M3 Rock Festival Celebrates its 15th year at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on May 5, 2024 Day 2





Day two of M3’s 15th anniversary Rock Festival began with much of the same as day one. The weather was cold and rainy but was supposed to get about 10 degrees warmer by the end of the day. Fans were slow to show up as usual, as everyone loves to attend the after-parties in the hotels in hopes of mingling with their favorite band members. If you were lucky enough to get there early and didn’t get stopped in lot 5 to tailgate, you got to see Pretty Boy Floyd sound-checking and they sounded great. It had been announced the day before that there was a change in the schedule and all the bands were moved up from their originally scheduled times due to Sun Dogs canceling last minute. The reason given on social media was that Mark Schenker came down with Laryngitis. Today was probably one of the best times I had at M3 out of the 4 times I have attended it. The bands were fantastic, the fans were excellent, and the weather finally let up a little, so it wasn’t as cold. Standouts of the day for me were Cold Sweat, Night Ranger, and Dee Snider‘s performance with Bret Michaels.


Pretty Boy Floyd – 12:45-1:35

Pretty Boy Floyd kicked off the day with their hit song “Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz” which had everyone singing along. It was great to start the day with some iconic sleaze-rock. Steve Summers did his fair share of storytelling during their set and one that I thought was why he said they weren’t more popular back in the day. It was because Riki Rachtman hated them and wouldn’t let them get more airplay on MTV. Steve called Riki “a fuckin poser”. They played an eight-song set including most of the fan favorites. He also took his jacket and tossed it to a fan in the crowd. After the set, Steve took the time to walk row by row in the crowd to greet any fans who wanted to get photos with him or have items signed. 


Pretty Boy Floyd is:

Steve “Sex” Summers – Lead vocals

Nick Mason – Drums

Dizzy Aster – Guitar

Lonny Paul – Bass




1. Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz

2. Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire)

3. Wild Angels

4. 48 Hours

5. Rock and Roll Outlaws

6. I Wanna Be with You

7. Restless

8. Saturday Night



Cold Sweat – 1:55-2:45

Metal DJ Will came out to announce Cold Sweat and made sure to let us know that the band was comprised of all original members. This is not something many bands from the 80’s can still claim. Roy Cathey has such an amazing voice and can belt out the lyrics just like back in the day. My daughter commented how they sounded EXACTLY like the album. These guys started off their set with “Four on the Floor” and continued through a fantastic set of music ending with a cover of Willie Dixon‘s “I Just Want to Make Love to You”.  The entire band sounded and performed flawlessly. Roy took time to thank the crowd and then also to poke fun at Andrew Freeman for his comments to the crowd the day before about not standing up. Roy told the crowd that he didn’t care if they wanted to sit or stand, just make some noise at the end of the song. He also told a story about how after playing the 930 Club with Child’s Play, they got a call from their manager (he was mocking her in a feminine voice), that she had good news and bad news. The good news was that their song just got into rotation on MTV, but the bad news was their label just dropped them. Cold Sweat just released Unburied Alive, a collection of unreleased studio cuts and live recordings on RFK Media.


Cold Sweat is:

Roy Cathey – Lead vocals

Anthony White – Drums

Marc Ferrari – Guitar

Erik Gamans – Guitar

Chris McLernon – Bass




1. Four on the Floor

2. Lovestruck

3. Rain Down

4. Cryin’ Shame

5. Let’s Make Love Tonight

6. Riviera/Long Way Down

7. Killing Floor

8. I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon cover)



Faster Pussycat – 3:10-4:00

Next up was the quintessential sleaze-rock band Faster Pussycat. Taime Downe fronted the stage decked out in leather and with his iconic piolets hat and sunglasses. Of note for this show Danny Nordahl was absent due to an injury and filling in for him was L.A. Guns bassist Johnny Martin looking suave with his dress jacket, hat, and scarf. And the newest member of the band, Kieran Roberson, formerly of Geoff Tate, on guitar. By now day two of the festival was in full swing and the crowd had filled in. They started their set of killer songs that made you want to sing along, with “Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way”.  Chad Stewert always pounds on the drums like a madman, while Sam Bam Koltun executes his guitar parts with ease along with some backing vocals. Not long after the set started someone on the M3 Rockers social media page called them out for supposedly using backing tracks. After a while of people coming out defending the band, guitarist Sam Bam Koltun replied, “Wow! I appreciate your thought that those high parts could have been on track, but we, Faster Pussycat, have absolutely zero tracks and I sing that high shit on Whip and Vain in particular.” With a set including “Whip, Slip of the Tongue, Vain, House of Pain, and Bathroom Wall”, Faster Pussycat kept the train rolling for one of the best years of M3 that I can remember.


