Words: Karen Hetherington
Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ Sophie Hextall – MindHex Media
Arriving for Ramblin’ Man day two, I reflected on how I have loved watching this festival grow in popularity each year whilst still retaining it’s friendly, relaxed atmosphere, I also love hearing positive feedback and I heard more than a few people pass comment on how much they were enjoying the festival and that it was the best they had ever been to – well organised, plenty of room to circulate, lots of variety, minimal queuing etc were just some of the noted remarks, worthy praise indeed I mused…I think they’ll be back.
First on my Sunday agenda was Salvation Jayne and what a crowd they pulled, and for the first band on the Rising Stage too! My first taste of this female lead rock band came last year when they played The Finsbury in London and they made an instant impression on me, I was therefore delighted to see them billed at Ramblin Man. They kicked off their set with “Cortez” which was released on single and getting frequent airplay on Planet Rock. The band blasted out an energy fueled half hour set which also featured their new single Jayne Doe which is set for release on 26th July.
Staying put at the Rising Stage, next up for me were Piston and I was more than a little excited to see this band for the first time in three years. They made an instant fan of me when they supported Dirty Thrills in Londons Big Red in 2016. Taking to the stage, the band thanked fans for voting them in to play Ramblin’ Man – clear testament to a well established fan base. Its clearly evident that the band are tight and well rehearsed and their set consisted of a few tracks from their 2013 EP Playing with Fire, their single “Rainmaker” and concluded with a fantastic cover of Creedance Clearwater Revivals’ “Proud Mary”. With guitarist Jack Edwards recently being endorsed by Gretch Guitars, an album due out on 13th September and a subsequent UK tour, exciting things are stirring for Piston, watch this space!
I relocated to the Main Stage just prior to Living Colour’s performance, a band I know little about, I figured I needed to check out the hype and I think plenty of others followed suit as the New York rockers had an impressive assemblage, many of whom were heard to complain that they should have been billed later in the day. Their set commenced with a cover of Preachin’ Blues, by the late great Robert Johnson and featured their hit “Cult of Personality”.
Up next on the Main Stage and no strangers to Ramblin Man were the fantastic Inglorious. The bands third time at the festival, they first opened on the Main Stage in 2016 and while only Nathan James and Phil Beaver remain from the line up which first graced the stage, it is more than an little apparent that the Ramblers love them! They opened with “Where are you now?” from latest release Road to Nowhere before blasting out well known crowd pleasers “High Flying Gypsy”, Holy Water” and “Until I Die” and played an amazing set overall, not that I would expect anything less…
Chris Robinson Brotherhood followed soon after and while Black Crowes fans could have been forgiven for thinking that a couple of their greatest hits may have featured into the mix, alas this was not the case. This band already have five albums under their belt so no shortage of material, and fantastic material it is too. With an altogether distinctly bluesy sound Chris played a mellow but mind-blowing set which provided a laid back hiatus between the hard rock acts.
Award for the most flamboyant, energised show of the weekend had to go hands down to hellraising , Aussie rockers Airbourne who always put on an amazing show. The repeat Ramblin Man performers who hit the Main Stage just before the headliners, pulled out all the stops and had the crowd whipped up into a frenzy by blasting out hits such as “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” and “Breakin’ Outta Hell”, crowd surfing whilst playing the guitar and throwing beers at the audience. I had a reluctant but brief sabbatical from their set before returning to see them perform their third encore “Running Wild”. The band who hail from Warrnambool, Victoria are probably the wildest thing to ever come out of it, I know, ive been there!
I made a dash for The Grooverider Stage ¾ of the way through Airbourne’s set to see the fantastic Orange Goblin and I was totally blown away by them. The Heavy Metal Londoner’s, in my opinion, were not getting the maximum exposure they deserved hidden inside the tent. I regret not seeing their set in its entirety but what I witnessed of it was absolutely top notch and I very much look forward to catching them again somewhere, very soon.
Having accumulated a huge following worldwide I was not surprised to note a substantial gathering at the Blues Stage for Californian Singer Songwriter Beth Hart, considering the two bands who for me, preceded this set, the sound was sombre and melancholy, however, its unlikely anyone could be left in doubt of the talent Beth possesses both musically and vocally and the strength of her performance certainly had an enduring effect on her audience…
Back at the main stage for the finale of 2019, I couldn’t wait to see Foreigner. Having never seen them live I was more than a little enthusiastic and this was only fueled by speculation that Lou Gramm was going to grace the stage with his presence for a few songs – unfortunately this did not come to pass but the feel good vibes across the masses could not be ignored as they churned out hit after hit in exceptionally fine form with “Cold as Ice” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” featuring relatively early on in the set. As predicted “I want to Know What Love is”was reserved for an encore and turned into a mass audience sing-a-long but it was “Hot Blooded” which concluded this years Ramblin’ Man festivities. An amazing performance from this iconic rock band.
It probably goes without saying that its unlikely any two people will have watched the same bands over the duration of the festival, and therefore no two people will have had the same experiences. Even best laid plans can go askew and sometimes we miss bands we have planned to watch and discover new ones we didn’t know existed – the remedy for this? If you hear something you love, go with it – let the music take you, you never know where it will lead…
Till next year, Ramble on…
Ramblin’ Man Fair – Sunday Band Gallery (C) Sophie Hextall \ MindHex Media:
Featuring: Salvation Jayne, Foreigner, Piston, Richie Kotzen, Matt Mitchell, Living Colour, Jaime Kyle, Inglorious, Beth Hart, Austin Gold, Airbourne, Paul Anthony