Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Trick or Treat return to those poesky wabbits on Rabbits Hill Part Two

FOUR years after releasing the first chapter of their concept album “Rabbits’ Hill pt.One”, based on Richard Adams’ novel “Watership Down”, Italian power metal quintet Trick or Treat return with part two.

Originally formed in 2002 as a Helloween tribute band they are now a valid band in their own right.

Concept albums can be a tricky vehicle and if based on an original idea by the band can allow the listener to follow the journey through the album but if based on a piece of existing literature it can be hard to follow if you haven’t read the book, especially if there are as many characters as there are in Watership Down.

That aside and side stepping the fact that a Metal band are writing songs about pesky Wabbits  is “Rabbits’Hill pt.two” any good?

With a blend of melodic heavy metal, more standard metal and a dollop of acoustical numbers, musically this album ticks most of the boxes. Huge orchestrations and epic choirs are prevalent throughout and lead bellower Alessandro Conti shows off his powerful and impressive range, more than reminiscent of Michael Kiske.

Opener ‘Inle (The Black Rabbit of De
ath)’ is a decent power metal song full of great riffs and double kick drums with a bit of Death metal growling thrown in for good measure!

The mood changes to a folksy sound on ‘Together Again’, a song about strength survival and freedom featuring a slightly demure vocal from Conti.

The thumping bass intro overlaid by harmony guitars on ‘Cloudrider’ signals the return to a more melodic, heavy sound with great vocals again and a fairly tasty dual guitar solo battle.

‘Efrafa’ has a haunting opening with tolling bells but soon develops into another power metal tune with some solid riffs and background vocals. It is melodic in structure and has some nice key changes and technical guitar parts.

The now ‘traditional’ power ballad ‘Never Say Goodbye’ is up next and features Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bard and Aryeon) on shared vocals. Her somewhat nasal quality blends nicely with Conti to deliver a very powerful song.

It’s back to power metal, fast paced riffage with ‘The Great Escape’, a song not about Steve McQueen but rabbits doing a runner! It’s another fine tune with a great vocal delivery from Conti again and a strangled guitar solo that works really well.

“They Must Die” is the darkest song in nature on the album and has an opening slow, heavy riff reflecting the evil within the song. With guest vocals from Tim “Ripper” Owens as the ‘evil’ rabbit General Woundwart the song increases in pace into another fast paced metal tune with “Ripper” a decent, in character, vocal.

“Beware The Train” is an instrumental on which the band delves into their inner Dream Theater in places. It starts with a fairly standard metal riff before the power metal side takes over.

There is another folksy start to ‘United’ featuring Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica) on vocals before the riffs kick in. More traditional in structure with some staccato guitar work it develops into a song with an almost prog rock feel to it by the end.

Penultimate song ‘The Showdown’ is 11 minutes long and starts with a huge Orchestrational arrangement. The song varies between fast paced old skool metal riffage and mid tempo ones with some fine soloing from Guido Benedetti and Luca Venturelli. There is also a mellow Pink Floydish middle section and the song ends with a narration by Conti over an acoustic outro.

The album finishes with melodic hard rock tune ‘Last Breath’ which brings the album nicely to a close.

Overall this is a decent power metal album worth a listen with possibly the synopsis for Watership Down at your side.

The band......

Alessandro Conti – vocals

Guido Benedetti – Guitars

Luca Venturelli – Guitars

Leone Villani Conti – Bass

Luca Setti - Drums

Review by Andy Gillen

VIDEO - get ready for Evil Scarecrow's Bloodstock appearance with Hurricanado single and video

WELL they are legends in their own lunchtimes, stars in their own eyes, and festival favourites - they are Evil Scarecrow.

From having thousands doing the 'Crabulon' to hilarious videos they are something special - probably special needs.

Some 'diss' them for being a parody on metal, sneer at their, well frankly, ridiculous stage outfits, but don't give a flying fiddler's fuck about that. They are brilliant in our eyes. Watch the new video at the end of this post

Ahead of their upcoming Bloodstock slot they have released a new single and video...and the single is free...

Working in conjunction with Bloodstock Open Air Festival, the lovely people at Evil Scarecrow are giving their new single 'Hurricanado' away free on the Bloodstock Festival website, all you have to do is sign up to either of these links for the track: http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/subscribe-form or:http://eepurl.com/b9mfEr
'Hurricanado' will also be available to buy from all the usual outlets - iTunes, Amazon, Google Play etc now.

