It never rains but it pours for the long-suffering British festival goer but a soggy second day at the 2017 Ramblin’ Man Fair was awash with talent. HRH Mag rounds up the best of the action – look out for full reviews all next month and across four pages in Volume II of HRH Mag.
Same Festival, Different Country
The Outlaw Country Stage provide welcome relief from the regular downpours but had the double advantage of introducing the Ramblin’ Man audience to a raft of hot new talent. And if there was much to be said for the Motorhead-meets-Kenny Rogers Ghoultown and imperious headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd, then this was a day when the ladies stole the show. Caitlin Koch – flanked by the superb Kriss Barras – kicked things off with a kick-ass set before an incredibly excitable Jessica Lynn stepped up. Throwing in everything from Johnny B Goode to a snippet of classic AC/DC, Nashville’s adopted New Yorker had a packed tent bouncing and where else would you find a 71-year-old pedal steel player called Bob?
Shot In The Dark?
It was loud enough during Jessica Lynn’s bouncing set but those emerging from the Outlaw Country tent at around 2.40pm could be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled into a battle zone. And they weren’t far wrong. The American Civil War re-enactment was in full swing as the Main Stage and Grooverider Stage took a mid-afternoon break with cannons, gunfire and ladies dressed in bonnets making quite an impression on the Ramblin’ Man faithful. Why? Who knows? But it’s the only rock festival HRH Mag has ever attended where a regiment of men carrying rifles and dressed in blue has trooped past a stall selling Viking horns and obscure 70s prog rock vinyl.
In The Dokk
Few bands whetted the appetite more than legendary US hard rockers Dokken when the Ramblin’ Man bill was confirmed but Don and the boys blew it. Big style. They might be famous for Breaking The Chains but breaking into a sweat would have been a start. It would, at the very least, have persuaded the soaked masses that one of the main stage’s biggest draws actually wanted to be there. Don Dokken looked about as interested in Ramblin’ Man Fair as George Lynch is in the band’s classic line-up reforming. On this evidence Lynch is well out of it. Technically proficient but lacking any kind of connection with a nonplussed crowd, Dokken were dreadful.
Prior to Saturday night there’d been a great deal of negativity surrounding Extreme’s status as Ramblin’ Man Fair headliners. And even Nuno Bettencourt admitted the Bostonians were taken aback at the opportunity to be the main men at a UK festival for the first time in their 30-year career. But as the critics circled Extreme soared – giving the naysayers a hefty kick in the balls and bringing a brilliant end to a super Saturday. Bettencourt was spellbinding from start to finish, mixing mind-blowing guitar work with some genuinely endearing banter. The big hits never sounded better but it was the professionalism, passion and raw power that made a lasting impression. Maybe Dokken were watching on from the wings…
Image By Pete Key