M3 Rock Festival – Day 2 – Columbia, MD – 5/5/2024

The two-day festival continued on Sunday, May 5th with a full headlining set by Bret Michaels and special guest Dee Snider, who treated fans to a mid-set surprise from Night Ranger and an exclusive encore jam session featuring anyone and everyone from this year’s lineup.

The day featured performances by Night Ranger, Stryper, Y&T, Faster Pussycat, Cold Sweat, and Pretty Boy Floyd with a modified schedule of events due to the late cancelation of the Sun Dogs.

Sun Dogs. a tribute to Rush from Fairfax, Virginia were unable to perform due to illness.  We were told that frontman Mark Schenker of multi-platinum selling recording and touring artist KIX, was suffering from laryngitis.  Which was unfortunate, as he takes on many roles, including bass, lead vocals, keyboards and bass pedals in the band and is joined by former KIX bandmate Bob Pare.

It would have been a treat for those hoping for a KIX fix in lieu of the band’s retirement last September. But, while the two didn’t make it out, we did catch up with Jimmy Chalfant from KIX and his wife Cathy backstage later that evening, who joined a list of celebrity sightings including Pat Sajak from Wheel of Fortune!

After a late night of karaoke and reunions at the Merriweather Lakehouse, I found myself rushing to make it to the Pavilion in time for Pretty Boy Floyd’s set.  The band is fronted by Steve Summers on lead vocals with new recruits Dizzy Aster on guitar and Lonnie Johnson on bass.

Nick “The Living Dead Drummer” Mason, who we first met at the post-covid M3 Rock Festival in July of 2021 was still kicking ass behind the kit that afternoon.  You may recognize him from elsewhere as Nick keeps busy with a few other projects including Jason Charles Miller and Fleischkreig as his busy schedule permits, he will be joining Pretty Boy Floyd a few shows in to their next string of dates.

The band torn through a quick set of the usual suspects like “Leather Boyz and Electric Toys” and the ballad “I Wanna Be With You” opening the day around 12:45 due to schedule adjustments, and made the day of many fans by visiting and taking photos following the set.   In case you decided to sleep in, they can be found on the road this month with Enuff Z’ Nuff, Trixter, and Band, Inc.


Next up, fan favorites Cold Sweat took the stage with Roy Cathey on lead vocals, Marc Ferrari and Erik Gamans on guitar, Chris McLernon (Saigon Kick) on bass (who you can find pictured above with Pat Sajak), and Anthony White on drums.

For those in attendance, Anthony performed with another project entitled Generation Landslide at the M-Pre party on Friday and Roy joined an all-star jam there as well which included members of Aldo Nova and Dirty Looks. You’ll find our coverage from the end of the evening at The Reckless Shephard from us as well.

Cold Sweat has made a recent resurgence with Ron Keel’s label RFK media recently releasing Cold Sweat: Unburied Alive with four “unburied” studio tracks that have never been heard before.  The band is making their way through the festival circuit with Monsters of The Mountain last year and the recent announcement that they’ll be joining the 2025 Monsters of Rock Cruise. Speaking of MORC, our very own DJ Will, best known for his work at the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill and the Monsters of Rock Cruise, could be found introducing the band last Sunday and taking the stage at M3 for the first time!  Always great to see MORC family on dry land, especially as we are in the midst of booking for the 2025 sailing!

Faster Pussycat brought another dose of glam with frontman Taime Done joined by longtime bandmates Chad Stewart smiling behind the drums. Some may recognize Johnny Martin of LA Guns, who could be found filling the big shoes of Danny ‘Slim Tender’ Nordhaul on bass.  For those who hadn’t caught our coverage from the Crafthouse in Pittsburgh the week prior, Faster Pussycat had to make some adjustments to their set the Tuesday prior to M3 after Slim Tender took a fall off the bus breaking his arm and thumb.  We heard that he was in Maryland with the band but wasn’t able to perform at all due to the injury. Martin joined the fun alongside guitarists Sam Bam Kolton who is also known for his work with Budderside and Dorothy and the band’s newest addition Kieran Robertson, who some may recognize from his time with Geoff Tate, could finally be found playing guitar!