The fantastic new video for 'Hurricanado' is out now & Dr Hell had a few words about the herculean feat it took to make:

“The final sequence was recorded in a single take, all we have done is sped up and slowed down some of the footage. It was a huge choreographed effort and we had amazing team of people that were literally in the shadows moving props in and out and throwing space hoppers and tricycles at us. It took weeks of planning and scripting and the whole sequence took about 16 minutes to run through each time. We’ll be releasing some time lapse footage of the chaos down the line"

This year Evil Scarecrow are returning to the Main Stage at Bloodstock on Friday, they’ve also got a brand new single which they will perform live for the very first time during their set and have partnered with Bloodstock to bring it to you as soon as it’s released. Dr Hell has this to say:

“We really wanted to do something special for Bloodstock this year so we’ve fast tracked some music genius (*coughs*) from our upcoming album especially for the BOA fans, which will be available for free through the Bloodstock website! So, it should give you time to learn all of the ropey latin chanting that we crowbarred in-between some thunderstorm samples. Writing music is easy. It’s another massive Scarecrow hit and we expect to see you all spinning on the spot for ‘Hurricanado’. Bloodstock will be the first time we have ever played the song live, so the dizzier you are the less obvious our mistakes will be."

Upcoming shows include
29th October, Corporation, Sheffield
26th November, Midlands Metal Crusade, Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton
23rd-26th March 2017, HRH United, Wale


Evil Scarecrow are:
Dr Rabid Hell, vocals, guitars
Brother Dimitri Pain, guitars
Kraven Morrdeth, bass
Princess Luxury, keyboards
Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist, drums


NEWS: Relive Ramblin Man Fair with live CD - dates announed for 2017

RAMBLIN Man Fair would like to say a massive thank you to all who came, performed and contributed to make this years festival so special. (read out review here)

"We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received from our staging of the Ramblin’ Man Fair festival at Mote Park, Maidstone across the weekend of 23/24 July 2016.#

We had over 22,000 people on site over the weekend. There was a fantastic atmosphere with no trouble of any sort and no arrests. The cream of global classic rock, prog, country and blues music delivered some incredible performances.

"We are delighted to be able to put on the festival at Mote Park. A wonderful location and we are very happy to be able to put money back into the local community via the council. We had customers from all over Europe and the UK and we think the festival acts as a great showcase for Maidstone and Kent. The festival also yielded a triple live CD set featuring donated songs by over 35 artists with all proceeds going to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy.

"We are aware of 35 complaints made to the council relating to noise levels. Whilst we were well within agreed noise levels we take the concerns of any residents very seriously. We will be continuing to work with the Council to minimise any disruption to the local residents whilst working very hard to make this event a continued highlight of the Maidstone calendar in the coming years. Early bird tickets for 2017 are onside now!” - Chris Ingham, Spirit of Rock owner and Creative Director of Ramblin Man

Rock fans can relive this years’ Ramblin’ Man Fair with the official live CD, now available to purchase online exclusively from - www.liveherenow.com.
The deluxe three-disc compilation or digital download, was recorded at this years’ Ramblin’ Man Fair and features over 3 hours of live music from 35 Artists, including Sunday night headliners Black Stone Cherry. All profits from the release will be donated to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy.

Recorded by specialist live music service, Live Here Now, the album was made available to festival-goers ‘instantly’ on Sunday night as Black Stone Cherry left the stage. The tracks were handpicked by the artists taking part, including ‘Planet Rock Stage’ set highlights from Thunder, Thin Lizzy, Europe, The Cadillac Three and more.

The album also features artists from the ‘Prog In The Park’ and the ‘Outlaw Country and Blues’ stages, including tracks from Family, Procol Harum, Uriah Heep, Von Hertzen Brothers, The Zombies, Purson, Walter Trout, Hayseed Dixie, The White Buffalo, Whiskey Myers, Blurred Vision and Devin Townsend & Che’ Aimee Dorval’s Casualties Of Cool (see tracklist for more).

Marcus “MJ” Salisbury, Head of Production for Live Here Now, said “We are incredibly privileged to be working with some of the most talented rock, prog and blues bands from across the generations. This compilation not only captures the incredible spirit of the festival, but will also raise money for Nordoff Robbins, who help change the lives of vulnerable children and adults across the UK with music therapy.”

The CD (£20 + P&P) and digital download (£10) are available to order now from www.liveherenow.com.

