Home Gigs Gig Review : Festival Review : Ramblin’ Man, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent 19 – 21 July 2019 Day 2

Gig Review : Festival Review : Ramblin’ Man, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent 19 – 21 July 2019 Day 2

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Day 2 – Saturday – began with an acoustic set on the Marshall VIP Acoustic
Stage, to a select audience in the VIP area of the festival, with Bad Touch.
This 5 piece from Norfolk have been around since 2010 and have played
Ramblin’ Man previously but that didn’t stop vocalist Stevie Westwood from
admitting to feeling nervous. Nerves aside the boys produced a superb, short,
stripped down set including a brand new song, which they had never played
live before, on the low stage surrounded by an appreciative crowd on the floor
and up on the balcony. Stevie Westwood even forgot his lyrics at one point
during ‘Dressed to Kill’ but nobody cared as even the barman behind was
tapping the bar in time to the songs.

IMG_6808.jpg

As I headed across the festival to catch another band, I passed the Planet
Rock stage just as Raveneye were opening their half hour set. The first few
bars played out and I suddenly felt the urge to change my plans and see what
they were about – and I was certainly not disappointed. These boys were
playing it loud, which was just as well as at one point they disappeared in a
cloud of stage fog, but they carried on like troopers and delighted the crowd
with a 6 song set which reminded me in places of Royal Blood. They carried
the crowd into Saturday afternoon and were rewarded with an enthusiastic
crowd, some of who were nursing heavy hangovers from the night before,
performing their new song ‘Animals’ along the way.IMG_0832.jpg

Having never got to my intended stage, I stayed at the Planet Rock Stage to
see Wayward Sons, who despite much prompting and cajolling from a very
good mate of mine, I’ve never been able to really get into. So today was the
day that I was going to sit and take in their set and become convinced as
these boys had played the Rising Stage previously and this year had been
promoted. Bassist Nic Wastell was away at his Daughters wedding, but his
replacement was possibly the coolest guy from the entire weekend in black
cowboy hat and bright white trainers. The band was fronted by Toby Jepson
(ex-Little Angels) and after a bright opening they went into ‘Rock n roller’
which had a guy in the front row waving his 3 crutches – yes 3 – above his
head. The vocal set up didn’t appear quite right as we struggled to hear
Jepson’s vocal over the music, but they flew into a new track ‘Jokes on you’
during which the skies opened briefly before bringing the 35 minute show to
an end. I still remain unconvinced but the crowd loved it so maybe sometimes
you just have to admit you can’t get everyone you see.IMG_6419.jpg

A wander over to the Rising Stage saw me arrive early enough to get a front
row spot to see Collateral, although another few minutes and I would have
had to be content with a position much further back as the crowd swelled very
quickly. Obviously, somebody knew something and within a minute or two of
their opening number, ‘Big Shot’ ,I was buying into it. They soon moved into
crowd favourite ‘Midnight Queen’ before ‘Going with the wind’, ‘Merry go
round’ and ‘Promised Land’. Lead singer Angelo was visibly moved by the
crowd response before the band finished the set with ‘Lullaby’. Angelo is
obviously the centre focus for fans, but that doesn’t tell the full story as Ben,
Todd and Jack ably back him up and provide the superb basis of this band.
Collateral have their debut album on pre-order from 31 August and following
this performance, I for one will be making the investment.

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A quick drink and catch up with some friends, was cut short by the need to
get back to the Planet Rock stage to see the legendary Jimmy Barnes. Now
this man has a voice that I could listen to all day long and the chance to see
him live was not something I was ever going to miss, but I was surprised that
the arena was half empty when I arrived. A few minutes later, Jimmy had
begun and the place was packed, as he rattled through 4 songs without
barely taking a breath between them. There was a guy headbanging at the
front and a woman desperate to attract Jimmy’s attention, which he
eventually did when he waved and smiled at her, making her day as she
squealed in delight. The man has a great voice, but as he broke into his final
song, ‘Working class man’ ,there was something missing – he had prowled up
and down the stage looking like he was chewing a wasp, with little interaction
with his audience and it left you feeling a little flat. He wound up the set,
thanked the audience and left. Job done.IMG_6653.jpg

A short time later I made my first visit to the Outlaw Country Stage to see The
Allman Betts Band. Now having grown up on a diet of Johnny Cash, Boxcar
Willie and Waylon Jennings, I like a bit of country, so this was going to be a
treat for me personally. The band has a fantastic pedigree having been
formed in 2017, by Devon Allman and Duane Betts, whose Father’s Gregg
Allman and Dickey Betts, were founding members of the Allman Brothers.
The seven piece band played their way through several numbers with both
Allman and Betts interchanging vocals ably assisted by Johnny Stachela on
guitar and slide guitar. This was a masterclass in Southern Rock and just
when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Allman took lead vocals to
perform a simply stunning cover of ‘Purple Rain’, which was one of my
highlights of the entire weekend. A short time later, Ben Wells from Black
Stone Cherry joined the band on stage to jam, but even this couldn’t top what
we had already seen.IMG_6934.jpg

Closing out Saturday were Black Stone Cherry, who took to the Planet Rock
stage for the first time since headlining in 2016. Opening with ‘Rain Wizard’,
before ‘Me and Mary Jane’, ‘Blind man’ and ‘Burnin’ got the crowd pumped for
what promised to be a thumping finale. Talking of thumping, John Fred Young
certainly takes no prisoners with his drumming style and was soon changing
a drum skin like an F1 mechanic changing a wheel in the pit lane, with the aid
of one of the crew. Repairs done, they move swiftly through the set as the
crowd roared them on, seemingly more pleased with every completed song.
Ben Wells and and John Lawhon constantly switching sides to keep the
crowd and the photographers happy. The now standard John Fred Young
drum solo allowed the other band members to take a well earned rest, before
re appearing to belt out ‘Soul Creek’ much to the delight of the fans. As they
moved through the classics of ‘Blame it on the boom boom’, ‘White trash
millionaire’ and ‘Lonely train’, the voices singing the songs back to the band
became louder and Chris Robertson told them it meant the world to hear
them singing their songs back to them. The band finished with ‘Family tree’
before coming back for a one song encore of ‘Peace is free’.Three years
after they left Ramblin’ Man triumphantly, they had come back and managed
to do it all over again.IMG_7036.jpgReview by Howard Whitelaw

Photography by Darren Smith

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