These Hollywood vamps emerged in the daylight treating us to a raunchy mix of old and new which included “Like a Ghost” and hits like “House of Pain” and their cover of “You’re So Vain,” finishing in true sleaze fashion with a triple-shot of “Bathroom Wall,” a cover of Betty Blowtorch’s “Shut up and F#ck” and “Babylon.” But this would not be the last we’d see of these guys…they resurfaced in the dark where they thrive and joined the ‘Parti Gras’ fun and Chad even reunited with his partner in crime Pete Evick of the Bret Michael’s band for some sing-a-long fun after the show (which kind of made up for his absence at The Collective Encore and VIP pre-party on Friday).

Great catching Y&T again after a headlining performance at the Monsters of Rock Cruise Pre-Party in Miami this past March. Y&T is Dave Maniketti on guitar and vocals, John Nymann on guitar, Aaron Leigh on bass, and Mike Vanderhule on drums.

The band is celebrating their 50 year anniversary without skipping a beat, quickly becoming one of the most talked about performances of the day.  With a backdrop of flames on the big screen they opened with the appropriately titled “Open Fire,” hitting hard with “Don’t Stop Runnin'” and “Mean Streak” soon after, and even lightened the mood on a dreary spring day with “Summertime Girls.”

While Y&T was finishing their set, Stryper was setting up for their own behind the curtain on the revolving stage.  An amazing feature at the venue, but a challenge to those working as there is little downtime at this quickly-paced festival.  I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to capture some behind the scenes moments and am grateful for the opportunity to capture this moment before they hit the stage because as we’ve be recently reminded, tomorrow is never a guarantee.  Pictured left to right, they are brothers Robert Sweet on drums and Michael Sweet on lead vocals and guitar, Perry Richardson on bass, and Oz Fox on bass.

Stryper was the first rock show that I’d ever seen back in 1988 and I’m blessed to have gotten to know Michael and Perry both professionally and personally over the years. It was an emotional weekend catching up with the guys, especially Perry given his long history with Firehouse and the loss of their frontman and his onetime bandmate CJ Snare.  But as they paid tribute during their set, I for one am thankful for the music that lives on and for the many memories that we all have of CJ as a fan, a friend, and a colleague.

On a much lighter note, the guys from Night Ranger were all laugh’s photobombing each other behind the scenes and posing for photos with character that evening.  They were the second band of the festival to feature two frontman, Night Ranger is Jack Blades (bass, vocals), Kelly Keagy (drums, vocals), Brad Gillis (lead & rhythm guitars), Eric Levy (keyboards) and Keri Kelli (lead & rhythm guitars).  These guys truly are rock legends and they have the hits and the stage show to prove it!

Yes, “(You Can Still) Rock in America”! with no shortage of hits of their own and a few Damn Yankees favorites thrown in for good measure.  We thoroughly enjoyed these guys as always and love that despite having few headlining shows around us, they are always a staple at festivals like M3, Rokisland, and the upcoming Mountain music festival (formerly Monsters on the Mountain).

Bret Michaels brought his Parti Gras celebration to a packed house on Sunday evening at M3 Rock Festival.  Benefitting from an earlier curfew and dryer day, it was hard to see an empty seat in the crowd from my birds-eye view on stage.

Making the evening even more special, Bret Michaels was joined by previously announced special guest Dee Snider who was also backed by the Bret Michaels band: long-time guitarist and band director Pete Evick and rhythm guitarist Dean Cramer (So Low, Funny Money) larger than life bassist Norman Voss, hard-hitting drummer Meri Schaefer, and keyboardist Rob Jozwiak.

The band welcomed Night Ranger mid-set for “Sweet Home Alabama” and Dee Snider for an explosive triple-shot “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “I Wanna Rock,” and “Highway to Hell” complete with horns-up instructions from the Twisted Sister frontman. And, as if that wasn’t enough to knock you off your feet, in a “Nothin’ But a Good Time” conclusion, special guests who included members of Cold Sweat, Y&T, Night Ranger, Vixen, and Faster Pussycat brought the house down!

It was the climax of all climaxes and as we wound down after the show, friends, family and a small list of VIPs joined Poison’s keyboard player Will Doughty and Bret’s keyboardist Rob Jozwiak for a surreal piano sing-along that included some favorites from Van Halen, Poison, and more with a little help from the band and members of Faster Pussycat and Fan Halen on vocals. What a way to celebrate 15 years M3 Rock Festival! We miss you already!

Coverage from DAY 1 and the pre-party can be found here!

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Watch for continued coverage of local shows and regional shows with Faster Pussycat, Judas Priest and Sabaton, Queensryche and Armored Saint, Aldo Nova, and more.  Follow for more from the M3 Rock Festival as it unfolds.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 5/11/2024.  All event photos by photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.