Track list
CD 1

CD 2

CD 3

Nordoff Robbins is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to changing the lives of vulnerable and isolated people.
We support thousands of people through our own center’s and by working in partnership with a wide range of organisations including care homes, schools and hospitals. In the hands of a trained practitioner, music therapy can be used to support people living with a wide range of needs. It can help a child with autism to communicate, unlock forgotten memories for those living with dementia or provide comfort for someone facing a terminal illness. Music therapy can be life-changing for so many people.

Ramblin ' Man Fair to take place on 29th & 30th July 2017

The festival takes place in the beautiful Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent – the garden of England. The park is one of the largest in South East England with more than 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30 acre lake. With multiple travel links via train (Ashford International, Maidstone East and Maidstone West in close proximity) and road (with three park and rides available around Maidstone). The festival site is also perfect for European festival goers with easy links to the London airports, the Channel and Ferries to and from mainland Europe.
Early Bird Ticket Link - https://ramblinmanfair17.eventbrite.co.uk/

To keep up to date with all Ramblin’ Man Fair announcements please like, follow and visit us
www.ramblinmanfair.com - www.twitter.com/RamblinManFair -www.facebook.com/ramblinmanfair

NEWS: Award-winning Arkells launch new video ahead of

ROCK quintet Arkells shared the video for their new song “Drake’s Dad” from their highly anticipated new album, Morning Report, out next Friday, August 5 via Last Gang Records/eOne in the U.S. and Universal Music Canada.
The video, which features Drake’s dad himself, is below - it's not our usual stuff but we like it, for reasons we don't know, but here's the story...

“Last summer I was on a road trip with my best friends through the American south, and in the magic of the night, we happened to meet Drake’s dad - Dennis Graham - in a Memphis bar,” Max said. “He couldn’t have been more gracious, especially given that there were 16 of us, drunk on friendship and cheap American beer. This chance encounter inspired this song.”

“The narrative carries on to Nashville for some more shenanigans, and finishes with us all crawling back in to bed back home in Hamilton, very tired and missing our girls,” Max continued. “I love writing about the joy of friendship, and the lighthouse that home can be while you're out lost at sea. ‘Drake’s Dad’ is Elton John meets Kanye West. Southern groove, classic piano changes, 808s, and a gospel choir."

It only seemed fitting when the time came to film the video that the crew head back to Memphis and figure out a way to get Drake’s dad in it.

For more information on their tour dates and pre-order packages, please visithttp://arkellsmusic.com.  Watch the video for their first single “Private School” from their new album HERE. Morning Report can be pre-ordered at iTunes.

NEWS: DAMNATION FESTIVAL add four new bands to the bill

Italian doom trio Ufomammut are the latest addition to this year's Damnation Festival line up.

They'll play the Eyesore Merch Stage at Leeds University Union on Saturday, November 5.

Also joining the bill are a selection of some of Europe's best emerging bands; France's post-metal sludge outfit, Erlen Myer, Norway's blackened hardcore quintet, Attan (who will make their debut UK appearance), and England's newest doom heroes, Conjurer.

Ufomammut said: "We're very excited to be a part of Damnation festival this coming November.

"Looking forward to be there to play Ecate for the last time and share stage with a lot of cool bands!"

A suitable replacement for Nails - who broke up without warning or an explanation last week - is in the works.

Announced so far are: Electric Wizard, Abbath, Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Enslaved, Ufomammut, Akercocke, Black Tusk, Bossk, Ne Obliviscaris, Oceans of Slumber, Erlen Myer and Conjurer.

Tickets, priced just £38, are on sale now via the website and Facebook.

Friday, July 29, 2016

NEWS: Nightwish plan November DVD release of Wembley and Tampere shows

AFTER touring for a year and a half throughout almost every corner of the world and leaving fans of all nationalities breathless, the time has come for NIGHTWISH to immortalise their ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ tour on DVD.

Therefore, the symphonic metal visionaries are set to release their new live milestone ‘Vehicle Of Spirit’ on November 4th, featuring not only two full concerts, but also plenty of bonus material.

"The title ‘Vehicle Of Spirit’ came from a friend of Troy's, who after seeing our show a few years ago defined NIGHTWISH as 'A vehicle of spirit that defies category'.

“That beautiful description has followed us ever since, and felt like a perfect match as the DVD title," states keyboardist and songwriter Tuomas Holopainen.

