It is very hard to believe that yet another M3 Festival has come and gone. And while this year’s M3 was held earlier than any previous, it was still another solid year of hair metal performances. Great artists came from all around the globe to rejoice with fans and rock the 2013 version of M3. Once again I was in attendance for the festival, soaking in all the glorious entertainment over the two-day span. So, as you would expect, this edition of Vie’s Verses is a nice recap of the 2013 M3 Festival, including the highs, lows, and hope for the future.
By far the best band at this year’s M3 was Twisted Sister. Dee Snider’s ability to command a crowd never ceases to amaze me, and even after 30 years, he still seems to do it almost better than anyone. Leaping out onstage to “You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll,” Twisted Sister performed all of their top hits and made the most of the 50 or so minutes they had to perform. From “We’re Not Going To Take It,” to “I Wanna Rock,” to “The Price,” Twisted Sister played everything that everyone would want to hear and packed quite a punch doing it. And while the band was not in their signature costumes and makeup, it didn’t matter. Twisted Sister does not need imagery gimmicks to get fans excited. All they needed to do was perform. It was the first time that I had seen the band in many years and it was a real treat.
I’m not sure what these guys have been up to lately, but they need to go on tour. Jizzy Pearl’s voice was in exceptional form and the rest of the band sounded fantastic. Considering that Love/Hate had to take the stage at 11:50 AM, I was quite impressed by how great they sounded. Not many could sing that vocal range before noon. Their set was heavy on songs from their first album, but Love/Hate managed to perform a couple from their second disc, and one from their third. It was a nice diverse set and even though they only had 30 minutes, Love/Hate made the most of their time. If they were to go out on a club tour this summer, they would get my money with ease.
I will be honest. Before Saturday, the only thing I knew about Steel Panther was Rob Rockitt’s review of their latest album. I had never listened to the band, I had never researched the band, I basically never cared about the band. On Saturday evening, all of that changed. I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a die-hard fan of Steel Panther now, but I can say that I would definitely pay to see this band perform live again. Their set was filled with the raunch rock they are known for, along with humorous anecdotes, and glam metal mockery for all to enjoy. Add on the fact that they can play their instruments and sing with the best of the glam bands, and you have a successful, amazing performance. I was simply blown away.
Loudness returned to M3 for their second performance, but their first on the main stage. In 40 minutes they proved why they deserved to be on the main stage. With a brilliant set that captured all the loud, raw energy one would expect from the band, Loudness blew the roof off of the Pavilion and probably converted a lot of M3 festival goers into Loudness fans. They converted me last year with their Festival stage performance, so seeing them on the main stage this year only made me like them more. It was a memorable set from a memorable band that I would like to see more often.
I had not seen this band perform in 20 years, so when I had the opportunity this year, I didn’t miss it. And by not missing it, I mean I actually left Twisted Sister’s set early to make sure that I had a good spot for Jackyl. That is how badly I wanted to see them. They did not disappoint. From the opening of “My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass” to the closing of “The Lumberjack” Jackyl was fantastic. If not for Twisted Sister, they may have been the best band at the festival. Jackyl gave a solid performance, played as if they were headlining a stadium, while keeping the intimacy of a club, and basically were unrivaled. From their song selection, to their tight playing, to front man Jesse James Dupree entertaining the crowd with great stories and even better vocals, Jackyl really did it all.
Blackie Lawless Decides To Play The Crimson Idol
I am not bashing Blackie Lawless with what I am about to say. I love WASP and I love the Blackie Lawless band that calls itself WASP. I love seeing WASP in concert and every time they schedule a performance near my house, I go see them. With all of that having been said, I think that Blackie forgot that the M3 fans on Friday night did not pay to see a WASP concert. What I mean by that is I think Blackie’s ego told him all of the fans had come to see WASP and only WASP. That just wasn’t true. WASP was an excellent addition to the bill, but not the reason fans came. So, if Blackie decided to play a 30-minute Crimson Idol set as part of a WASP concert, good for him. But deciding to that at M3 was a huge mistake. HUGE. When WASP took the stage to close out Friday night, fans were loud, proud, and in full force. The pavilion was full and the lawn was pretty crowded. As WASP played the hits, fans rejoiced. Then Blackie decided to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of The Crimson Idol by playing a 30 minute set of Idol songs and left out the hits from that album, (specifically Murders In The Rue Morgue). What the hell was this guy thinking!!?? So as the condensed Crimson Idol was played sans hits, the crowd started to file out. By the time WASP finished their Crimson set, about one quarter of the audience was left. Like I already stated, I love WASP. I loved seeing the Crimson Idol set, but I am in the minority. Most fans at M3 were casual WASP fans at best. Blackie would have been best served giving them all the hits, a couple of rarities, and called it a day. He may have converted a lot more people that way. In the end, I just don’t think that WASP was meant for M3.
