Day 3 – Sunday started at the Rising Stage to catch the band first up, Salvation Jayne, who are a 4 piece female led alt-rock band from Kent. They had pulled in a healthy crowd who were maybe surprised to see the shocking pink and lime green in the stage outfits, but if we thought they were loud then things were about to get even louder. Chess Smith leads the line admirably with her strong vocals and its pretty clear she is a star in the making but the entire band put on a good show for the earliest risers (it was after midday, but hey this is rock n roll). They worked through the set including their new single ‘Jane Doe’ along the way before ending with ‘Juno’. It will be interesting to see where this band goes over the next 12 months.
Next up was Piston, who have built up something of a following in recent times and these boys do know how to rock. If ever a drummer had a physical resemblance to Animal in the Muppets then Bred Newlands is that man. He was obviously up for this gig and thumped the tubs to great effect behind vocalist Rob Angelico and the gleaming, searing white guitar of Jack Edwards. They rocked their way through the set taking in favourites ‘Rainmaker’ ‘One More Day’ and ‘Leave if you dare’ along the way before a seriously great cover version of ‘Proud Mary’. The half hour set was too short and they left the crowd wanting more. Be great to see you back next year boys, if you can fit us in that is.
A short time later, the act I had been waiting for all weekend was finally on, Now I know we shouldn’t have favourites but Gin Annie are just too good. I
bought their album ‘100% Proof’ a couple of months ago and to give it that old cliché, its barely been off the player since. So now they were going to be
live and I wasn’t missing this. I parked myself from and centre and prepared to be impressed – and how. They opened with ‘New bad habit’ and I found
myself singing along to Dave Foster word for word, before ‘Fallin’, and ‘Chains’, both of which are in the “must play on every car journey” list for me.
Byron Garbett and Brian Green provided the guitar licks and I was loving it. Too soon we got to the last song in the set, ‘Born to rock and roll’ and on this
evidence these boys are. They looked as thought they were loving it and the crowd was certainly loving them, the applause ringing out for an age after the
music ended. If Ramblin’ Man take nothing more than one thing from this years festival, it has to be to see these boys on the main stage next year. They absolutely nailed the Rising Stage and got my vote for best band of Ramblin’ Man 2019. Go out, buy the album and do your ears a favour!
I headed over to the Planet Rock stage once again, a little later than planned as I didn’t want to leave the Gin Annie party, but never the less I was heading over
to see Inglorious. I first saw them open Ramblin’ Man 2016 and was mightily impressed with them the vocal range of Nathan James and have subsequently bought each of their albums on release.
There have been a few personnel changes since then, well actually most of the band, but in Danny De La Cruz they have a very, very talented guitarist who is surely is destined for great things , be that with Inglorious or another project.
The Ramblin’ Man crowd appreciate James, singing along throughout the set and were vocal in their appreciation at the end of each song. Late on as the band were running through the intro to ‘Holy Water’, James stopped everything dead as he refused to sing their biggest hit while his mike was playing up, causing a short silence, before the problem was fixed and the band started up again. This only served to endear James to the crowd even more as they once again sang along before applauding the band off at the end.
In the special guest slot on Sunday were the masters of mayhem, Airbourne who like many of the other acts here this year , played in 2016 .
Joel O’Keeffe is not a man to play quietly or without anyone noticing and so it was when the band blasted onto the stage and opened with ‘Are you ready to rock , This was loud , ballsy rock n roll and exactly what we needed on a Sunday night in Kent. They soon went into ‘Too much, too young, too fast’ and even the technical glitches with the sound couldn’t stop the band knocking out the loudest performance of the weekend.
The man from the Council with his decibel meter was surely having kittens as Mr & Mrs Disgruntled of Maidstone put pen to paper to voice their objections, but nobody was going to stop these boys, Breaking into Girls in Black ,Joel proceeded to move through the crowd on the shoulders of a crew member , before returning to the stage,a bar was wheeled out and several Jack Daniels and Coke were poured , Glasses where raised and tributes paid to the late Lemmy , Joel then addressed that issue that follows Airbourne around – that they are neither original nor creative , His reply was “you’re right, but we will sure as hell rock your balls off” and they were doing exactly that. More beer rained down on the audience as some down the front started surfing to the front , giving security nightmares but all involved were safely returned to the crowd. After an hour of flat out, pure rock n roll they finished with ‘Runnin wild’. The crowd had loved them and they definitely rocked our balls off. No matter what people think off Airbourne they deliver a fuel injected 100 percent rock n roll show and never disappoint.
Finishing the weekend and Sunday night headliners were Foreigner. The Darkness on Saturday had struggled to match the Wildhearts and I wondered
if Foreigner would now suffer the same fate after the barnstorming set of Airbourne. But these are seasoned pro’s who know how to put on a show.
They opened with ‘Double vision’ and then straight into ‘Head games’ and ‘Cold as ice’ – all classics, ensuring the crowd were onside and singing along
from the outset.
Kelly Hanson’s voice is strong and sounded really good singing the hits that I had first heard, like most people, being led by Lou
Gramm. I remain a big Lou Gramm fan, but Hanson brings a slightly different style to the music and certainly re-invigorates it. The music was much heavier
than I had expected but it was great to hear these hits being belted out as top volume, by a band who could turn it on for fun. Hanson slowed it down for the
classic ballad ‘Waiting for a girl like you’ and encouraged the sing-a-long, before breaking into ‘Dirty White boy’.
The band were then introduced before Mick Jones joined the band on stage. Jones hasn’t enjoyed the bet of health in recent years but is was great to see ‘Mr Foreigner’ out there with the rest of them. ‘Feels like the first time’ then ‘Urgent’ followed before a keyboard and drum solo allowed Hanson, Jones and the other guitarists to take a break, before re-emerging to belt out a lengthy version of ‘Jukebox hero’. Hanson then proceeded to spout out a lengthy sermon type monologue which got boring after a few minutes, but went on for 10, before it finally came back to link to the big finale of ‘I want to know what love is’. I can’t recall ever going to a gig where everyone I looked at was singing the correct words to the songs – and not just the odd song, but all of the songs.
Day 3 and Ramblin’ Man 2019 was over and it had been a success yet again. It’s impossible to please all the people all the time, but Ramblin’ Man manage
to get a good enough mix to keep most people happy most of the time.
Will I be there next year, you bet!