Sold out arenas and spectacular shows with never before seen pyro effects, wind machines, video screens and of course NIGHTWISH's incomparable melodies are the elements that made their latest tour so unique. Special highlights for the band have been two particular shows though:

The one in London, where they not only played their hymns such as 'Élan' and the majestic 'The Greatest Show On Earth' to more than 12,000 fans, but also welcomed the world famous scientist Richard Dawkins live on stage with them. Richard Dawkins´ works had a massive impact on the thematical orientation of their latest studio album ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’.
Finland's Tampere show however was a home run for the band and NIGHTWISH had never before had such an immense stage production with them.

"I would say the main part of the DVD are those two shows, both Wembley and Tampere. Wembley is mentioned first due to its recognisability and legendary status. I remember the show being very special, both a goal achieved, and a starting point. The crowd was heartwarming.

“The presence of Richard Dawkins on stage was just mind-blowing. The overall experience was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill ride! The show in Ratina Stadion, Tampere, was a home crowd specialty (for 4/6th of the band) with the biggest stage production we've ever had. A lovely atmosphere throughout the concert, with many same faces in the front row as there were 15 years ago. Heartfelt."

When it comes to the fine artwork of the DVD, NIGHTWISH decided to walk a different path this time and come up with a little alternative idea, as Tuomas explains:

"We didn`t want to include a traditional band shot for the cover, as on the previous DVD release ‘Showtime, Storytime’. So we started brainstorming on different options and the idea of a classic silent movie era Hollywood visuals quickly came up. With those classic slogans the cover has a little tongue-in-cheek-touch to it, but it's still classy and eye catching in its simplicity and originality."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

NEWS: Brain Tentacles - Metallic Jazz anyone?

THE self-titled debut album from mind-melting metallic jazz trio BRAIN TENTACLESis a journey in improvised and structured experimental sound from three venerable scene veterans.

Featuring Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Bloodiest, etc) on horns, voice, electric piano and synth, Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste, etc) on drums, and Aaron Dallison (Keelhaul) on bass, voice, and synth, Brain Tentaclessees the threepiece weaving their way through twisted, seizure-inducing compositions that call to mind the insanity of John Zorn's storied project Naked City and Mike Patton's most erratic experiments.
BRAIN TENTACLES are said to be "masters of tension: the album moves unpredictably from mathy chaos to ponderous, juddering grooves that warp time in their wake, darting from one extreme to the other via insane rhythms and truly progressive, expansive songwriting." Occasional vocals (including a guest appearance from Oxbow's Eugene Robinson) lend an even sharper edge to the album, which is sure to blow away fans of instrumental and vocal-driven music alike. Produced by Sanford Parker (Minsk, YOB, etc) and features artwork by Jef Whitehead of Leviathan!

The first new song from the album, "The Sadist," has premiered via Decibel Magazine - hear it now at this location or below. You can also stream the album track "Kingda Ka" (which was previously released on a split with labelmates Ringworm) via the above Decibel link or here.

Brain Tentacles is due out this September 30 on CD/LP/Digital via Relapse Records. Physical and digital pre-orders are available at this location.
BRAIN TENTACLES support dissonant death metal legends Gorguts and stoner/prog heavyweights Intronaut on a month-long tour of North America this coming October.

NEWS: Sinocence to celebrate 15 years of metal muscle with October show and video release

SINOCENCE will celebrate their 15th year of loudness and producing damn fine metal for fans in Northern Ireland, the UK and further afield.

With a host of great releases under their belt, and now two thirds of the way through their 'No Gods, No Masters' trilogy and the last one being recorded they have battled through a host of issues and now are stronger than ever.

With horns still raised high they are playing a birthday show on October 1st and have released a new video.

The show will see the Sinners headline a powerful line-up with Gasoline Outlaws, Two Tales of Woe and S.L.U.T.S in Limelight2.

The video is for the track 'Ascension Code' from NGNM2 and was produced by Andy Pilkington from Very Metal Art. Watch it below.

VIDEO: Screaming Eagles team up with Pontus Snib

NORTHERN Irish rockers, Screaming Eagles, recently recorded a version of the classic INXS/Jimmy Barnes stormer, 'Good Times'.

And, who else did they rope in other than Bonafide axeman and blues guitarist extraordinaire, Pontus Snibb.

Originally recorded as a bonus track for the Screagles album 'Stand Up And Be Couted'.

