It’s a humid Friday afternoon out in Columbia, Maryland, and there is an energy among these fans that the M3 Rock Festival has never seen. With COVID-19 calming down here in the states, thousands of people have packed into the Merriweather Post Pavilion and are ready to rock once again.
Day 1 of this ’80s arena rock festival has officially begun.
Day One – M3 Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Lineup: The Iron Maidens, Tokyo Motor Fist, Slaughter, Kix.
Words and photography: Shannon Wilk
The night kicked off around 6:15 PM with The Iron Maidens – an all-female tribute to the legendary Iron Maiden. With a set of Wasted Years, Powerslave, The Trooper, and Hallowed Be Thy Name, these ladies put on quite a show and did justice to a band whose songs aren’t exactly simple.
Being the very first tribute band ever to play the festival, The Iron Maidens proved themselves worthy of playing with this amazing lineup.
Tokyo Motor Fist
Tokyo Motor Fist put on a dynamite set, including their own original music and hits from both Danger Danger and Trixter, whom the band features members of. Fans faces lit up as vocalist Ted Poley ventured out into the crowd during the performance.
The M3 crowd gave a warm welcome to the band’s newest addition – drummer Jordan Cannata. And rightfully so, might I add, seeing that his energy is at an eleven behind the drum kit. With the obvious happiness and gratitude the band expressed for being back onstage, it was impossible not to smile watching Tokyo Motor Fist play.
Next up was Slaughter, who hit the stage around 8 PM. They are one of those bands where every member really has their own personality on stage while still bringing 150 percent. The beginning of the set featured tunes like Mad About You, Burnin’ Bridges, and more.
With Mark Slaughter’s birthday coming up on 4 July, the band celebrated by singing happy birthday to their beloved vocalist with thousands of fans. After their set concluded, the celebration continued, with a firework show for the Fourth of July.
Last but certainly not least was Kix! What would the first day of the M3 Rock Festival be without them? After all, it has always been the Kix-off party.
These hometown heroes always bring their A-game and tonight was no different with an impressive sixteen song set. Before the set, there was chatter among fans about the newest addition to the Kix lineup, guitarist Bob Paré, since not many folks have seen the band’s latest incarnation. With Ronnie “10/10” Younkins unable to perform with the band for the foreseeable future due to addiction issues, Paré most definitely proved himself tonight.
Frontman Steve Whiteman is known for his stage antics and crowd interaction, and I have to say, it was amazing to see so many people united by music once again.
Overall, Friday was an incredible start to the M3 Rock Festival.
Saturday, 3 July, has Queensrÿche headlining, tantalisingly supported by Accept, Winger and Steven Adler, with Steelheart, Bulletboys, Hurricane and Enuff Z’Nuff earlier in the day.
US Independence day has Night Ranger headlining the 4 July festivities, with Warrant, Great White, Lita Ford, Steve Riley’s LA Guns, Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd and Little Caesar.
For those who can’t make the venue, a festival live stream is available. For more details, visit m3rockfest.veeps.com