitely got the crowd going, at one point coming out from stage right into the crowd, working his way across the crowd singing the whole time, and then back to the left side of the stage. He played all of the Warrant hits and a new song called “Changes.” Jani was in serious need of a smoke part way into the set. He found one, had someone from the crowd throw him a lighter just as the county smoking ordinance flashed up on the screen. Great timing! He closed with “Cherry Pie” after pretending that he was finished and starting to walk off stage.
Dokken was on next and he did not disappoint. We have now seen him three times in three years – Rocklahoma ’07, Rocklahoma ’08 and M3 and he has delivered every time. With Mick Brown on drums, Jon Levin on guitar and Barry Sparks on bass, he kicked off with “Breakin’ The Chains” and delivered hits like “Kiss of Death,” “The Hunter,” “Into The Fire,” “Alone Again,” “Tooth And Nail” and “In My Dreams” in his signature style. It was hard to believe that it was only 4:40 or so when he finished and we still had four bands to go on the main stage.
Kix was on next and there had been a lot of press about Kix playing the 5:00 slot in what was basically a hometown show for them. A lot of people said that they felt sorry for anyone playing after Kix at M3 because the bar was going to be set so high. Well, Extreme certainly didn’t let up (more on that later) but Kix came out on fire. Literally, on fire. Steve Whiteman kicked into “Midnight Dynamite” with the fuse burning on his microphone. Backed by Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant on drums, Brian “Damage” Forsythe and Ronnie “10/10″ Younkins on guitars and Mark Schenker on bass, Steve ran through hits like “Cold Shower,” “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “Girl Money.” The crowd absolutely ate it up. Kix probably could’ve played for another hour and the home crowd would’ve still wanted more. But it was time to kick the giant balloons out into the crowd, wrap up the Kix set and prep for Extreme.
Extreme kicked off the first of three headliner-length sets and Gary Cherone looked like he’d had a few too many Red Bulls. He came out like a man possessed, jumping onto the amps and riding them like a bull, climbing onto the stage speakers and sitting cross-legged, squatting mid-stage, leaping off of the raised drum platform. It was an unbelievable display of raw energy. And through it all he nailed every note. With Nuno Bettencourt on guitar (and showing off the shape he is in by losing his shirt partway through the set), Pat Badger on bass and Kevin Figueiredo on drums, Extreme put on a show that I guarantee nobody stopped to wonder why Extreme had a headline spot. They mixed up the setlist, playing hits from the earlier albums as well as songs from “Saudades de Rock.” The set list included “Decadence Dance,” “Comfortably Dumb,” “Rest In Peace,” “It(‘s A Monster),” “Am I Ever Gonna Change,” “Play With Me,” “More Than Words,” “Cupid,” “Get The Funk Out” and “Hole Hearted.” It was an amazing show that many of the other musicians, including John Nymann from Y&T, came and listened to from the side of the stage.
Ratt came on around 8:00 and a lot of jaws dropped when John Corabi walked out to play guitar. Rumor has it that Carlos Cavazo had a scheduling conflict and Corabi agreed to fill in for just this show. I guess time will tell but it was nice to see him on stage with Robbie Crane, Bobby Blotzer, Warren DeMartini and Stephen Pearcy. The band came out to big cheers from the crowd as Robbie Crane fist-bumped the fans on the side of the stage (including us). They kicked off with “Tell The World” and followed with hits like “Slip of The Lip,” “Back for More,” “Lovin’ You’s A Dirty Job,” “Way Cool Jr.,” “Lay It Down,” “Body Talk” and “Round and Round.” The band members really looked like they were enjoying themselves. Stephen Pearcy and Bobby Blotzer were bantering back and forth all night and Robbie Crane seemed to be saying “hi” to friends everywhere he looked, including Marq Torien from BulletBoys on the side of the stage. At the end of the set, Robbie threw his bass about 20 feet in the air and, fortunately, his guitar tech was there to make the catch. As they walked off, the tech told Robbie to never, ever do that again.
Between Ratt & Twisted Sister, Shiprocked announced the winner of a free cruise. As all of you House of Hair fans know, HoH gave away a Shiprocked cruise earlier this year. With bands like Queensryche, Tesla, Skid Row and Lynam, and destinations like Jamaica and the Grand Caymans, the cruise is booking up quickly. You better head over to www.getshiprocked.com before it’s too late.
Twisted Sister headlined M3 and took the stage around 9:20. It took a little while to work through some guitar kinks but the show quickly kicked into gear. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Stay Hungry,” Dee Snider, Jay Jay French, Mark “The Animal” Mendoza, Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda and A.J. Pero came out in full make-up, pumped up the packed house and didn’t stop for over an hour. The set included all of the hits – “The Price,” “I Wanna Rock,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “S.M.F.” The audience was into it and Dee and Mark even came over to the side stage to sing and play to their family members. As the festival ended, Twisted’s pyrotechnics shot off from the floor and then from the rafters – directly over A.J. as he played. He sat tight for the first set of sparks, brushing debris out of his hair. But the second set of sparks sent him around the drum set and up with the rest of the band to say goodnight to the crowd.
It was an awesome festival! Let’s hope M3 – May Merriweather Metal – becomes an annual event.