When they approached Pontus he was quick to say yes.

"Chris Fry of Screaming Eagles is a singer that gives me 'that' feeling, so when he asked if I wanted to a duet of the classix INXS/Jimmy Barnes hit I was all game".

Check it out below and see what you think.

VIDEO: Zlatanera unleash lyric video for Holy Man's Crook

ARE you heading to Bloodstock? If so then you better check out Zlatanera when they play the Jager Stage.

They've just released a new lyric video for the track from their début release 'Legerdemain' (review is here). You can also listen to some of the secrets of how they got their name here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

NEWS: More added to HRH III bill

Destruction, Metal Church, Criminal, Cancer and Onslaught lead a cast of other great acts, who will join Alestorm, Hammerfall and Napalm Death at next year’s Hard Rock Hell United III...

HRH united III, which has been sold out on accommodation since May this year, is pleased to announce another string of bands to an already impressive Metal Weekender.

German Trash Lords Destruction are first up with San Fran Metalheads, Metal Church making a rare UK appearance. Joining them are UK Trash legends Onslaughtand Cancer, plus Chileans Thrash Masters, Criminal

To see Destruction click here https://youtu.be/5TgESUwAeiA

To see Metal Church click here https://youtu.be/XZnwP9YL8yA

Other bands joining the bill include Power Quest, Skyclad, Waylander, NightMare World, Re-Animator, Ten Foot Wizard, Slabdragger, Solitary, Warlord, Sodomised Cadaver,

King Creature and Torous 

HRH United III takes place @ Camp HRH, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales on 23rd-26th march 2017. There are now less than 58 weekend passes left for the entire event which can be secured online @ www.hrhunited.com or by ringing Rebecca on 0207 193 9564

Current line up stands as follows

Alestorm , Hammerfall , Destruction

Napalm Death , Armored Saint , Venom Inc, 

Onslaught, Metal Church,  Cancer,

Grand Magus,  Evil Scarecrow, Criminal

Skyclad , Power Quest , Kampfar

Cirith Gorgor , Nightmare World , RSJ,

Trepalium , Old Corpse Road , Finsterforst,

Ereb Altor , Hecate Enthroned , Fury,

Virus , Re-Animator , Solitary , Warlord,

Ten Foot Wizard , Slabdragger

The Bastard Sons , Forever Never ,

The Raven Age , Hell Horse , PIST,

Dusteroid , Desert Storm , Collibus,

Sodomised Cadaver , King Creature ,

Derange , Boss Keloid , The Ever Living,

Torous , Bast , Gevaudan

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

NEWS: Release date set for Alter Bridge's new platter of rock action

ALTER BRIDGE have announced their fifth studio album, The Last Hero, will be released on October 7 through Napalm Records. The Last Hero is the follow up to 2013's critically acclaimed Fortress, which swept into album charts worldwide - including a #6 slot in the UK, #12 in the US (Billboard 200), #7 in Germany and #4 in Austria.

The band worked with producer and long time collaborator Michael 'Elvis' Baskette to craft the songs for The Last Hero, recently showcasing those tracks at a special listening party for fans at The Beacham club in the band's home base of Orlando, FL.  The sleeve artwork was also revealed.

Pre-orders for the digital album, the CD, and limited vinyl editions of The Last Hero go live today, July 26, via the following retailers:
DIGITAL album:
iTunes (http://smarturl.it/TheLastHero_iTunes)
Amazon (http://smarturl.it/TheLastHero_Amz-)
Google Play (http://smarturl.it/TheLastHero_GP)
Spotify (http://smarturl.it/SMAL_Stream)

UK: Townsend Music (http://alterbridge.tmstor.es)

REST OF THE WORLD: Napalm Records Online Store (https://shop.napalmrecords.com/alterbridge).

The first single, “Show Me A Leader”, premiered yesterday via radio stations worldwide . "Lyrically, it reflects the frustrations that a lot of people are feeling with the current state of the world,” admits Myles Kennedy about the new single. “The world is looking for trustworthy effective leadership and not this undignified dog and pony show that’s really made a mockery of our system.” “It’s indicative of our process,” Mark Tremonti adds. “Myles had this guitar intro that I loved, and I had the chorus. We put them together. The words call out for a proper leader.”
The band has released an exclusive video visualizer to present the single “Show Me A Leader”. Watch it at https://youtu.be/jhRh0VdHhlc.

