Ramblin' Man Fair 2019 Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 20, 2019    
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Ramblin' Man Fair 2019 - Mote Park, Maidstone (UK) - 19-21 July 2019

The Ramblin' Man Festival is fast becoming one of the UK's premier outdoor events, and is now in its fifth year. Guiding you through this year's show are Dawn Osbourne and Adam Aiken.


The Lazy's
, bright young hopefuls from Australia (although they live in Canada now), opened up the festival with loads of fresh-faced, happy-faced energy, saluting the crowd with, what else, beer! My favourite 'Little Miss Crazy' made an early appearance in the set, perhaps because they know as a new band they have to grab people early to stop 'em going to the bar, and grab us they did. There's a boogie woogie AC/DC feel to their material, such as 'Nothing But Trouble', but it's crossed with a Punk shouty streak that gives the material more of an edge. Plenty of guitars in the air, playing behind the head, head banging and swirling hair. They woke us up in style. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live the lazys

Kris Barras is a rising star in the Blues guitar world and a past cage fighter, but his stage style is somewhat reserved. At first it seemed that with heavy grooves and extravagant low slung straddles his bassist was going to steal all the attention, until Barras got to a searing solo and showed us all who's boss. It was a set of heavy Rock/Blues with some acapella harmonies. As a nod to the glories of Metal he played with his teeth. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live kris barras

It's fair to say I was back on more familiar territory with FM who always make playing festivals look easy. Steve Overland demonstrated he still has a fantastic voice and they have so much material to choose from it's easy for them to put monster songs like 'That Girl' early in the set without running out of stunners to play. They appeared to be having a lot of fun on stage, with Steve and Merv singing on the same mike and laughing and pointing. Keyboards are big news in the band and Jem Davis got to be centre stage so he appeared in most photos of Overland and Goldsworthy, deservedly so. On songs like 'Let Love Be The Leader' and 'I Belong To The Night' they shone out as an essential part of this band's sound. I do enjoy this band and so such a short set of eight songs seemed to go by in a flash. With a couple of new ones in there I definitely did not hear all my favourites. (DO)

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But there was no time to dwell on this as Ginger took to the stage in the best mood I think I have ever seen him live. He was beaming, posing for the photographers, thumping his heart and engaging with the crowd from the off telling them how beautiful they are. It was pretty much the same set list as they did for Call Of The Wild, full of crowd pleasers. They kicked off with a great new song in 'Dislocated', but it was mainly a set of the hits so that most people in the audience knew the material; new one 'Let 'Em Go' mid-set fitted in so well as an instantly accessible number among the catchiest of their songs there was no break in momentum. 'Vanilla Radio' with its iconic big riffs made an early appearance, setting the tone for songs like 'Suckerpunch' and 'My Baby Is A Headfuck' where Ginger exhibited a joie de vivre and a real vitality. The crowd start shouting "Head Fuck" repeatedly unprompted and it all got jolly rowdy. (DO)

So headliners The Darkness came on with 'Black Shuck' to a thoroughly warmed-up crowd, despite the earlier rain, with pyro and fireworks to warm the cockles. Justin Hawkins was already jumping off the riser by the second song 'Love Is Only A Feeling'. By 'One Way Ticket To Hell (And Back)' he was jumping like the mad thing we know he is, ridiculously egging the falsetto and if he has stopped the Colombian marching powder he does not forget the marching bit at least. So as usual it was a whole set of very entertaining clowning around, with some ridiculously good music too. He refused to play "their most famous song" unless the audience shouted so loud they perforate his ear drum and make it spurt blood, after some teasing he claimed to feel that happen and made everyone bounce to 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' as he does shrugging shoulders and a galloping horse.

ramblin man fair 2019 live the darkness

He got the crowd to sing "fucker" to 'Get Your Hands Off My Woman'. Rufus the drummer (and son of Roger Taylor of Queen) simply grinned when he got a mention from Hawkins that people say Rufus is young enough to be his son and remarking that if he had such a talented, good looking, muscularly defined and tattoo-free son he would be proud. Final encore was 'Love On The Rocks' when Hawkins blindfolded himself and ran around the crowd on the shoulders of another, producing a really special bluesy solo playing behind his head, which he should be proud of without all those handicaps as his final party trick. After throwing a few pics and doing a question and answer falsetto, he told us he was going now to masturbate furiously in his cabin "with all the good memories", leaving everyone with too much information (I hesitate to say a bad taste in the mouth lol). As I left I overheard a member of the audience say "I love the Darkness. I know they're shit, but they're GOOD shit"... Nuff said. (DO)


Kicking off the Prog tent were Scardust from Israel. Rather unfairly the singer's mike was not turned on for the first song, but soon as that was rectified we could hear she had an extremely powerful voice to be reckoned with. It was mostly operatic Rock with a bit of modern growling and a choir of backing vocalists, including Ben Christo of The Sisters of Mercy. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live scardust

