So Here We Go Again, attending our favourite Festival of a busy Rock Calendar, and 5th Year in a Row, the truly Wonderful RAMBLIN MAN FAIR, held at Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent.
Over the years RAMBLIN MAN has traditionally been a two day festival with an extra Friday evening thrown in to boot, featuring some truly amazing Rock, Blues, Prog & Outlaw Country from around the globe, and not forgetting the Rising Stage that has featured some great up & coming bands, such as Stone Broken, who are now touring in their own right. This Year the organisers have pulled out all the stops, with 3 strong headliners over the weekend on the Main Stage, with some brilliant established support acts and some personal gems for me on some of the smaller stages.
So, with the good old British Summer Weather a bit mixed we got geared up for 3 seasons in a day & headed over to the Main Stage, with Australian Party Rock Band THE LAZYS opening the whole weekend with their own style of Party Rock anthems. It’s never an easy task to open such a prestigious festival as RAMBLIN MAN FAIR, but with set opener ‘Howling Woman’ these Aussies remind Me of an early AIRBOURNE and fellow compatriots MASSIVE. With ‘Picture This’ and ‘Little Miss Crazy’ the band offer up strong vocals, big guitars & a thumping rhythm section that gets the ever-growing crowd moving. We are treated in quick succession to in your face rockers such as ’All Fired Up’, ‘Louder Than Youth ‘ and set closer ‘Can’t Kill the Truth’ that sets the FAIR up for a fun filled evening.
One thing we love about RAMBLIN MAN is promoting from within, as only a couple of years ago THE KRIS BARRAS BAND were playing the Rising Stage, last year a great set on The Blues Stage and this year a deserved slot on the Main Stage, this band just go from strength to strength. The opening salvo of ‘Rock and Roll Running Through My Veins’ and ‘Kick Me Down’ show the band are a more polished affair with two backing vocalists adding to the mix.
KRIS BARRAS offers up tracks from his new album together with anthems such as my favourite the tune, the awesome ‘Lovers & Losers’ which in my eyes should have been a big hit, and the outstanding ‘Hail Mary’ wind this excellent set up. This band are going to huge and the day just keeps on getting better and better.
I’ve followed FM for the past 30+ years, and in my honest opinion they have released some truly great AOR albums such as ‘TOUGH IT OUT’ and ‘INDISCREET’ together with seeing them play live numerous times, this band has always delivered. They are just consummate professionals and make it look easy on stage, kicking off their set off with ‘Black Magic’ before one of my all time Favourite AOR tunes is aired, the 80s dance floor filler ‘Bad Luck’.
Steve Overland’s voice is as good as it was back in the day, and he absolutely nails fan favourite’s such as ‘That Girl’, the mesmerising ‘I Belong To The Night’ and the brilliant ‘Tough It Out’ before Killed by Love’ brings this short but great set to a close.
THE WILDHEARTS are a band who always seem to draw a crowd & have a very faithful following, and although not my personal cup of tea they delivered a high octane set today featuring their classic line-up. The opening trio of ‘Dislocated’, the powerful ‘Everlone’ and the catchy ‘Vanilla Radio’ get the damp but interactive crowd going. The band deliver all the hits from their back catalogue, with ‘Sucker punch’ and standout tune for me, the radio friendly ‘Caffeine Bomb’
Even the rain doesn’t dampen proceedings, with the frantic ‘Sick of Drugs’ and ‘Jackson Whites’ lapped up by the crowd, before the anthem, ‘I Wanna Go Where the People Go’ closes this energetic 100 miles an hour set.
So onto the main event for the Friday night, headliners THE DARKNESS truly set Moat Park on fire, as Pippa’s pictures confirmed, with their glamtastic, pyro filled extravaganza from a band that in past 16 or so has years just never grown old, and that features great musicians and a front man, in Justin Hawking’s, who can sing , dance, throw a pose & is also a comedian on stage too.
It truly was a greatest hit set tonight, from opener ‘Black Shuck’, which got the crowd singing & dancing, the brilliant ‘Barbarian’, to the wonderful ‘Love Is only a Feeling’. At one-point Justin Hawking’s rode on a crew member’s shoulders through the crowd soloing his guitar & not missing a beat, what a showman this guy is…
It’s just tune after tune of great melodic glam rock music, with the brilliant ‘Open Fire’ and ‘One Way Ticket’ to the mesmerising ‘Roaring Waters’ and the bands biggest hit, set closer and fan favourite ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’ sends this appreciative crowd wild.