M3 Rock Festival – Day 2 – May 7, 2022

With the Extreme camp down for the count, our friend’s from Enuff Z’Nuff joined the party on the second day of the M3 Rock Festival.  Despite the rain and fatigue from the afterparty, we were all smiles when they hit the stage in a sea of purple and red that would have mad the Red Hat ladies proud.

Fronted by the larger than life Chip Z’Nuff on lead vocals and bass with Tory Stoffergen and Tony Fennell on guitar and Daniel B. Hill on drums.  The quartet delivered some Beatles’ classics like “Jet” and “Magical Mystery Tour” from their Hardrock Nite release as well as some of our favorite Enuff ‘Z Nuff smash hits like “Fly High Michelle” and “The New Thing,” it was a welcome addition to the day.

And for anyone who missed them, the band returned on Sunday (after a quick exit for a gig in NJ that evening) to support Chip as he took the M3 stage once again as a Quireboy. Read on to get the scoop on the other Enuff ‘Z Nuff alum who stepped in to perform at the last minute…

Overshadowed by the beautiful backdrop of their new 3 CD anthology release Psalms for Eternity, Lillian Axe opened their set with two favorites “Misery Loves Company” and “All’s Fair in Love and War.”

Like many, we also caught the current line-up this past February on Monsters of Rock Cruise.  The band is Brent Graham on lead vocals, Steve Blaze and Sam Poitevent on guitar, Michael “Maxx” Darby on bass and Wayne Stokely on drums.

While it appeared that sound issues left a few frowns of frustration on the always-smiling Steve Blaze’s face, the band quickly hit their stride and had us all smiling with favorites like “True Believer” and their finale of “Show a Little Love.”

Vain is one of those bands that you rarely catch live, but when you do, it takes you back to thirty-some years ago when their debut album No Respect was released. Like the Boston Vain Army members pictured below, I’d really love to see these guys headline a show instead of being limited to a short festival set.  Fans were anticipating such an experience at Wolf Fest the weekend after M3 Rock Festival but sadly Covid had other plans for the band.

Davy Vain is one of those vocalists who still has it, and with most of the original band intact, it is not surprising that we feel like we are listening to the album when they play live.  Davy was joined by Dylana Nova Scott and Joel Proto on guitars, Ashley Mitchell on bass, and Tommy Rickard on drums. Their set focused heavily on that initial No Respect album with favorites like “Secrets,” “Icy,” “Beat the Bullet,” and of course the title track.

A few exceptions were “Push Me Over” from Davy Vain’s 2000 release In From Out of Nowhere, as well as “Greener” from the 2011 Enough Rope and “Breakdown” from the classic Move on It.

Davy told us that he tried to use the microphone stand as a prop as he’d done many years ago for this show, because he was nursing a running injury. But it just wasn’t working for him, so he resorted running shoeless as usual and just tried to be cautious. Ironically, Ash was the one got hurt as his calf muscle snapped during their set, actually taking his footing away and later leaving him unable to visit the army in the audience.  We heard that Dylana was showcasing a new amp from 3rd Power Amplification, which she founded in 2009, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.

Heaven’s Edge is a band that I didn’t truly discover until later in their careers despite their Pennsylvania origins.  After all, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia feel like worlds away. I knew of them but never really dug in until I caught them live on my first Monsters of Rock Cruise.

The band is Mark Evans on vocals, Reggie Wu and Steve Parry on guitar, Dave Rath on drums and Jaron Gulino (Tantric) on bass.  And while I last saw them perform at Monster’s on the Mountain, it is another cruise performance that I remember best.  That is because they offered up one of the best star lounge shows we’d ever seen, dressed in costume in a room complete with lounge chairs and beach balls!

The weather didn’t open opportunity for lifeguard shirts and scuba masks at M3, but their set was just as full of energy as they literally kicked things off with “Rock Steady” and kept the momentum with other favorites like “Skin to Skin” and “Daddy’s Little Girl.”

They also treated fans to a performance with surprise guest Ted Poley (Danger Danger, Tokyo Motor Fist), who is determined to hold the record for performing with the most bands at M3.

Wasn’t really sure what to expect from Tony Harnell as I’ve seen him perform with TNT at the Hair Metal Heaven Festival in the United Kingdom, and solo on the Monsters of Rock Cruise.  But, he brought a full band featuring Luis Espaillat on bass, Dan Douchette on drums and Gaurav Bali on guitar for this M3 performance.