The Last Hero's track listing runs as follows:
1)  Show Me A Leader
2)  The Writing On The Wall
3)  The Other Side
4)  My Champion
5)  Poison In Your Veins
6)  Cradle To The Grave
7)  Losing Patience
8)  This Side Of Fate
9)  You Will Be Remembered
10)  Crows On A Wire
11)  Twilight
12)  Island Of Fools
13)  The Last Hero
14)  Last Of Our Kind (bonus track)

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Ramblin Man Fair a roaring success again

DIVERSE, eclectic, raucous, but most of all fun – the second year of Ramblin Man Fair took the template from the previous year and brought it to a new level.

20,000 fans of rock, blues - and even new country – joined in the massive music party in Mote Park, Maidsetone, Kent.

And, there was no-one without a huge grin. Even the weather gods decided to join in the festivities, blessing the audience with sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s.

The weather may have enhanced the enjoyment, but music was why so many – of so many varying ages – gathered in the garden county of England.

It may have been an ‘English’ festival, but it had an international flavour. From Kentucky to Australia, all parts of the globe brought the groove.

Probably what sets Ramblin’ Man apart from the rest of the festivals is the range of different styles and genres of music available. Fans of all out hard rock could walk down to check out acts on the Outlaw Country stage, watch new and upcoming talent on the nesly added Rising stage or even sample some lengthier tunes on the Prog In The Park stage.

Whether it was Hawkwind or Hayseed Dixie, Whitesnake or Walter Trout, there was plenty of everything for old fans and not so old.

Day One:

WITH queues stretching across the idyllic Mote Park well in advance of the gates opening it was clear from the variety of t-shirts that they are here to see not just the headliners.

With four stages it was impossible to catch every act (anything not covered here will be on our sister site) but that was the challenge facing Ramblin ‘Manners’ – and not a bad challenge given the wealth of talent on display.

Rising rockers, Inglorious, opened the Planet Rock main stage, and after a recent set of dates with Dead Daisies their craft has been honed to a sharp edge. Despite a few technical hitches, and a crackling from the PA, it didn’t take Nathan and the guys to get into their stride after opener ‘Until I Die’.

Nathan James' experience shines through, cajoling the early afternoon to make their way to the front. Andreas has helped add a shine to the whole set – and given that he only joined two weeks before they recorded their début album, released in February.

Stand-out tracks, ‘Girl Got A Gun’ and ‘Unaware’ closed the set to applause, and apparently quite a few making their way to purchase ‘Inglorious’ t-shirts.

Rotating membership ‘super group’, Dead Daisies, took to the stage as if headliners, justifiably so given the stellar cast. Marco Mendoza and John Corabi stalked the stage as if they wanted to raise the already soaring levels of mercury.

Meanwhile on the Rising Stage the insanely energetic Massive Wagons, who have been touring with Ginger Wildheart on the back of their ‘Welcome To The World’ album, hit the stage with verve.

Bax was a bundle of bouncing moves, as he led the band on a merry dance, courageously opening with tracks off their new release, as Adam and Carl tried to avoid the singer’s wild mic stand.

The catchy ‘Tokyo’ and chunky ‘Nails’ set the tone for their half hour, and despite at least one guitar glitch’ the five-piece were there to prove that they may be on the Rising Stage now, but it won’t be too long until they are playing to larger crowds.

While Terrorvision were tearing up the main stage with a range of catchy melodic work the Outlaw Country stage was beginning to fill out in anticipation of the appearance of Supersuckers.

Variously described as ‘cowpunk’ ‘country rock’ or ‘garage rock’ it must have been difficult to decide where they could be placed, as their brand of humorous, hilarious lyrics sometimes hide the fact that they are fine musicians.

Eddie Spaghetti has more one-liners than a stand-up comedian and his easy banter had the packed marquee – in text speak “LOL”.

The audience was familiar with every chorus, and needed no encouragement to join in describing one of Eddie’s ex’s as ‘Pretty Fucked Up’.

Drummer, Chris, celebrated his birthday at Ramblin Man, and Eddie suggested that all he wanted as a present was some marijuana…which, of course led the band into the track ‘Non Addictive Marijuana’.

Yes, Supersuckers have developed as late more of a country feel, but this was rock at its purest, four guys playing what they enjoy to fans who want to have a good time.

Ginger Wildheart is one of the true road warriors, and has more projects, such as Hey Hello, on the go than any living human being aside from Bruce Dickinson.

