The M3 Rock Festival turned it up to 11 this year for the 11th anniversary of the glam-metal festival.
With a slate of performances that spanned across three days on May 3-5, the festival fulfilled the desires of the many fans who dug into the back of their closets, found their favorite old rock t-shirts, and made the trek to see some of the greatest arena-rock bands of the ’80s and early ’90s.
On the second day of the festival, over the course of 11 hours, nine bands graced the Merriweather Post Pavilion stage. At the midway point of the day, LA Guns hit the stage. Currently there are two touring versions of LA Guns. This version, led by longtime LA Guns members drummer Steve Riley and bassist Kelly Nickels, were playing their first-ever show together. Through the course of their set, LA Guns played many of their hits, including “Kiss My Love Goodbye” and “Ballad of Jayne.” The band capped their set off with the fan favorite “No Mercy.”
Following LA Guns was a band featuring the original drummer of Guns N Roses, Steven Adler. In a set full of GNR hits, Steve showcased his trademark smile. His upbeat attitude has long made his fans love him and continue to follow his career. After starting the set with a ripping version of “Reckless Life” from the album GNR Lies, Steve and his band focused their set mostly on the songs from Guns N Roses’ breakout album, Appetite for Destruction. Included in the set were “Nightrain,” “Mr. Brownstone,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “Rocket Queen.” The set finished with two of Guns N Roses biggest hits, “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City.”
FireHouse came ready to burn the place down. With lead singer CJ Snare stating that they first played Merriweather Post Pavilion all the way back in 1991 on the Blood Sweat and Beers tour with Warrant, FireHouse broke into the seventh performance of the day. Alternating between their power ballads, “When I Look into Your Eyes” and “Love of a Lifetime,” and their faster hits, “All She Wrote” and “Lovers Lane,” FireHouse kept the crowd slow dancing on the lawn and rocking in their seats. The song “Reach for the Sky” played perfectly as the fans happily obliged during each singing of the chorus. FireHouse wrapped up their performance with “Don’t Treat Me Bad,” which allowed CJ one final time to showcase his soaring voice, and it was met with huge cheers from the fans.
In the penultimate spot on the bill, Warrant performed with a fervor that helped make them one of the biggest bands of the hair metal era. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Warrant’s first album, “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.” Using the album’s cover art as the backdrop to the stage, Warrant focused much of their set on the 30-year-old record by playing the first six songs in order and playing a total of eight of the 10 songs off the record. With the record containing big hits such as “Down Boys,” “Big Talk,” “Heaven,” “Sometimes She Cries,” as well as the title track, the show was already packed full of fan favorites.
But with the band’s biggest hits of their career coming from their sophomore album, Warrant was far from finished. The ballads “I Saw Red” and “Blind Faith” brought the crowd together, but it was their last two songs of the night that got every last person out of their seat. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” sparked huge cheers as the recognizable acoustic guitar intro was played. The set finished with “Cherry Pie,” one of biggest hit singles from any band of the late ’80s or early ’90s. With a song that everyone in the amphitheater knew by heart, Warrant walked off on a high note to uproarious applause.
The night finished off with a headlining set from Whitesnake. Currently on tour promoting their about to be released album, Flesh and Blood, Whitesnake put on a stage show worthy of a great headliner. With an exquisite light show to accompany their performance, Whitesnake played new songs like “Hey You (You Make Me Rock),” as well as their hits like “Slow and Easy” and “Here I Go Again.”
Here are some more pictures of LA Guns, Steven Adler, FireHouse, and Warrant performing at M3 Rock Festival on May 4, 2019. All photos copyright and courtesy of Chris Smyth. Make plans to rock the weekend away with M3 Rock Festival next year by keeping an eye on its website.