Sunday was always forecast as being the best day of the weekend weather-wise but I feel the line-up was slightly weaker than Saturday. Looking at some of the punters, they were perhaps a little weaker today also following Saturday’s partying.
No complaints mind, as another new band for me Sweet Crisis kicked things off on the Blues Stage. Songs such as Treading In Deep Water and a brilliant cover of Rival Sons’ Pressure And Time acted as a magnet drawing people in, possibly believing the guys from L.A. had dropped in.
Austin Gold opened the main stage – a no thrills rock band they were very competent and inoffensive. There was nothing to dislike but if I’m honest, nothing particularly dynamic. Planet Rock’s own Paul Anthony nearly fell off the stage whilst introducing them and not wishing him ill will, it was amusing.
Elles Bailey, whom I personally rate as one of the UKs most promising songwriters, with Joe Wilkins her faithful servant on guitar and Stevie Watts guesting on keyboards, entertained a very appreciative audience. Elles played a fine selection from her two well received albums Wildfire and A Road I Call Home together with a teaser from her forthcoming third offering Woman Like Me.
The first number she dedicated to all those suffering from the Pledge Music fiasco. She deserves heaps of praise by sorting the fall out from this collapse single handedly and honouring all pledges. Other artists haven’t been so forthcoming but why should they as they are seriously out of pocket? Elles just went beyond the call of duty.
Living Colour on the Planet Rock stage were a photographer’s dream, a kaleidoscope of colour. The band is Vernon Reid on guitar, Corey Glover‘s excellent vocals, Will Calhoun on drums and Doug Wimbish (so good the Rolling Stones saw fit to replace Bill Wyman with him) on bass. A great set of funk-metal that went down a treat.
I braved the heat within the Grooverider tent to sample stoner rockers Steak – great heavy, foot down on the pedal rock. It was well worth the effort, especially when they covered Roadhouse Blues.
Gin Annie are a Wolverhampton band I’d not heard before, and you have to be amazed just how much talent there is out there. A great performance on the Rising Stage from a band clearly really enjoying itself.
Ritchie Kotzen is a class act. Whether performing under his own name or with Winery Dogs he never fails to deliver. Today, however, he seemed to take it to a different level. He has a wonderful vocal range, not unlike the much missed Chris Cornell, and boy can he stretch those six strings on his Telecaster. He had the wonderful Dylan Wilson on bass.
Best band for me on the Grooverider Stage were the hard rock / funk rockers Crobot – they are always brilliant. The animated Brandon Yeagley delighted with throw away remarks like: “I deliberately didn’t wear deodorant today to make it more funky for you”. He had piercing eyes that looked right through you and even gave it some body surfing on the surface of the stage.
I am a big Black Crowes fan but the Chris Robinson Brotherhood failed to light my fire. If you want a Black Crowes fix then check out Magpie Salute, his brother Rich Robinson still delivers.
Everlast is not strictly blues so I was really surprised he was the penultimate act on the Blues stage.
Airborne, top rockers from Australia could have warranted the headline spot on Sunday. If there is anyone out there who cannot appreciate these guys…..well turn it in now. Frontman Joel O’Keeffe captioned it in his own words: “As long as we are here as long as you are here rock and roll will live”. There was no climbing scaffold but he did smash the can of lager on his head and he even launched himself and a few beers from Lemmy’s Bar into the audience.
I just had to catch the end of Beth Hart’s set. What a voice – full of emotion, she really gives you her soul. She is equally at home behind the keys, prowling seductively around the stage or casually relaxing on a stool. She has some amazing songs reflecting the struggles and joys of her life, the most impressive of which in my opinion is Tell Her You Belong To Me.
Orange Goblin headlined the Grooverider stage and drew quite a crowd, though I feel there were better bands before them more worthy of the headline slot. I’ve already nailed my Crobot colours to the mast.
I didn’t catch more than 20 minutes of Foreigner’s set as I really consider them these days to be a tribute act. I was lucky enough to catch Double Vision, Head Games, Cold As Ice, Waiting For A Girl Like You and Dirty White Boy. From what I heard I was impressed, reviving happy memories of a band I fell in love with in 1976. It was always going to be a greatest hits set and Kelly Hansen was brilliant on vocals…… ably filling the shoes of Lou Gramm.
To conclude, this was a fabulous weekend. The line up was probably the best so far and we’re already looking forward to next year, Ramble on………
Early Bird tickets for RMF 2020 go on sale on Wednesday 31 July at the following link: https://www.ramblinmanfair.com/buy-tickets/
Live review by Phil Honley. Photography by Phil Honley and Simon Reed who both have the following websites respectively www.gigsnapz.co.uk and www.musicalpictures.co.uk