Raveneye had the job of dusting off our cobwebs on the Main Stage on Saturday. This three-piece are led by blues-singer/guitarist Oli Brown, and their short but sweet appearance certainly woke a few people from their slumber. The whole band engaged with the audience, including banter from drummer Adam Breeze, and the catchy singalong 'Hey Hey Yeah' saw Brown play his guitar solo whilst hoisted aloft on bassist Aaron Spiers' shoulders. (AA)

ramblin man fair 2019 live raveneye

Toby Jepson deserves huge credit for being humble enough to start again lower down the ladder. There's been no "Don't you know who I am?" from the former Little Angels frontman, and he was happy to play here with Wayward Sons on the Rising Stage a couple of years ago. Their stock has risen since then and this year they deservedly have a slot on the Main Stage. Material from their debut album and a couple of songs from their forthcoming follow-up meant there was no need to fall back on Angels songs, and the likes of 'Crush' and 'Don't Wanna Go' are likely to be in their sets for years. (AA)

Collateral are a band on the rise, they seem to win most competitions going, including one to support Bon Jovi on their European cruise and to get this spot on the Rising Stage today. They are lovers of the eighties with lots of hair and today the singer was wearing a coat (made by his girlfriend) like Joseph and his coat of many colours. Their material is a mix of Skid Row-like Hard Rock and Country Rock, electric and acoustic. They are young, happy, bouncy and a complete antidote to all your problems. They were clearly having a blast on stage and they radiated sheer joy, looking comfortable and professional the whole time. I expect to see them higher up the bill next time. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live collateral

A lot of the crowd will have known 'Cats In The Cradle', 'Everything About You' and, er, not much else from Ugly Kid Joe. But while many might have considered them to be something of a lightweight nineties outfit, they delivered an intense set that will have surprised many. Whitfield Crane enjoyed as much audience participation as anyone else this weekend, and he knew how to win favour with the press; he invited half a dozen photographers on stage with him for a couple of songs and allowed them pretty much free rein while they were up there. Spotting a nine-year-old boy atop his father's shoulders, he beckoned the pair forward and sat cross-legged at the front of the stage as he dedicated 'Cats In The Cradle' to the young lad. A slightly less endearing habit was his penchant for gobbing phlegm every few minutes, and a few in the front row suffered as a result, but with a heavy set that veered into punk at times, UKJ were the surprise of the day. (AA)

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Jimmy Barnes looked and sounded permanently angry. With a cast of thousands – well, eight, actually – in his backing band, his intensity didn't diminish at any point. The slower 'Flame Trees' was the highlight of the set, but even then Barnes didn't get any less passionate. He got a decent reception given that his back catalogue was less-known than that of most others on the Main Stage, but by the end you were hoping he could go and get a much-needed lie down. (AA)

ramblin man fair 2019 live jimmy barnes

The Temperance Movement frontman Phil Campbell was like a man possessed, throwing his all into every song. With a set nicely balanced from across their career, songs such as 'Three Bullets' and 'Only Friend' were superb. During 'Pride', Campbell brought bassist Nick Fyffee's young daughter on to the stage, and she helped the rhythm section on maracas and proved a huge hit with her beaming smile. The two last songs, 'A Deeper Cut' and 'Built-In Forgetter', were both from their latest album, helping to highlight how they are getting better. With sets like this, The Temperance Movement are going to keep climbing up the festival bills. (AA)

ramblin man fair 2019 live the temperance movement

Confession time – my expectations for Cheap Trick were a little on the low side, having seen them support Def Leppard on tour last year. But here they came out of the blocks on fire, and with 'You Got It Going On' they rocked with the best of them. Guitarist Rick Nielsen, wearing a trademark baseball cap, gave TPR's Campbell a run for his money when it came to covering the stage – he was everywhere, at one point disappearing off to the right of the stage and then reappearing on the left-hand side. A pedometer would have struggled to keep up. He also spent the whole set hurling dozens of guitar picks into the crowd, which no doubt went down better than Crane's gifts to the front row earlier in the day. With Robin Zander on top form, songs such as 'I Want You To Want Me' and 'Dream Police' were a reminder of the classic pedigree of this band, and they were one of the best acts of the weekend. (AA)

ramblin man fair 2019 live cheap trick

And so to Black Stone Cherry, whose hard brand of Southern Rock is, to some, the definition of Ramblin' Man. Returning headliners, they took to the stage as naturals and they took us through a whirlwind of a set. From 'Rain Wizard' and 'Me And Mary Jane' through to 'Blame It On The Boom Boom' and 'White Trash Millionaire', BSC were among friends and there was a clear mutual respect between band and audience.

ramblin man fair 2019 live black stone cherry

It was a triumphant return to Mote Park by the quartet from Kentucky, and it was a fitting end to a cracking day on the main stage.


