Day Two (29 July) at Ramblin’ Man 2017, and more punters arrived to enjoy the great selection of rock and country on offer. Set across four stages, there was plenty to take in – including, for the first time ever at Ramblin’ Man, an American Civil War Re-enactment.
After JJ Nichols opened the main stage to an enthusiastic crowd, performances were put on hold for a fantastic re-enactment of the 1861-1865 conflict. The Southern Skirmish Association are the longest established American Civil War Re-enactment society in the United Kingdom, and their accurate portrayal of the men and women who gave their lives for their beliefs was a sight to behold. In full costume and with authentic weapons – including two cannons – the group drew a large, excitable crowd. It was also a great reminder of the range of entertainment on offer at Ramblin’ Man 2017: more than just music, the festival offers a selection of Harley Davidson motorcycles available for punters to enjoy, as well, for the more fearless rider, a Wall Of Death.
It was then onto the first largely anticipated act of the day. Despite the rain, Reef received a warm welcome from their home audience, performing an energetic set packed full of hits, with room left to showcase some newer material. ‘Place Your Hands’ provided the first massive singalong of the day on the main stage, with Gary Stringer encouraging an enthusiastic audience to get involved. Throughout their set, Jesse Wood, the son of a certain Rolling Stone, weaved his way through each guitar riff expertly. Must have learnt a thing or two from his dad.
One of the biggest audiences of the day was reserved for the legend that is Glenn Hughes. Over a career in which he has played with rock pioneers including Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, Hughes has gathered a large fanbase, and he was met with a rapturous reception. Not long before he made a stop in the uDiscover tent to chat to the team, Hughes led an extremely tight band through a great show on the main stage. As members of Reef watched from the side of the stage, fans were treated to a wide selection of tracks from across a stellar career, with cuts from his Deep Purple days, solo career, and his work with Black Country Communion. The likes of ‘Soul Mover’ were met with particular excitement, though Hughes’ closing number, Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’, was worth waiting in the rain for.
Unfortunately, waiting in the rain would become a staple of the second day of Ramblin’ Man 2017. The skies opened in the afternoon, and as the Mote Park grass turned to sludge the crowd were drenched in the unrelenting downpour. Thus it was on Black Star Riders to keep spirits high. In 2012, the musicians who had been touring as Thin Lizzy entered the studio to record an album under this brand new guise; inevitably, comparisons to Thin Lizzy are to be expected, though from the reaction they garnered it would seem the group have made a reputation in their own right. Opener ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, off their debut album, was a brilliant showcase of the amassed talents of a band with such experience, and they threw in a Thin Lizzy cover or two for good measure. ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ provided a great moment on the main stage and, for some time, the rain was forgotten about.
Then it was on to the Saturday night headliners, Extreme, to close day two of Ramblin’ Man 2017. Opening with three back-to-back monster tracks off their second album, Extreme II: Pornograffitti, the band set into their stride quickly with a thrilling set, with frontman Gary Cherone, previously also of Van Halen, covering the stage with the energy of a man half his age. The band were as tight as ever, treating the crowd to a wall of sound that was unrivalled during the day. Earlier, they’d visited the uDiscover tent for an interview, revealing their excitement at being back in the UK – and, from the evidence of their set, you could see why. The Maidstone crowd treated Extreme as their own, and the band returned the love in the form of ‘More Than Words’, the inevitable highlight of Ramblin’ Man 2017 so far, and a nice reward for fans who had stuck it out through a day of what had been truly terrible weather. The soaked audience were also treated to a rousing cover of Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ to close day two of Ramblin’ Man 2017, leaving fans delighted.
Ramblin’ Man 2017, Day Two Highlights: ‘More Than Words’: how could it not be?
Ramblin’ Man 2017, Day Two Lowlights: Rain, rain, rain…
Check back over the next few days for more exclusive reviews and interviews with the bands at this year’s Ramblin’ Man.