Faster Pussycat is:

Taime Downe – Lead vocals, guitar

Danny Nordahl – Bass, backing vocals (absent due to injury, Johnny Martin filled in)

Chad Stewart – Drums, backing vocals, percussion

Sam Bam Koltun – Guitar, mandolin, talkbox, backing vocals

Kieran Robertson – Guitar




1. Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way

2. Cathouse

3. Slip of the Tongue

4. Like a Ghost

5. You’re So Vain (Carly Simon cover)

6. Poison Ivy

7. House of Pain

8. Bathroom Wall

9. Shut Up and Fuck (Betty Blowtorch cover)

10. Babylon



Y&T – 4:20-5:10

Y&T is out celebrating their 50th Anniversary of their first album. There aren’t many bands out there that can say this. With Dave Meniketti being the only original member and John Nymann and Mike Vanderhule having been with the band since the early 2000s, these guys perform like a well-oiled machine. Aaron Leigh on bass is the “newest” member of the band and has been with them since 2016. M3 was lucky to get them as this is their only east coast show this year. Not sure Y&T really fall into the hair-metal genre as they came out more than ten years before that name was coined, but they certainly fit in well with this event and had the pavilion area packed in. They played all their most popular songs including “Don’t Stop Runnin'”, “Mean Streak”, and “Summertime Girls”.  Dave dedicated “Midnight in Tokyo” to all the Japanese fans and asked that we sing the melody just like they do. At the end of their set, Dave apologized to the fans because UPS lost their shipment of merchandise, so they had no shirts for sale at the show, but let you know that you could buy them online at their website. 


Y&T is:

Dave Meniketti – Lead vocals, lead guitar

Mike Vanderhule – Drums

John Nymann – Guitar

Aaron Leigh – Bass




1. Open Fire

2. Don’t Stop Runnin’

3. Mean Streak

4. Midnight in Tokyo

5. Summertime Girls

6. Winds of Change

7. I’m Coming Home

8. Black Tiger

9. Forever



Stryper – 5:30-6:30

Michael Sweet let us know how Y&T is one of his biggest influences and that it felt strange going on AFTER them. “Respect is respect”. He also told a story about how when he was young, he would drive around with huge house speakers in the back seat of his car blasting Night Ranger. One thing I like about Stryper is that you never know what you will get with their set. Tonight started off with “Sing-Along Song” which had only the hardcore fans singing along. With Michael’s decision not to use in-ears, the band was having a lot of problems getting the sound in their monitors right throughout most of the first 2 songs. Outside of visibly seeing them have issues, it didn’t seem to have an effect on the front-of-house sound. Then they moved on to “Sorry” off of their album with the controversial title, God Damn Evil. These Christian rockers have proven they can stand the test of time pumping out albums to this day with awesome heavy songs more mainstream rock tunes and even a few ballads. With Robert Sweet as their “Visual Timekeeper” pounding away on the drums with showmanship the likes of the best of them and Oz Fox hammering on the bass, these guys put on a show that is not to be missed. This was the second show Michael sang at since his throat surgery. He was very critical of his own voice, but he sounded great. Michael made fun of the fact that the roadie had to come out and tape the lyrics to the monitor when they were about to play Firehouse‘s “All She Wrote” as a tribute to CJ Snare who recently passed away. Perry Richardson was an original member of Firehouse and played with them until about 2000. It was great to hear them end the night with two of their most iconic songs from the eighties; “Soldiers Under Command”, and “To Hell with the Devil”. 


Stryper is:

Michael Sweet – Lead vocals, guitar

Robert Sweet – Drums, backing vocals

Oz Fox – Guitar, backing vocals

Perry Richardson – Bass, backing vocals




1. Sing-Along Song

2. Sorry

3. Calling on You

4. Free

5. All For One

6. Always There for You

7. All She Wrote (Firehouse cover)

8. More Than a Man

9. Surrender

10. Soldiers Under Command

11. To Hell with The Devil



Night Ranger – 7:00-8:10

Night Ranger is a band I never paid much attention to until I saw them a few years ago. Back in the day I only knew them for their radio hit “Sister Christian” and never got any further into listening to them than that. The first time I saw them was in 2021 right here at M3 and they made a fan for life out of me. Their stage presence is top-notch, and their music goes much deeper than their few radio hits. These guys are out to give you a show you will remember. Brad Gillis and Keri Kelli on guitar are both stellar performers and wow the crowd with their guitar wizardry. The pavilion was packed to the brims with the entire place on their feet for the entirety of their twelve-song performance. They kicked off their set with “(You Can Still) Rock in America” and then, a few songs in, they did a cover of Damn Yankees “Coming of Age”. During the second song, Keri was walking backward and took a nasty fall over the stairs leading up to the riser at the center of the stage. He got up and shook it off like a pro, and I even saw him, while he was still performing, try to show Jack what happened by mocking himself for falling. There were rumors that he may have broken his ankle, however it was confirmed to be a bad sprain. Keri continued on with a smile. If you never experienced a Night Ranger drum solo, it is a spectacle to see. The entire band assembles around Kelly‘s drum kit and participates in a coordinated drum-playing extravaganza. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of it as we are only allowed to photograph for two songs, but you can find lots of videos on the Internet. They also played another Damn Yankees cover, “High Enough”. If you haven’t figured out the connection there, it is because Jack Blades was the singer and bassist for the late 80’s supergroup. Later in the set, they dedicated “Goodbye” to CJ Snare of Firehouse who recently passed. They ended their performance with their power ballad, and probably the most anticipated song by some, “Sister Christian”. Night Ranger definitely kept the place rocking!


Night Ranger is:

Kelly Keagy – Drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals

Brad Gillis – Lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Jack Blades – Bass, lead and backing vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitars

Erik Levy – Keyboards, synthesizers, piano, backing vocals

Keri Kelli – Lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals




1. (You Can Still) Rock in America

2. Four in the Morning

3. Sing Me Away

4. Coming of Age (Damn Yankees cover)

5. Sentimental Street

6. Eddie’s Comin’ Out Tonight

7. Night Ranger

8. High Enough (Damn Yankees covers)

9. Goodbye (Dedicated to CJ Snare)

10. When You Close Your Eyes

11. Don’t Tell Me You Love Me

12. Sister Christian



Bret Michaels w/ Dee Snider – 8:45-10:00

Bret Michaels headlined the evening bringing one big party to Columbia, Maryland. If you’ve never experienced his Party-Gras show it is a sight to see. Bret along with his band stacked with top-notch musicians plays a series of Poison‘s hit songs with lots of flare similar to Marty Gras. Before the show started several roadies came on stage and threw out beads and Leis into the audience. Bret brought out a bunch of special guests, the first of which was Night Ranger, to help perform a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Sweet Home Alabama”. The fans were on their feet and singing along for the entire set. About halfway through the set was the part I was looking forward to the most. Dee Snider from Twisted Sister came out to perform three songs. Two Twisted Sister songs and a cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell”. Dee Snider proved he still has what it takes to front a killer rock show, hopefully, he goes out on tour next year. Bret came back out to perform a few more Poison songs before bringing Sirius/XM host Tommy London out to help sing on the last song of the party, “Nothing but a Good Time”. The fans were taken aback by his excellent voice. Throughout the performance, Bret made sure to point at and greet as many fans as possible, even some young kids who were sitting side-stage. Not many people left the pavilion before the last note of the show. Party Gras was certainly a great choice for the headlining act of day 2 of M3 Rock Festival.


Bret Michaels Band is:

Bret Michaels – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar

Pete Evick – Guitar

Norman Voss – Bass 

Meri Schaefer – Drums, Backing Vocals

Rob Jozwiak – Keyboards

Dean Cramer – Guitar

Becci Clark – Background Vocals 

Special guest Dee Snider




1. Talk Dirty to Me (Poison song)

2. Ride the Wind (Poison song)

3. Look What the Cat Dragged In (Poison song)

4. Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover) (with Night Ranger)

5. Your Mama Don’t Dance (Loggins and Messina cover)

6. Something to Believe in (Poison song) (Dedicated to our troops)

7. I Wanna Rock (Twister Sister song)(Dee Snider singing)

8. We’re Not Gonna Take It (Twisted Sister song)(Dee Snider Singing)

9. Highway to Hell (AC/DC cover)(Dee Snider singing)

10. Unskinny Bop (Poison song)

11. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn (Poison song)

12. Nothin’ but a Good Time (Poison song)(Tommy London also on vocals) 


The 15th Anniversary of M3 Rock Festival is in the books and what an event it was. The fans braved the cold and rainy weather to see some of the best 80’s rock and hair metal bands that are still touring. This was probably the best M3 that I have been to. It truly had a feel of camaraderie between the fans and the artists were performing to the best of their abilities. Although there was no mention of next year’s event, it seems that the rumors flying are that there will be another M3 next year. If you missed this year’s show, make sure you attend the next one.






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