2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 Concert Review

2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 Concert Review

Doro: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Just outside Baltimore, MD, ‘80s melodic rock fans from all over the world congregate for the M3 Rock Festival—a weekend full of live music that doubles as an annual reunion of chosen family. As in many years past, this year’s festival was accompanied by lots of wind, rainfall, and chilly weather—but alas, that did not stop the rock!

I made it to the Merriweather Post Pavilion just as Fan Halen began their set in the early afternoon. Like the real thing, the group hails from Southern California and brings what they call “The World’s Most Authentic Tribute to Van Halen” – in full costume and a wall of sound. Fan Halen creates a high-energy show, performing hit after hit with the musical prowess necessary to do justice to a band like Van Halen. Each member emanates the distinct style and stage moves of the “character” they are playing. For an ‘80s rock festival like this, Fan Halen brought a great show to wake up the crowd for the day.

As 1:30 PM rolled around, it was time for the first original old-school rock n’ roll band of the day, and who better to kick things off than Baltimore’s own Child’s Play? Since their reforming in the past couple of years, the group has been performing around the area, kicking ass and taking names show after show. They began their set, giving 110% right out of the gate, performing songs from both albums. The band’s vocalist, John Allen, hopped behind the drums for L.H. Blues after welcoming original vocalist Larry Hinshaw to sing lead on the tune. The two then took center stage, performing duet-style vocals on Wind from the debut album. Despite having a 30-minute early afternoon set, Child’s Play put on one of the day’s best performances.

Josh Allen of Child's Play

Josh Allen of Child’s Play: Photo By Shannon Wilk © 2024

Next up for the day was one of rock’s underdogs, Aldo Nova. He and his band brought a jam element to the festival, performing only 6 songs over 35 minutes, each with extended solos. Not only does Aldo Nova himself bring an incredible musical talent to the stage, but his band is also beyond impressive both technically and performance-wise. The group performed half of the 1982 debut album and the title track from their 1991 album Blood on the Bricks. As the guitars and synths came in for Aldo Nova’s big hit, “Fantasy,” the crowd immediately got on their feet – closing the set on a high.

Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova: Photo By Shannon Wilk © 2024

The metal queen, Doro, returns to the M3 Rock Festival this year carrying the torch for women in heavy metal. Joining her as a special for this show is Trans Siberian Orchestra and Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery. Performing her usual set of tunes from her band Warlock, as well as a handful of songs from her solo discography, including her rendition of Judas Priest’s Breaking The Law and two songs from her 2023 studio album Conqueress – Forever Strong and Proud. Decked out in studded leather, Doro performs her old-school metal tunes with a big smile, bringing a contagious positive energy to the stage.

Read More: Complete List Of Doro Albums And Discography

Chris Caffrey

Chris Caffrey: Photo By Shannon Wilk © 2024

A legendary shredder was next to take the stage with his band, George Lynch with Lynch Mob. The lineup features Lynch, of course, backed by bassist Jaron Gulino and vocalist Gabriel Colon and drummer Steve Brown, brother of Dokken drummer Mick Brown, joining the group for this week’s run of shows. The band performed a 40 minute set showcasing some of the best tunes from Lynch Mob and Dokken. Bassist Jaron Gulino sports a new axe, a bass version of the ESP LTD GL Burnt Tiger George Lynch Signature Guitar. The audience seems thrilled to hear classic Dokken tunes exploding from the M3 stage, be it performed by Dokken or Lynch Mob – in this case.

Read More: George Lynch: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview

George Lynch

George Lynch: Photo By Shannon Wilk © 2024

One of the pioneers of the ‘80s melodic rock sound, Quiet Riot, performs their classic tunes with incredible energy. Bassist Rudy Sarzo has a stage presence that is truly one of a kind in the best way, and he locks in with drummer Johnny Kelly with ease. The set largely was centered around a group of tunes from 1983’s Metal Health record – a favorite of many M3 attendees. The band lives on honoring the original members who have passed away over the years, with Rudy Sarzo giving a speech dedicating Thunderbird to them. Frontman Jizzy Pearl just exudes sleazy rock n’ roll vibes, and his distinct raspy voice lends itself well to the QR hits. Guitarist Alex Grossi shreds every solo and grooves every riff like nobody’s business.

Read More: Alex Grossi Of Quiet Riot: 10 Albums That Changed My Life

Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Just before 7 PM rolls around, Last In Line takes the stage. This set would be one of the most controversial of the weekend, with tons of fans complaining online about frontman Andrew Freeman’s attitude toward the audience during the band’s show at the festival. Despite the supergroup bringing an incredible level of musical talent, both fans and artists alike were left with a bad taste in their mouths about the set and aimed to get a more positive environment to the festival.

The Ratt himself, Stephen Pearcy, took the stage at 8 PM. His band features a badass guitar duo, Johnny Monaco, Erik Ferentinos, and bassist Matt Thorne. Pearcy’s band has recently seen a new addition, with longtime Slaughter drummer Blas Elias joining the group, holding it down behind the kit. He has been out touring, playing Out Of The Cellar from cover to cover, celebrating the album’s 40th anniversary. Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy seemed to put on a fan-favorite set, with many saying he put on a better show than he has in years and performed better than any band on Saturday.

Queensryche is the headliner for the first night of the M3 Rock Festival this year. The group has been and is currently out on the road across North America, performing their self-titled EP and The Warning album. Once the audience saw the band were performing their early material, many patrons began leaving – as they were expecting to hear hit after hit from the band. Those who appreciate classic heavy metal and deep cuts, like myself, stayed for the full set and rocked out from Queen of the Reich through the encore, rounding out the night at 11 PM. Vocalist Todd LaTorre belts out insane highs effortlessly, doing justice to the band’s catalog. In addition to the EP and The Warning, Queensryche also performed Empire as their encore – a treat for those who stuck around.

More Photos of 2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 by Shannon Wilk

Todd LaTorre of Queensryche

Todd LaTorre | Queensryche: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Aldo Nova

Aldo Nova: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Dario Seixas of Aldo Nova

Dario Seixas | Aldo Nova: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Erik Ferentinos

Erik Ferentinos: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Ernie Berru of Fan Halen

Ernie Berru of Fan Halen: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Jason Heiser of Child's Play

Jason Heiser of Child’s Play: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

John Allen of Child's Play

John Allen of Child’s Play: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Bill Hudson of Doro

Bill Hudson of Doro: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Jaron Gulino of Lynch Mob

Jaron Gulino of Lynch Mob: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Stephen Pearcy

Stephen Pearcy: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

Mike Stone of Queensryche

Mike Stone of Queensryche: Photo by Shannon Wilk © 2024

2024 M3 Rock Festival Day 1 Concert Review article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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