All The Fun Of The Fair – Ramblin’ Man, Day 2

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Usually, the second day of any festival starts with overpartied bodies strewn over a field like logs at a particularly untidy timber yard. But not here.

Everyone is up, and what’s more they’re vibed up, anticipating another great day of music. All of which means this is not about to be anti-climactic, but very much a continuation of joys on the previous day. And such is the enthusiasm for music that the Rising Stage is packed by the time Wicked Stone become the first live band in action. Their feverish riffs are welcomed and welcoming, greeted with enthusiastic cheers.

RMF posterOn the Main Stage, duo the Graveltones open the fray, their gritty nous really showing they’ve what it takes to be on such a big platform. And rousing instrumental set from the Fierce And The Dead is equally as enticing on the Prog In The Park Stage.

Highlights happen all through the day, on all four stages. The Will Wilde Band are a revelation on the Rising Stage, their aptitude and confidence in delivering authentic 1970s style blues rock belies their youth. On the Blues stage, Tax The Heat are restively potent, while such is King King’s drawing power that the tent housing the Blues Stage is full beyond bursting point. The King King magic lives up to expectation.

Back on the Prog In The Park Stage, Blurred Vision’s epic, focused style wins them a raft of new fans, while Headspace have a rich and charismatic dynamic. And the Von Hertzen Brothers are perfectly placed to make a huge impact; the Finns’ mix of melody, muscle and complexity is irresistible.

The Blues Stage also offers up the Casualties Of Cool, featuring Devin Townsend. Their quirky take on the early electric doodles of Bob Dylan is fascinating, albeit an acquired taste.

The Main Stage bulges with fine performances. The Kentucky Headhunters are a raucous country rock band with touches of the Georgia Satellites, and they have the crowd lapping up the southern attitude. The Answer, meanwhile, show they’re still growing as a mainstream rock band, and Airbourne’s dumbo high octane boogie is exactly what’s required in mid-afternoon. The non-stop energy gets everyone in the right frame of mind for Thunder, who are such an experienced and well drilled festival band that frontman Danny Bowes even gets people doing fitness exercises!

Hawkwind, meantime, are a space rock force on the Prog Stage, with leader Dave Brock leading his troops through a set that draws not only on current album The Machine Stops, but spans their catalogue, and ends with the smoking madness of ‘Silver Machine’.

Like Hawkwind, Prog stage headliners Procol Harum have one song that has marked out, and dogged, their career. But ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ is far from being their one masterstroke. And that becomes obvious during a 90 minute set that underlines why they’re revered and respected as pioneers. Mainman Gary Brooker, MBE (as he’s introduced) also has a warm sense of humour.
 Many wondered if Black Stone Cherry had what it took to headline the second day of the festival. Wonder no more. They have – and more! This band have developed from a promising club into the sort of titans who can close an event such as this in the proper manner, And they choose to finish the whole weekend with a storming, fitting version of ‘Ace Of Spades’.

As people file out into the darkness, someone says, “I don’t wanna go home. I want this to last two or three more days!”. That sums it all up: Ramblin’ Man, the festival that everybody wants to ramble on and on and on and…

Malcolm Dome

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