Merriweather Post Pavilion - Columbia, MD.
Photos by Marcy Royce.
The word HOT was used extensively on this day. Not once, not twice, but all day long seemingly every 10 minutes. Everyone in attendance from patrons to crew to band members to fellow photographers/press… we were all melting. However, when it comes to rock and roll, we diehard fans will muster through just about anything.
This was the second year for the M3 Rock Festival. The inaugural year was so successful how could this event not happen again? This year the set times for each of the two stages, pavilion and festival, had very little overlap and made all the patrons much happier. This one day festival had a solid lineup of killer bands and artists. A recipe for success. And the attendance was most likely doubled from last year. The talk around the grounds that somewhere around 13,000 – 15,000 came throught the gates. WOW!
I was a busy girl making my way between the stages. Slower than usual due to the oppressive heat. I went through at least 5 bottles of water, as everyone needed to stay hydrated.
JETBOY was the first band for me on the pavilion stage. Glad to see them again this year. I enjoyed their set both years.
Next was ZO2 on the festival stage. Good crowd in attendance and Paulie Z was belting out lyrics as usual. These guys are tight and always a pleasure to see. Hugs were exchanged later in the day. Always friendly!
Back to the pavilion stage for TRIXTER. Even hotter in the photo/press pit now. No air was moving. Never caught these guys live before. They did well and the crowd was very receptive to them. I saw quite a few people singing along.
Next on the pavilion stage was Phil Lewis’ version of L.A. GUNS. I saw them recently, April to be exact, at the Brunswick Fire Hall in Brunswick, MD. So I knew what to expect. Kenny Kweens is always where I take my stand. So I couldn’t quite get the photos I really wanted of Stacey Blades. But they performed all the hits that I expected including Ballad of Jayne, Sex Action and Never Enough. The crowd was digging ‘em.
Next on the pavilion stage was WINGER. Another band I haven’t caught live before. I like these guys and they didn’t disappoint me. Performing solid hits as well as some new material. Nice extra! Songs included were Headed for a Heartbreak, Can’t Get Enough and Down Incognito.
Now back to the festival stage to see BANG TANGO. These guys have passed through the nearby area many times and the timing has never been right for me. This day was my day! Nice size crowd for them, bigger than I expected. I didn’t get to stay as long in the photo/press pit as I would have liked. Kix was due on soon and I wanted to claim a good spot.
Sooooooo… I headed to the pavilion stage again. KIX was NEXT!!! Anyone who knows me doesn’t even have to question that they are my number 2 top band (of course Def Leppard is number one, right Jane and Darlene!). Every single time the intro song starts I get goosebumps. Even in the blazing 90 degree heat of the day, it happens again! Performing all the favorite hits was the perfect satisfaction for the fans, and me too! Songs including Hotwire, Girl Money, Don’t Close Your Eyes, Cold Blood and the customary closer of Yeah Yeah Yeah.
Steve Whiteman, of course, is comical. From the little diddy about his daughter before Sex, to the shower caps he and Mark Schenker wore for Cold Shower since the umbrella seemed to hava a snafu. The crowd roared. Every single seat was filled and the lawn was packed. When you are this close to Baltimore and the hometown boys perform, it’s gonna be packed. Well done, my boys, WELL DONE!!!
VINCE NEIL was next on the pavilion stage. And I was too tired to be in the photo/press pit. I listened and watched from the Hammerjacks booth with some old friends and some new friends. And I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t impressed. I don’t think when Vince left the stage for a 10 minute break that the fans appreciated that. And then his voice was not what it should be. Some liked Vince, some didn’t like Vince. Ah well, such is life.
Trekked off to the festival stage once more after my momentum returned. This time for NELSON. Another band I didn’t get to see before. They performed the expected Love And Affection and After The Rain and Mark Slaugher was on guitar, nice! It was a solid performance
Back to the pavilion stage, this time it was for the mighty CINDERELLA. I was eagerly anticipating seeing Tom Keifer, to hear his voice live. I’ve watched YouTube videos since his return and heard reviews from others how well he has been doing. Seeing him for myself, I would have to agree. He was awesome! I was hard pressed to say they stole the show from KIX, but I think both bands were neck and neck for me. They performed the solid standards fans expect including Push, Push, Shake Me, Night Songs, Coming Home and Nobody’s Fool. The pavilion was packed once more. Myself and everyone around me liked what they heard.
By this point I wanted to see Warrant, the closer of the festival stage. But alas, it was not to be. I wanted to position myself for The Scorpions. So I did!
The SCORPIONS started a tad late, 35 minutes. But I didn’t care. I was so eager to see them, especially James Kottak. Most of my friends know I have a things for drummers and I couldn’t wait to see James perform his drum solo. But I digress, so back to the beginning of the set. I was positioned in front of Rudolf Schenker. Holy cow does that guy have energy just oozing out of him. I was taking it all in with every note. Thanks Rudolf!!! They started with Sting In The Tail from the new cd. Next was Make It Real. And the final song for me to see up close and personal was one of my favs, Bad Boys Running Wild. I was insane with my shutter finger. 209 photos in just 10-12 minutes. Poor Klaus was suffering through with the flu. How amazing! He did quite well. He deserves a huge award for that one, man! I stood in the pavilion and enjoyed the rest of the show, horns up most of the time. (As my husband always cringes when I do that… he’s reserved when it comes to that stuff). I was so entralled with James’ solo. He is every bit what I expected and more. I do hope to someday meet him. He is a very talented drummer. Familar songs such as Wind Of Change, Tease Me Please Me, Big City Nights, Blackout, and The Zoo were in the set. Many of the ones I love. The one and only encore was Rock You Like A Hurricane and it was a perfect ending to a great set.
The day ended as perfectly as I had hoped. Successful and satisfied with over 900 photos on my 5 memory cards. The only question I had was: “Where is the nearest shower?”
Looking forward to M3 Rock Festival, 2011 version.