So, onto our final day of this truly great festival, and with the sunshine out, we head back to Mote Park, and straight into the action.
We head over to the Blues Stage to catch a couple of tracks by opening band SWEET CRISIS, a band that I hadn’t heard of before but was suitably impressed by on first listen. The band offered great vocals, top notch guitars and a great rhythm section, these are ones to look out for in the future.
So, with out time to spare we skip back over to the Main Stage in readiness for the opening band of the day, AUSTIN GOLD, again a band that I had not heard of before. They kick off their set with ‘Brand New Low’ and its clear from the off the band offers great vocals/guitars in David James Smith with a strong blues influences Hard Rock tone.
The band offer up tracks such as ‘Roadside’, ‘Caught on You’ and Before Dark Clouds’, that the small but ever-growing crowd seem to appreciate. With ‘Another Kinda Bad’ Smith comes into his own, as this is a great standout track of the set for me, before ‘We are Lightning’ and ‘See The Light’ brings this enjoyable set to a close
Its now a dash for us both over to the Rising Stage to catch PISTON, who are band that in my eyes are going to huge in the next 12-18 months, having just reviewed their excellent debut album, which is set for release in September.
The band fly through a blistering set, delivering some powerful Hard Rock Anthems, which includes the excellent ‘Rainmaker’ with vocalist Rob Angelico sounding like a hybrid of Corey Taylor from SONE SOUR and Ron Young from 80s Hard Rockers LITTLE CAESAR. Up next is my favourite track from the forthcoming album, the brilliant anthem ‘One More Day’ which Guitarists Luke Allatt and Jack Edwards absolutely nail. ‘Blow It Away’ again shows what a powerful vocalist Rob Angelico is, before the excellent ‘Go Now’ is driven through by the trusted rhythm section of bassist Stuart Egan and drummer Brad Newlands.
On the anger driven lyrics of ‘Leave If You Dare’ Rob Angelico displays why this band is going to be the Next Big Thing, with amazingly powerful vocals he commands the small Rising Stage. This short but sweet set is brought to a close with a great cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic ‘Proud Mary’, that gets a great reception from this appreciative crowd. PISTON are going to be huge ……….
Now begins stage Ping-Pong as Pippa & Myself try to cram in as many bands as we can before the weekend ends. So, its back up the hill to the VIP Stage to catch AOR Cult Goddess, JAMIE KYLE, who I haven’t seen play live since the GODS OF AOR Festival in Manchester back in 1993. Today the Nashville based singer-songwriter has a more Country edge to her music, but thankfully doesn’t forget some of those brilliant AOR tunes from her debut release back in 1992.
She opens her wonderful set with ‘Bed Of Roses’ from her debut album, before a couple of her songs that Faith Hill had hits with in, ‘Cry’ and ‘Wild One’. We are then treated to the title track from her 2nd album ‘Back from Hollywood’ before she ends her set with ‘Stranded’ made famous by HEART.
Back to The Main Stage for funk infused Rockers LIVING COLOUR, a band I hadn’t seen live for over 25 years, who features great guitar player Vernon Reid, quality bassist Doug Wimbush and amazing frontman Corey Clover.
Kicking off their set with the Robert Johnson cover ‘Preachin Blues’, before the band race through ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ and ‘Desperate People’, from Vivid before the crowd is treated to the great tune ‘Middle Man’. What you had on offer today what musicianship of the highest order, with ‘Elvis is Dead/Hound Dog’ leading us nicely to ‘Type’ from the underrated ‘Times Up’ album.
Next track, the brilliant ‘Cult Of Personality’ really gets the crowd going, before final track ‘Times Up’ featuring a snippet of The James Brown classic ‘Sex Machine’ brings the set to a close.
had already left the main stage to ensure I got to the Rising Stage in time to watch another brilliant New Band, the five-piece from Wolverhampton, Melodic Rockers GIN ANNIE. Their debut album ‘100%’ is an absolute belting record and I was really looking forward to seeing GIN ANNIE live for the first time. They smashed through their high octane set with as much vim & vigour as I’ve seen all weekend, and in David Foster have a sublime frontman, who commands the stage & delivers a brilliant vocal performance.
Kicking off with the awesome and very catchy ‘New Bad Habit’ featuring stellar vocals and great guitar work from Byron Garbett and Brian Green, gets the Rising Stage crowd rocking and making this the must place to be.
Up next is the powerful rocker ‘Fallin’ featuring the cracking Rhythm section of Phill ‘The Hammer’ Burrows on bass and Jack Ryland-Smith on drums, with its great hooks & chorus, which is swiftly followed by another great tune in ‘Dyin to Live Again’ which David Foster absolutely nails.
The immense ‘Chains’ follows, with its BLACK STONE CHERRY esque intro and great harmonies is lapped up by the large crowd that’s gathered, before my favourite tune of GIN ANNIE’s is aired, the truly phenomenal ‘Love Aint Here’ which for me is a sure fire hit in the making.
This leads us to set closer, and the aptly titled, ‘Born to Rock n Roll’ that rocks the Rising Stage to the ground. Simply put, GIN ANNIE blew the roof off RAMBLIN MAN today and for me deserve a slot on the main stage next year.
With me staying to watch the full set from GIN ANNIE, Pippa had gone back up to the Main Stage to watch INGLORIOUS, who are another band over the years who have worked up the bill at RAMBLIN MAN FAIR. Led by larger than life frontman Nathan James, who has a voice like the God of Hell Fire and looks the spit double of our Editor in Chief David Wilson.
