M3 Rock Festival – Red White and Blushing on Day 2 – July 3, 2021 – Columbia, MD

I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day than to head to the photo pit and see the smiling faces of my friend’s from Enuff Z’ Nuff. They drew in the crowd with a Beatles’ classic “Magical Mystery Tour” before jumping into favorites like the sexy “In the Groove” and the hits like “Fly High Michelle” and “The New Thing.”

The line-up featured Chip Z’ Nuff on bass and lead vocals, Tory Stoffregen and Tony Fennell on guitar and Dan Hill on drums.  Even better, they finally hit the road with Faster Pussycat this summer for a Straight Back to Quarantine tour and gave us a bonus show the following Wednesday at Jergel’s in Warrendale, PA.

But the day wasn’t all perfect, these guys left M3 quickly to arrive in time for a gig in Irving, NY, but the bus simply couldn’t make the drive. Sad for fans in New York, but there are certainly worse places to get stranded when you have a hotel full of friends and fans awaiting in Maryland…

I know I’ve mentioned this before, because it was the first rock show I ever saw.  I last saw Hurricane on tour with Stryper when I was still a kid.  While I’ve been keeping up with former frontman Kelly Hansen in Foreigner and Doug Aldrich in various projects like The Dead Daisies which we caught just days after this show… I haven’t had the opportunity to see Robert Sarzo or Tony Cavazo live in recent years until now.

Call me impressed! These guys have Daniel Schumann from the Tenors of Rock in Las Vegas fronting the band and Michael Hansen on drums.  They took me back with favorites like “I’m On to You” and of course “Hurricane,” and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

With great anticipation, we awaited the all original Bulletboys having been teased by their contemporary debut on the Monsters of Rock Cruise last February and then stalled by pandemic tour cancellations, we finally got to catch these guys live again, in person, and on dry land.

With Jimmy D’Anda’s red, white, and blushing entrance and Lonnie Vencent’s eruption of energy, we knew we were in for a treat…add Mick Sweda on guitar and Marq Torien at the mic, and out pour favorite after favorite just as we remember them, finally! With ‘this version of this band’ and ‘that version of that band’ becoming a trend as the years go on and personalities clash, it was so cool to see this fab four together again!

Wouldn’t even know where to start with highlights “For the Love of Money” (O’Jays cover) always tops my list, along with the cool drum groove of “Hang On St. Christopher” and then of course, the crowd pleaser “Smooth Up In Ya.”

Steelheart kicked off their set with a favorite from the Rockstar movie “Blood Polution” where frontman Miljenko Matijevic traded off vocal duties with Jeff Scott Soto to bring us a killer soundtrack from a fictitious band.

Ironically, Steelheart had opened for the Bulletboys (and Great White) the first time I caught them live, and I continue to be impressed by those pipes. As anticipated, they also  revisited songs from the early years like “I’ll Never Let You Go” and “Everybody Loves Eileen.”

Quite honestly I’d been waiting for this since I caught this line-up of Steven Adler’s band at M3 in 2019. Vowing never to miss them, I was so disappointed that they made it back to Pittsburgh while we were already here covering the festival in Baltimore.

Ari Kamin continues to kill it on lead vocals and bassist Tanya O’Callaghan is almost as fun to watch as the legendary Billy Sheehan (no joke).  This band is spot on, and Adler fronts the band from behind the kit with a grin from ear to ear.

If you love Guns N Roses, and Appetite for Destruction tops your list of favorite albums (you are probably on the wrong website if you don’t), or even if you live under a rock and only know “You Could be Mine” because you loved the Terminator movies, check this band out, you won’t be disappointed! Oh, and as a bonus on the 4th of July this Argentinian offered an epic delivery of our national anthem the next day…

Another band with all original members that has always delivered is Winger. This night was no exception.  We just saw these guys headline Live United Live a few weeks prior to M3 and had the rare treat of seeing Reb Beach join Kip Winger’s acoustic performance in Pittsburgh that same week, so I guess you can say the third time is a charm?!

Does anyone else find themselves smiling when they hear the keyboards on “Miles Away” or a riff like “Seventeen” or the bass line of “Can’t Get Enough”? What a band!

But wait! There’s more! I think we all remember the metal anthem “Balls to the Wall,” but have you ever seen Accept live? This band dates back to the year I was born and lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann keeps it going while vocalist Udo Dirkschneider has toured under his own name and New Jersey born Mark Tornillo has been fronting the band for over a decade.

This band commanded an audience and it was killer to see the familiar face of guitarist Phil Shouse (Thee Rock N’ Roll Residency) along side Wolf.

In almost perfect transition as the evening moved on from more progressive rock elements with Winger to full on metal with Accept, Queensryche took the stage next mixing metal with prog in perfect harmony.

A line-up change quickly caught our attention as former member Mike Stone filled a slot left open by Parker Lundgren. Parker officially departed the day prior to pursue his own guitar business venture.

Parker’s grin was missed, but Mike took the rains with enthusiasm along side founders Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson. And while not photographed here you can still find Kamelot’s Casey Grillo behind the kit with the absence of Scott Rockenfield.  This band always tops my list, while they may lack the flash or flamboyance of some of the earlier bands, their songwriting is intelligent, and the music is mesmerizing with Todd LaTorre’s vocals literally delivering chills on classics like “The Needle Lies” and “Take Hold of the Flame.”

More to come with a third day of coverage at the M3 Rockfest.  Be sure to check out our day 1 coverage here from the KIX-off, and follow us @ThePureRockShop for more local shows and festival coverage including Grand Rocktember in Minnesota, and BLE’s Masquerade in downtown Baltimore Maryland over Halloween weekend.