But what belies is his ability to produce melodic, almost easy listening rock with a distinctive punk ‘feel’ to the music. ‘Mother City’ and ‘Anyway But Maybe’ were among the delights from the band.

Europe are among the rock royalty from the 80s who have re-emerged to command a more prominent role on tours and on festival stages. Opening with ‘War Of Kings’ they quickly had those on camp chairs rising to their feet.

Joey Tempest may have lost the long blonde mane, but he hasn’t lost his distinctive voice and stage presence. Cheekily introducing one song á la Coverdale with the line “Ere’s a song for ya” by the time Europe played ‘Rock The Night’ the main stage audience was in the band’s hands with John Norum laying down the licks as if it was 1984 all over again.

However, down at the Outlaw Country Stage there was a cover band playing… Not any old covers band, it was a blur of fiddles, banjos and good ole boys in the shape of Hayseed Dixie.

Make no mistake about it, despite the laughs and the wild playing of songs such as ‘War Pigs’, Ace of Spades and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ these are not only talented, but able to manipulate an audience into wild abandon.

And, yes the familiar chant of “Coldplay Sucks” was played out – and for those yet to see the band (they have five UK dates in November) we won’t spoil the twist to that shout-out.

While some see the band’s “rockgrass” as a piss-take on rock and metal they are play each song with genuine affection.

Amongst the pioneers of the twin guitar attack of the 70s Thin Lizzy’s back catalogue is packed with songs that resonate for several generations of fans of rock.

Of course, only Scot Gorham is the only remaining original member and many see this is a cash-in on the name, but give a crowd of beer-filled fans songs such as ‘Waiting for an Alibi’, ‘Emerald’ and The Boys Are Back In Town’ and it is a mass singalong.

Ricky Warwick is commanding and even before he introduced Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith on bass the crowd had spotted this special guest appearance.

And, it wasn’t the only guest on stage. Midge Ure may be mostly remembered for Ultravox and working with Bob Geldof on Live Aid, but he stood in as Lizzy guitarist for a period in the band’s past.

Of course, the set ended with ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ - we wouldn’t expect anything else.

As the strains of The Who’s ‘My Generation’ rolled out across the darkening night sky Ramblin Man Fair geared up for Day One headliners Whitesnake.

The set was marred by a series of solos – drum solos, bass solos, guitar solos that were all performed well but broke up the flow of the set.
Dave Coverdale has made the smart move to draw a line under his lengthy career, as he no longer has the voice to carry many of the hits, and wisely lets his current line-up pick up many of the line he used to roar out.What he does, and does well, is make the audience feel that they are part of a massive party.

Tracks like ‘Slide It In’, ‘Love Ain’t No Stranger’, ‘Fool For Your Loving’ and ‘Slow And Easy’ had almost everyone at Mote Park join in, but as Coverdale closed with ‘Is This Love’ the main emotion as he prepares to hang up his mic for the last time was “We Wish You Well”.

Day Two

ONCE again the weather in Maidstone was baking the 20,000 ramblers as they queued with no signs of exhaustion from the previous days festivities at Ramblin Man Fair.

First up on the main stage were the Graveltones, but at 13:25 the Blues Stage was packed as Pat McManus strapped his guitar around his neck and did with his six-string what many axemen could only dream of doing.

Even those not familiar with Pat’s material were awestruck as the congenial Ulsterman tortured emotion out of his instrument with every riff, run and solo.

There is an easy banter with the crowd from Pat as Marty and Paul roll out powerful rhythms for each track.

Joking that he was “playing a fast one” so we wouldn’t spot the mistakes, no-one heard a dropped note on ‘The Bolt’.

The trademark fiddle came off the rack for Mama’s Boys ‘Runaway Dreams’ followed by an example of why Pat has been an adept at playing the traditional instrument at a very young age.

Honouring Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore Pat played his tribute to Moore with ‘Belfast Boy’ and as the set ended most mulled why he wasn’t higher on the billing.

On the main stage the Kentucky Headhunters brought their mellow southern rock groove, but truth be told it brought the mood down a bit and some of the energy of the crowd dissipated despite all seeming to enjoy their set.

Such was not the case when The Answer arrived on stage – it may be the tenth anniversary of their début release ‘Rise’ but Cormac and co show no sign of losing their energy as the band explode on to stage.

‘Under The Sky’ kicked off with such vigour that any lethargy around Mote Park was gone after the first few chords.

