After such a fantastic first night of the M3 Rock Festival, day two held high expectations – and these eight bands indeed came through. This festival provides the ’80s rock ‘n’ roll show that fans have been craving for the past year and a half and over Independence weekend, the Merriweather Post Pavilion crowd were looking for a party.
Day Two – M3 Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Lineup: Enuff Z’Nuff, Hurricane, Bulletboys, Steelheart, Steven Adler, Winger, Accept, Queensrÿche
Words and photography: Shannon Wilk
Enuff Z’Nuff kicked off the festivities with their set starting at noon. I was unsure how the crowd would be, with everyone tiredly moseying into the venue. But the band opened with a great cover of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, and by the time the crowd heard one of their favourites, Baby Loves You, they were immediately much more lively. What a great way to start the day.
Hurricane were second on the bill. The band were formed in 1985 and still features founding members Robert Sarzo and Tony Cavazo alongside drummer Mike Hansen (from 2010) and even newer vocalist Chad Cancino (from 2019).
Their well received set featured songs primarily from their debut album Take What You Want, with some material from more recent albums sprinkled throughout.
Following Hurricane was one of the most vibrant bands of the day – Bulletboys. Each band member has their own personality in their performance, which heightened their show’s entertainment value. The audience took note of this and matched the level of energy with their cheering and singing along.
Their nine-song setlist included covers of The O’Jays For The Love Of Money, Tom Waits’ Hang On St Christopher and Queens We Will Rock You.
Steelheart took the stage around 3:15 PM and rocked out a 45-minute set. I was surprised their show featured so many ballads, but then again, that was a big staple of the ’80s rock scene. Steelheart was formed in 1989, and vocalist Miljenko Matijevic was known for having one of the most impressive vocal ranges. That is quite a reputation to live up to all these years later, but his vocal style is still as good, and he is not afraid to show it off.
From I’ll Never Let You Go, to She’s Gone, to We All Die Young, Steelheart put on nothing less than a stellar show.
Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler followed with his solo band. Their set included eight of the twelve songs from Appetite For Destruction,
plus You Could Be Mine. There were also two Adler songs, a treat for the dedicated folks who have followed Steven throughout his entire career.
To do justice to Axl Rose’s vocals is not an easy task, but Ari Kamin, the singer of Argentinian Guns N’ Roses tribute band Son Of A Gun, is the perfect man for the job. He has the pizazz necessary for an entertaining frontman in addition to the vocal ability.
Steven Adler has put together a lineup with immense musicality and style, and closing the set with Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City made the whole set exciting for fans like myself who have never seen Guns N’ Roses live.
’80s rock icons Winger took the stage at 5:55 PM with a diverse set of songs from all of their albums, apart from IV. It was beautiful to see the crowd become a choir singing in unison during Miles Away, and we were reminded once again that music unites us.
The band closed in some style, with Headed For A Heartbreak, Madalaine and Seventeen, all from their ’88 debut album Winger. This is one of the only bands from the era with a completely original lineup, these guys put on a great thirteen track set, lasting an hour and 15 minutes.
Representing European Heavy Metal was Accept. Though the band was heavier than most bands playing today, they seemed to win over the audience effortlessly. The band had fans laughing at their joke that they were partially responsible for COVID-19 for writing their song Pandemic.
The Accept set consisted of eleven classic Accepts tracks, plus Zombie Apocalypse and Overnight Sensation taken from this year’s album Too Mean To Die. Their anthemic, energetic choruses truly brought up the enthusiasm among the crowd, and the contrast between the bands of the day just made Accept much more exciting to watch.
You can read an earlier interview with Wolf Hoffmann here.
The headliner for today was Queensrÿche. With the bar set high from Accept, these guys had quite a task, but they managed to prove themselves. This was the band’s first gig after their previous guitarist Parker Lundgren announced his departure from the band in order to focus on “other business ventures.”
For the M3 show, second-guitar duties were handled by Mike Stone, who originally joined Queensrÿche for the 2003 album Tribe and stayed with the band for six years.
With a seventeen track set including classic Queensryche tunes and Blood Of The Levant from 2019’s The Verdict, it was a recipe for a successful, balanced set.
The encore of Operation: Mindcrime, Screaming In Digital and Empire, all three tracks over 30 years old, was spellbinding and a fantastic and emotional end to the day.
Day two of the M3 Rock Festival kicked ass!
For Day One coverage, visit www.metaltalk.net/m3-festival-day-one-people-are-united-by-rock-music-once-again.php