Sunday kicked off with Salvation Jane on the Rising stage. Their vocalist has a siren of a voice and looks cool in a Courtney Love at her best kind of way. Their drummer kicks ass and is also a beautiful blonde. The whole band looks cool with the guitarist having a kind of Nena look, if you're old enough to remember that. It's commercial, noisy, slightly punky Rock, very accessible and crowd friendly. I expect to see more of them. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live salvation jane

Austin Gold have been making waves recently with all kinds of good reviews, and it's easy to see why. Opening up Main Stage proceedings on Sunday, there was a feel of them being worthy successors to Thunder. They got the mix of guitars and keyboards just right, and it was refreshing that they got fourty-five minutes despite being on relatively early. Certainly ones to watch. (AA)

Piston have a fantastic debut album which I love so I was excited to see them live. The songs are epic and they got through a fair few good tracks, including 'Rainmaker', 'One More Day' and 'Go Now' with a surprise cover of 'Rollin Down The River' at the end. Another band I expect to go further and see higher up the bill in time. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live piston

Living Colour were pissed off when they get on stage and I was not surprised. The first thing they did was dedicate the first song to the civil war re-enactors in the arena with a "spoiler alert – the South lost". If you know your American history you can see why they may be sensitive on this, fortunately the crowd shouted "we love you" and reacted warmly to the band, following which they become all smiley and happy and vocalist Corey Glover felt comfortable enough to go down to the barrier to greet the people. Their big song is, of course, 'Cult Of Personality' which went down super well. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live living colour

Whatever you think of them, Inglorious are never dull, what with the larger-than-life Nathan James and his powerful lungs front and centre. 'High Flying Gypsy' was an early highlight with its Blues feel and a really satisfying groove. James tells it like it is, too. "Who's in the mood for singing? I'm not – I just want to get pissed and watch Foreigner," he said at one point. There was a false start to 'Until I Die', with James insisting that "I'm not singing our most famous song with a fucked microphone", but all was soon put right and it was a great, heavy closer to the set. (AA)

On the Blues stage Richie Kotzen gave a classy performance and sang like an angel, even though he still has eyes to make most women to be "doing what the Devil says to do". Whenever I see him I spend the whole time being taken to another dimension by the beauty of his falsetto that it is distracting from the other musical elements, but I always really enjoy every minute and this set was no exception. There were enough fast solos to keep guitar aficionados happy and, as you would expect, a diverse offering with Jazzy and Funky elements around a core of Rock. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live richie kotzen

In contrast Chris Robinson was a bit rambling and unfocussed, maybe they took the title of the festival too literally. The performance was more about a vibe rather than distinctive songs and I didn't find it that visually interesting. There was a lot of shuffling and polite applause in the crowd. The Black Crowes as they were it was not. I suppose, for him, that's the point. Richie Kotzen did sneak down to see the show and stood right next to me which was a little distracting... just a little. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live chris robinson

There couldn't have been a greater contrast than with Airbourne who totally grabbed the audience and kept them transfixed by running around like madmen, busting beer cans on their heads and throwing drinks in to the crowd. One girl actually managed to catch the cup with liquid in it to a huge cheer from the crowd, most people just getting soaked in beer for their trouble. Joel O'Keefe took an early opportunity to run through the crowd on the shoulders of another playing guitar and wrestling with blow up kangaroos. The set was a blur of AC/DC style Rock at a furious pace, including a real bit of 'Let There Be Rock'. The set was a riot as usual. You have to keep your wits about you if you're in an Airbourne crowd and that's part of the thrill. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live airbourne

Headliners Foreigner were way more fun than I thought they were going to be. Yes, I knew they have the classic tunes, but Kelly Hansen (ex Hurricane) is a real showman like Steven Tyler. Posing and waggling his rear end he started by asking if "you m'f's are ready for this", not really the sedate ride I was expecting. They were soon into 'Cold As Ice', an iconic track which they illustrated with footage from a drone looking from way above down to the crowd on the big screen. 'Waiting For A Girl Like You' was another big one early on. On a further risqué note 'Dirty White Boy' was dedicated to the ladies. Mick Jones joined the band on stage to huge cheers for 'Urgent' and stayed till the end. Even the keyboard and extended drum solo was made fun by exciting lights and tricks like playing drums with liquid on them to create a kind of fountain light show of its own. 'Juke Box Hero' came along and soon we were into 'I Want To Know What Love Is' and 'Hot Blooded', and it was all over. The set was way too short. What a surprise! I would definitely want to see them again for a longer hit. (DO)

ramblin man fair 2019 live foreigner

Loved this festival as usual. Discovered new acts and fell in love all over again with those I knew. Excited to see talented bands on the way up and want to come back and do it again next year for sure. (DO)

Review by Dawn Osborne and Adam Aiken, photos by Dawn Osborne

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