All right, I will stop you right now. I get it. “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” is a hard song to sing. And as one female fan pointed out to her male friend while he was bashing Steelheart, “I’d like to see you sing that.” The problem with that argument is that I don’t get paid to sing that. Overall, I thought that Steelheart gave a decent performance. They focused heavily on their third album, Wait, which I didn’t even know about until Saturday. Fortunately for the band, a lot of fans did know about it and were singing along. My disappointment came in the band’s performance of “I’ll Never Let You Go.” While lead singer Miljenko Matijevic sounded great throughout, he had some trouble with the high notes on the band’s biggest single. Combine that with the fact that the band rearranged the song and performed a shortened version of their huge hit and had the crowd sing most of the choruses—well— it just ended with disappointment. Overall, Steelheart was good, but they did not do their signature song any justice.
In case they forget, back in 1990, King’s X released a pretty darned good album called Faith, Hope, Love. That album contained two stellar songs, “It’s Love” and “We Are Finding Who We Are.” Oddly enough, King’s X decided to play neither of those during their 40 minute Festival Stage set. Instead they opted for a lot of songs that almost no one knew. Look, I get it, King’s X has a deep catalog and they want to try and perform lesser known songs in the hopes to broaden their appeal. Do that on your own tour. At M3, play the hits and then sprinkle in other songs. Fans will remember that and most likely seek out your other albums in a nostalgic blast.
This was just absolutely abysmal. From going on late to performing a horrendous cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” the Bret Michaels band was a disaster. Sure, it was cool to see them open with one of Poison’s biggest hits “Talk Dirty To Me,” and the Poison songs sounded decent, but it wasn’t enough. Bret Michaels should not have closed out the festival (that should have been Twisted Sister). And while he may be excited about his forthcoming “solo” record, Jamming With My Friends, I don’t think anyone else is. As a huge Poison fan, I hate to say this, but I think Bret’s solo CD is going to tank. Maybe that will be the kick in the ass he needs to get Poison back in the studio to record an album of new material. Enough with this covers shit already. Please!
This one still baffles me days later. Why on Earth was there only one merchandise stand at M3? They have multiple booths, but only one of them (near the front entrance) was open and selling merchandise. What was that all about? And no dew rags or beanies? No hoodies? Just T-shirts? How lame. I don’t know who runs the merch stand, but please take note, people like more than just T-shirts. Maybe next year we can get some beanies, hoodies, and other goodies?
Other Random Observations
Bad Seed Rising
Starting off the first night of the festival was a band of 12 – 14 year olds called Bad Seed Rising. That’s right, 12 – 14 year olds. When I got to my seat and saw them come out on stage, I was wondering if they had won some local contest. These kids couldn’t possibly bring it, could they? Boy have I never been more mistaken in my life. Not only did Bad Seed Rising rock the opening of the M3 Festival in dramatic and amazing fashion, they looked like seasoned professionals why they did it. I could not believe the amount of poise and stage presence this band had. People were responding to the commands made by their lead singer to get out of their seats. When a 14 year old girl can make you do that, well, she’s got a stage presence well beyond her years. I think the future bodes well for Bad Seed Rising.
Complaining About Concession Prices
All right, I get it. Concession prices are high and no one likes paying $9 for a beer or $13 for a margarita. I do understand that. However, yelling at the teenage girl taking your order and telling her that this is the last one you will buy at those prices isn’t going to do anything. Neither is chastising her and asking her how she thinks she can get away with charging those ridiculous prices. Look, you drunk dummy, the girl taking your money didn’t set the price, has no control over the prices, and doesn’t really care if you come back or not. And here’s a novel idea—if you don’t want to pay high prices for the alcohol, don’t drink it.
Everyone Loves Steel Panther
Packed. That’s what the Merriweather Post Pavilion was when it came time for Steel Panther to take the stage. All the seats and most of the lawn were filled. As I previously mentioned, I didn’t know anything about the band. However, I was in the minority, as fans packed in early to see Steel Panther and then sang along with every word. Once I saw their performance, I understood why they were given the main stage at 6:00. They were worth it. Their live show is as mesmerizing as it is hysterical. Steel Panther was able to pull together the comedic timing with an exceptional, talented musical performance. On top of all that, the fans knew all the words to all the songs and made sure that they sang along, including the girls. Especially the girls. It made for an amazing surreal experience, but it also turned me into a fan. Now I just have to go out and buy the Steel Panther records.
The girls formerly known as Vixen (3 out of 4 original members, but the missing member holds the name rights) were exceptional this year. It was also the first time that I got to see them live, so I was quite happy. They looked great, they sounded better, and it made me yearn to see them go out on tour. The one mistake I thought they made was opting to close with a different song after playing “Edge of a Broken Heart.” Most of the audience left to get to the second stage once “Edge” was done. Bad move on the part of the Vixen girls, but maybe there was a reason for it. I always thought that closing with your best was the way to go, but what do I know? I’m a writer.
Hope For Next Year
With another year past I am already looking forward to M3 2014. I am also hoping that we can get some of the following bands next year: Dangerous Toys, Vain, Mike Tramp, Pretty Boy Floyd, the return of Jetboy, Cinderella (or Tom Keifer solo), Bullet Boys, Britny Fox (or Dean Davidson), and Night Ranger just to name a few. Night Ranger would make for a great headliner as would Motley Crue, Kiss, Tesla, and Bon Jovi. Who knows, maybe we will get real lucky and get most, if not all, of these bands and more for M3 2014.