Cormac was his usual energetic self, bouncing around the stage like a toddler given too many e-numbers and still able to boom out tracks such as ‘Come Follow Me’ and the crowd were willing followers.

Paul was on fire with his guitar work as Mickey and James sweated bullets of rhythm. ‘Memphis Water’ was an appropriate song for those having a shot of bourbon, while ‘Preachin’ had all there considering a new career as a Baptist preacher.

Treated to tracks from the forthcoming release, ‘Solus’ and The Answer left stage to well deserved applause.

Just before the mood again slowed down a bit for Cadillac Three’s southern groove down at the Blues stage Tax The Heat were impressive with a nice blend of rock influences delivered with talent.

But if there is one band who can raise the rafters of a stage and have a crowd in the palm of their Aussie hands.

We were ‘Ready To Rock’ as Joel’s springs unwound in a blur of proper pub rock on a festival delivered in a slab of riffs.

Sure there was much codology in everything they did, but you can’t bluff good music. David Roads is the rhythm guitar foil to Joel’s lead work and rough and ready, gruff singing.

The in-between chat was as usual full of fun, as Joel scanned the audience pointing out all the ladies wearing black band t-shirts was, of course, the cue for ‘Girls In Black’.

No Airbourne show is complete without Joel climbing…and as part of the ‘rock ‘n’ roll pantomime’ there was a warning in a pre-recorded interview that he wouldn’t be allowed to mount the rigging, and if he did the plug would be pulled. So, he climbed the rigging.

There then appeared a gentleman gesturing to the sound desk to cut the sound. Joel went up and down twice, before admitting defeat and then, on shoulders, went into the crowd to much acclaim and scrambling with phones to get a shot.

Title track of the new album, ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ sounds strong while ‘Runnin’ Wild’ closer had all there going wild.

Unfortunately Airbourne clashed with Hawkwind, meaning the crowd was split a little, but as Thunder came up there was definitive evidence that fans of classic British rock were gathering to celebrate.

Smooth, slick and lovely the band re-created that sense of the glorious past, without the nostalgia. Danny and Luke have a telepathic bond around the sound.

This was a ‘Backstreet Symphony’ in a sun-bathed field, the band on ‘Higher Ground’ yet down-to-earth.

Love might have ‘…Walked in’ but we were all enjoying that ‘Dirty Love’. When they played ‘I love You More Than Rock ‘n’ Roll’ girls and guys looked at each other and proclaimed, “no we love rock ‘n’ roll more than anything else”

Thunder wowed Ramblin Man and the acclaim from the crowd as the coolness of Danny and the band eased all into that state of rock bliss.

With the various clashes it was not possible to check out all the bands, but a few tunes from Procul Haram were the perfect way to kick back and admire tracks such as ‘Hummingbird’.

Some might have questioned the choice of Black Stone Cherry as Sunday headliners given their relatively young career compared to the likes of Whitesnake et cetera but their rise has been steady from 200-seater venues in the UK through to 3,000 seaters it was not only right but just that the band closed the festival.

There is something warming about what Black Stone Cherry do on stage, there is power, but that power doesn’t overwhelm, there is passion, but the melody is never lost.

As Chris bellowed out ‘Me And Mary Jane’ the vitality of the band on stage transferred to the crowd. By the time ‘Rain Wizard’ was played there was a real sense of occasion.

How the band managed to perform at this level when they had just flown in from the States and were flying straight out back was remarkable. There was no sense of them being flat or overwhelmed to be headlining their first UK festival.

Ben, John and Chris were constantly on the move, while John’s drums were the steady but perfect thing to stop the show running out of control.

‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Maybe Someday’ were stand-outs, but as the final chords of ‘Things My Father Said’ the band chose to pay tribute to Lemmy with a storming version of ‘Ace of Spades’. Truly a great set and the doubters were converted…


Billed as a bijou but well sized festival Ramblin Man Fair attracted a wide, wide variety of people. The 20,000 punters were as diverse as the line-up. Babies were held aloft on parents’ shoulders, children looked up from their tablets, surprised by the music, teenagers realised that the songs they heard in their father’s car sounded so much better live, and adults of all ages celebrated with beer and singing their lungs out.

Next year? Hard to top, but we are pretty sure that it will once again sell-out...…

Review by Jonny - Pictures by Darren McVeigh - reproduction of words and pictures only by written consent.