Monday, July 13, 2015

Concert Review: M3 2015 Night One Featuring KIX

May 1, 2015 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than two months since the M3 Festival. M3 2015 was another year of absolute fun had by all. Once again I met Rob Rockitt in Maryland and we geared up for our annual M3 Festival of rock and roll. There was a lot of food, drink, and fun to be had in the days leading up to the show, but on May 1st it was all about the music. The opening night lineup featured KIX as the headliners and brought Quiet Riot, Dio Disciples, Trixter, and Dokken to the party. 

25 years since their debut album landed, Trixter still has it going on. The band has kept busy and even released a new album on June 9th, Human Era. It’s good to see that Trixter is still making new music and working hard. And while their M3 performance was short and sweet, Trixter managed to perform a new song, play a track from their last album, Tattoos and Misery, and pull out the obligatory classic hits. Trixter sounded terrific and the audience sing along for “One In A Million” and “Give It To Me Good” was in full effect, showing that Trixter still has their fare share of fans as well. It was a great way to kick off M3 2015. 

Dio Disciples
Dio Disciples are a band of rockers who have gathered together to keep the memory and the music of Ronnie James Dio alive. Some of rock’s greatest including Simon Wright, Vinny Appice, Tim “Ripper” Owens, and Oni Logan are in the lineup. Having never seen Dio live (a shame I will take to my grave), I knew this was the closest I was going to get. What I love most about this band is the fact that it takes two vocalists to match the late great Ronnie James Dio. Both Oni Logan and Tim Owens take vocal duties in this band, and neither of them disappointed. Dio Disciples was flat out excellent, performing all of the greatest Dio hits. I was extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to witness them in concert and do hope that they plan to take this show on an extended tour. They were sensational! 

Quiet Riot
When I heard that Jizzy Pearl was singing for Quiet Riot and that they would be performing at the M3 Festival, I was ecstatic! I love Jizzy Pearl. I was a huge fan of Love/Hate, and have followed Jizzy’s career through LA Guns, Ratt, solo material, and now Quiet Riot. He is definitely one of my favorite singers of the 80s era. Having the opportunity to see him front Quiet Riot was a delight. The band’s M3 performance was amazing showing that Quiet Riot is still a force to be reckoned with! Classic hits from the first two albums were performed and sounded as great today as they did in the early 80s. Jizzy Pearl fit in perfectly with the rest of the band and the end result was stunning. If this version of Quiet Riot were to come to a club near me, I’d have tickets in my hand immediately. 

I will be completely honest---I did not see one minute of Dokken’s performance. I heard most of it, but I was not in my seat for it. I have never been a huge Dokken fan. They have some songs that I like and I own a couple of their classic albums, but I’ve never been all in with them. And without George Lynch, they are almost not worth seeing. Don Dokken is a shell of his former self, and the songs don’t sound the same without Lynch playing the leads and solos. So, when Dokken came on stage, I took it as an opportunity to get some food, drink, and hang out with Rob Rockitt and a few other guys that he knew. And they didn’t bother to play my favorite Dokken song anyway (“Burning Like A Flame”), so I really didn’t miss much. 

What can I say about this band that hasn’t been said thousands of times already? Every year when they give their performance at M3 it is absolutely amazing. I am always left stunned at how talented this group is on stage. This year was no exception. And as an added bonus, Kix had some new music to perform. Having purchased and fallen in love with their new CD, I was extremely pleased with their decision to play new material. Five songs from Rock Your Face Off were pulled out live. And while my favorite of the disc, “Rolling In Honey,” was not given a live performance, the tracks they did play were superb.

Kix has been rocking the masses for over 30 years and still bring the talent every time they perform. The Maryland crowd loved seeing their hometown heroes and everyone showed positive response to the new material, even singing along to the songs. That pleased me, because I hope that it encourages the band to consider another new album in the future. And if a new album doesn’t happen right away, perhaps it will encourage them to continue to include the new material in their setlist. 

The night was well rounded with familiar classics too. “Sex,” “Girl Money,” “The Itch,” “Cold Blood,” and “Blow My Fuse” were all performed. Each one of them sounded exceptional in their own right. Steve Whiteman still has amazing stage presence. Mixing in jokes and stories between the songs, setting the crowd up for the appropriate sing along, and dancing like a madman possessed on the stage, his energy is second to none. Bands with singers half his age would find it hard to keep up with his vitality and stamina.

When Kix closed out the night with “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” we were exhausted but satisfied. A grin filled my face. Kix had once again blown me away and already had me yearning for next year, when I can hopefully see them again. 2016 can’t come soon enough!

Kix Setlist
Wheels In Motion
Girl Money
No Ring Around Rosie
You’re Gone
The Itch
Midnight Dynamite
Mean Miss Adventure
Don’t Close Your Eyes
Get It While It’s Hot
Cold Blood
Love Me With Your Top Down
Blow My Fuse
Can’t Stop The Show
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

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