The third and final day of the M3 Rock Festival kicked off with Little Ceasar. I can still remember the cassette I wore out playing their version of the soul classic “Chain of Fools.” Needless to say that was my favorite song of their set, but it was just one of several highlights.
First time catching this band live, and hoping that they’ll reschedule some of those cancelled shows so that we can catch them again closer to home…Little Caesar features lead vocalist Ron Young, guitarists Loren Molinare and Mark Tremalgia (Bang Tango), bassist Pharaoh Barrett (The Four Horsemen), and drummer Tom Morris. They’ve added several more albums to the fold since that debut and a few new members, but they still offer that unique soulful sound that first caught our attention.
Pretty Boy Floyd fronted by the outspoken Steve Summers along with current bandmates Diego Ibarra and Eric Griffin (Murderdolls, Wednesday 13) and substitute drummer Nicholas Mason who tells us he was just filling in for Vik Foxx. Nick is known as the “Living Dead Drummer” and can be found playing with Michael Grant & The Assassins as he took the roll after the Bulletboys‘ drummer Jimmy D’Anda filled in with Grant on the Monsters of Rock Cruise back in 2019.
It may have been the Rock Never Stops tour the last time we heard “Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz” live and the glam may have gotten a bit darker, but this band is still so much fun to watch.
Faster Pussycat hit the stage with an introduction from Eddie Trunk that led us to believe that this band does nothing but party, but by the looks of frontman Tamie Downe, it looks like health has become a bigger priority than before. The band featured newest member Sam Bam Kolton from Budderside and Xristian Simon on guitar, Chad Stewart on drums and Danny Nordahl on bass.
Great set list that included the band’s new single “Nola,” which was inspired by the fabulous city of New Orleans, a city that frontman Taime Downe holds dear to his heart. We just loved how they finished off the set with the Betty Blowtorch cover “Shut up and F*ck” and their equally raunchy “Babylon,” hopefully there weren’t too many kiddos in the crowd.
In smooth transition, Steve Riley’s version of L.A .Guns featuring the drummer and classic line-up bandmate Kelly Nichols (formerly of Faster Pussycat) on bass with Kurt Frohlich fronting the band and Scott Griffin on guitar.
The band’s backdrop sported their new logo as they will legally be known as Riley’s L.A. Guns moving forward, but still performed classics like “Sex Action” and “Never Enough” along with new material like “Lost Boys” from their debut album on Australia’s Golden Robot Records.
Catching Lita Ford for the second time in two weeks was such a pleasure, but I couldn’t get “Playin’ With Fire” out of my head for days! This “Cherry Bomb” rocked the place and it was such a pleasure to catch up with her briefly before the show. She was so excited to meet her fans, and quite honestly it felt like Live United Live was the warm up and this was the true show as she brought out the leather and had a few more shows under her belt this time.
One thing we noticed during Lita’s set however was the crowd movement. With VIP meet ‘n greets happening throughout the day, it meant that those with the best seats in the house had to give them up if they wanted to meet the other artists. A difficult dilemma for fans, and in this case sad for the artists as we watched the middle of the front row open up early in Lita’s set, likely for a Warrant or Night Ranger photo opportunity. Given all the concerns over whether or not it would even be possible to meet the artists, I do give the venue props for making it possible. Some requested barricades, while others shook hands, but everyone was accessible and fans got what they paid for.
Another band where the casually fan may not know what to expect is Mark Kendall’s version of Great White. These guys returned to M3 with new frontman Mitch Malloy in check, offering some balance after catching Jack Russell’s Great White this past month at Live United Live. As with the two versions of L.A. Guns, both have their high and low lights. So awesome to hear all the favorites and see these guys smiling from ear to ear throughout the set.
The playlist included favorites like “Lady Red Light” and “Rock Me” as well as covers that put this band on the map like “Can’t Shake It” (The Angels) and of course “Once Bitten Twice Shy” (Ian Hunter). While the band released a CD/DVD simply entitled Live this past year, we are still anxiously awaiting a new album so that we can hear how Mitch makes his mark on the band like Terry Ilous did with the studio album Full Circle.
Warrant is another band we recently caught at Live United Live and plan to catch again locally at Jergel’s on July 25th. They are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their Cherry Pie album a bit late due to Covid, but what really caught our attention were the bonus cuts “D.R.F.S.R” and “Down Boys,” and the surprise visit from cover boy and “Big Talk” video star Cashly Guido Bucksley who showered the crowd with play dollar bills.
Founding members Erik Turner, Joey Allen and Steven Sweet were joined by frontman Robert Mason and Robbie Crane who is still filling in for bassist Jerry Dixon.
Night Ranger a band that influenced many of the band’s who’d performed earlier during the festival quickly reminded us how they earned that headlining slot and made it very clear that “(You Can Still) Rock In America” as vocalists Jack Blade and Kelly Keagy traded off frontman duties.
The set list included “The Secret of My Success” from the classic Michael J. Fox comedy of the same name, a couple Damn Yankees classics “Coming of Age” and “High Enough” and favorites like “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sister Christian.”
While they clearly have earned the classic rock title, fans can expect a new album next month entitled ATBPO, and we are certainly excited to hear more from Night Ranger. Couldn’t think of a better way to close out the evening and apparently neither did the rest of the crowd as everyone came to their seats and their feet for that matter before saying their farewells.
If you haven’t already checked out day 1 and day 2 of the M3 Rock Festival coverage, follow the links above, and be sure to check back for more from Faster Pussycat, Enuff ‘Z Nuff, Warrant, The Dead Daisies and more festival coverage from Grand Rocktember.