In the middle of the current heat wave we disappeared off to Mote Park in Maidstone for ‘Ramblin Man 2018’, a music festival for proper rockers. It being our first visit, we opted just to go on the Saturday, but next year, we may well do the full two days.
Possibly more sedate than most music festivals (whilst quite wide, the average age of the audience is not much lower than the average age of the performers), the ambience is rather more relaxed and less frenetic than other out door gigs held over a number of days. The music snobs amongst us might even say that the audience is more discerning and appreciative, in that they actually listen to the performers.*
I have to say that the music I liked best was nearly all on the Outlaw Country Stage, where the majority of music was Southern Rock oriented, but with country influences as the stage name might suggest. The two best sets were by Skinny Molly – they sent a shiver down my spine when they segued from ‘This is for Y’all’ straight into ‘Free Bird’- and Steve Earle and the Dukes, though I could have done without the bagpipes on the first number.
Honourable mentions to Me and That Man and to Myles Kennedy, though a little less backing drone would have been nice on the latter.
On the main stage we caught the end of the set by Gun: good and rocky, but not entirely my cup of tea.
We paid one visit to the Rising stage, where the new bands play. Henry’s Funeral Shoe (good name) were playing when we got there. One guy with a guitar and a drummer. He clearly knew what he was doing with the guitar, but chose not to play anything listenable and we managed about two minutes of listening to any angry young man being angry at the crowd and taking it out on his instrument. We didn’t go back; I opted for a burger instead.
After Steve Earle’s set, there was a half hour wait before the day’s headliners came out on the main stage: Mott the Hoople. As anticipated, they started off with Golden Age of Rock’n’Roll and then played 90 minutes of their classics, finishing off with ‘Saturday Gigs’ as an encore. The band played with an energy that belied their age and kept their collective tongue firmly in their cheek**, for a fun and entertaining set. The only downside was that they didn’t seem quite as tight at times as you would expect from a band of their vintage, where the core of the group has been together for the majority of the past fifty years.
Nonetheless, good times and well worth the visit.
*Of course, that is quite rude and I would never say such a thing. Probably.
**Aerial Bender is quite mad.