With some new members in tow since the last time they played here, the band blast straight into ‘Where are you Now?’, which is swiftly followed by ‘Taking the Blame’ and ‘High Flying Gypsy’ and as anyone he who know the band, Nathan James can sing a bit.
On Tracks like ‘Warning’ and Breakaway’, The band sound so much like early WHITESNAKE and RAINBOW, which is no bad thing in my book. Title track from their previous effort ‘Ride to Nowhere’ is up next, before we are treated to ‘I Don’t Need Your Loving’ and the excellent ‘Holy Water’ before ‘Until I Die’ finishes this powerful set off.
It was time for a quick break before we headed back into the VIP TENT to watch BLACK WATER CONSPIRACY, who should have played on the Saturday, but a power cut in the VIP area scuppered that one. Led by the enigmatic Phil Conalane, the band whip through a wonderful acoustic set that kicks off with ‘Decadent Highway’ and the catchy ‘Monday Club’ before the excellent ‘In another Lifetime’.
Phil Conalane has assembled a quality group of musicians and their short set goes down very well with the VIP crowd. The sublime ‘Jealous Again’ and memorable ‘Shoot the Breeze’ brings up to final track ‘Hanging Tree’, which makes for a thoroughly enjoyable set.
A quick hop back over to the Main Stage to catch ex BLACK CROWES frontman band the CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD, who are touring in support of their sixth studio album ‘Servants of The Sun’.
Robinson together with Lead Guitarist, Neil Casal, lead the Brotherhood through a laidback set, that feature 5 songs from their new album today. Opener ‘Coming Round the Mountain’ features a great solo from Casal. ‘Venus in Chrome’ and ‘A Smiling Epitaph’ lead us to the catchy ‘New Cannonball Rag’. Robinson seems very static on stage, and nothing like when was in the BLACK CROWES, and its Casal and Jeff Hill on bass who do all the moving about on tracks like ‘Rosalee’ and ‘The Chauffeurs Daughter’ highlight the great guitar work of Neil Casal. With ‘Let It Fall’ and ‘Behold the Seer’ bringing this low key set to a close.
We decided to stay at the Main Stage for the final two bands as we didn’t want to miss any of their sets, and first up, the Australian mad as a box of frogs Rockers AIRBOURNE.
This is a band that I loved since their debut album and over the years I’ve never seen them do a bad set, as They blast onto the stage at 100 miles an hour with ‘Ready To Rock’ with main man Joel O’Keeffe jumping around like a scalded cat.
Personal favourite, the anthem ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ is up next and the crowd go wild, with my Mate Neil seen moshing down the front like an 18-year-old, brilliant stuff. The pace is relentless, with a frantic ‘Boneshaker’ and the excellent ‘Girls in Black’ showcasing the three guitarists head banging in rhythm.
Its just track after track of beer throwing, Jack Daniels drinking fun, with ‘Heartbreaker’, and super catchy ‘Breakin Outta Hell’, as the crowd just laps it up, with ‘Stand Up for Rock N Roll’ bringing the set to an abrupt close.
AIRBOURNE aren’t done yet though and return to the stage to rip through 3 encores, with the first being the raucous ‘Live It Up’, before a bonkers ‘Raise the Flag’ and AIRBOURNE anthem ‘Running Wild’. That’s the best live performance I’ve seen from AIRBOURNE, which made them one of the bands of weekend for me, it was just a truly awesome set from one of the best live bands on the circuit.
So, onto the final band of what’s been another amazing long weekend here at Mote Park in Kent, FOREIGNER, are one of my all-time favourite bands over the years, having first seen then live back in 1985. Although only Mick Jones is the sole surviving member from the original line-up, it doesn’t detract from their live performance whatsoever.
In vocalist Kelly Hansen and Bassist/vocalist Jeff Pilson you have two consummate professionals who are at the top of their game, together with guitarist Bruce Watson & multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel you have a fantastic live band.
The band breeze onto stage and go straight into a 11 track greatest hits set, with the classic ‘Double Vision’ setting the pace on this wonderful headline set. Kelley Hansen nails next track ‘Head Games’ with a brilliant vocal performance, this man just doesn’t age, and I can’t believe it nearly 30 years since I first saw him play live with his previous band HURRICANE.
The chilling ‘Cold as Ice’ with its great keyboard intro, leads us to worldwide mega hit from the mid-80s, the amazing ballad ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You’, this song just doesn’t grow old, what a tune. The crunching Rocker ‘Dirty White Boy’ with its catchy chorus and sublime backing vocals from the brilliant Jeff Pilson from DOKKEN fame goes down well with this packed Crowd.
The band pause and do introductions, before the biggest cheer of the night goes to 74-year-old, and band leader, Mick Jones, who ambles onto the stage & cranks up the chords to ‘Feels Like the First Time’. Next up is my personal favourite, the rock dance floor filler, the awesome ‘Urgent’ with its outstanding vocals from Kelley Hansen and beautiful saxophone solo from Thom Gimbel, which makes this the highlight of the whole weekend for me.
We then have a lull with the Keyboard and Drum Solo’s before ‘Juke Box Hero’ brings this short set to a close. The crowd want more, and FOREIGNER return to the stage to finish with encores, and US number 1 mega hit ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’ and crowd favourite ‘Hot Blooded’.
FOREIGNER were outstanding tonight and in my honest opinion the band of the festival, which made a fitting end to another amazing weekend at our favourite festival, RAMBLIN MAN FAIR, here’s to 2020……