When we met Luis later in the day, he noted that we can also find him out with the Tom Keifer band this summer as he will be filling in for Billy Mercer on bass duties.  My knowledge of Tony’s catalog doesn’t go far beyond “10,000 Lovers (In One)” in all honesty, but what a voice! I found it hilarious that once again, I was hanging out with Vain as Tony performed. This time we didn’t end up at a cancelled Michael Monroe show after, instead we enjoyed a much needed dinner break before catching Stephen Pearcy.

Stephen Pearcy had just performed in Pittsburgh back in February with his solo band, but we’d heard earlier in the week that they were dealing with Covid challenges and a new line-up was necessary to make the festival date work.  The biggest surprise was the addition of former Enuff ‘Z Nuff guitarist Johnny Monaco who told us that he had just one day to prepare (and still kicked @ss!).  Juaquin Revuelta was another new face on drums.  They were joined by Erik Ferentinos and Jerry Montano on bass. We wish the rest of the band a speedy recovery!

Pearcy himself was taking safety precautious but still greeted VIP fans that day. His set was focused on all of our Ratt band favorites with “Wanted Man” early in the set and “Way Cool Jr.” and “Round and Round,” popping up later.  The crowd was plentiful and didn’t seem to mind (or even notice) the line up change and online viewers who were in the know, were cheering on the fill-ins with enthusiasm.

I honestly don’t remember if I’ve seen Blue Oyster Cult live before. I know it’s crazy, but when you are going to concerts every other day sometimes, it can be hard to remember who you saw last month.  I think I might have seen them perform at a rib festival at Pittsburgh’s old Three Rivers Stadium in the 1990s, but that was another lifetime.

The band is Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma on vocals and guitar, Danny Miranda on bass, Richie Castellano on keyboards and guitar, and Jules Radino on drums.  And we all knew the big hits like “Burnin’ for You,” “Godzilla” and of course  “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”  Much respect to these guys who delivered a stelar performance with hats and scarves on as we all coped with the dipping temperatures.

Tom Keifer Band was the final act of the night, and perhaps the most anticipated. With Extreme off the bill, there were gaps between bands, and it was a ‘long cold’ wait until the ensemble took the stage (unprecedented at M3 with their quick change rotating stage and amble staging areas that allow the hard working road crews to assemble drums and string guitars well in advance of their band’s performances).  But many had been waiting for a Tom Keifer performance for much longer as the band had vanished from the bill on the Monsters of Rock cruise this past February.

The band remained intact with Tom Keifer on lead vocals and guitar, his wife Savannah Keifer joining him on keyboards and handling background vocals along with Kendra Chantelle, Tony Higbee on lead guitar, Billy Mercer on bass, Jarred Pope on drums, and Kory Myers on keyboards.

They kicked things off with “Touching the Divine” and later included the title track from the Keifer band album Rise. But of course we heard plenty of Cinderella band favorites from “Night Songs” to “Gypsy Road” and pretty much every classic we’d expect to hear in between.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is one artist that always gives 110% and this was no exception.  You could see his breath in the air as temperatures dipped to the low 40s (if not lower), making “Long Cold Winter” ever so appropriate, but we were too busy dancing to favorites like “Shake Me” to care.  Well worth the wait and the perfect way to end day two! Or, so we thought…because those who headed to the afterparty were treated to a few XYZ songs in anticipation of the band’s performance at the festival on day three.

If you haven’t already, check out our Day one coverage, and read on for Day three coverage from M3 Rock Festival!

For more Pure Rock coverage, check out day one from M3 Rock Festival.  Also be sure to check out new interviews from Chip Z’ Nuff (Enuff Z’ Nuff) and Adrian Vandenberg (Vandenberg) with Monsters of Rock Cruise recaps, as well as interviews with Chris Caffery (Spirits of Fire, Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra)Roy Cathey (Cold Sweat, The Fifth), Pete Evick (Bret Michaels Band)and a video interview with Olli Herman from (Reckless Love).

Follow us @ThePureRockShop on Facebook and Instagram for more local show coverage including Steel Panther and Jeff Scott Soto and Jason Bieler in Cleveland, as well as festival coverage including the recent Monsters of Rock Cruise and upcoming Masquerade in Philadelphia this July.

Check out our recent coverage of Foreigner and Skid Row in Las Vegas!