David Lydiard & Naomi Jeremiah
(Photo Credits: Naomi Jeremiah)
With so many great bands on the line up and so many clashes, it’s impossible to see the incredible line up presented by Ramblin’ Man Fair in its entirety. That said, these are our Saturday Ramblin’ Man Fair 2017 highlights.
The Nile Deltas
Midlands based The Nile Deltas are a six piece band with a lot of talent. Coming across as a British Black Crowes, the band went about delivering a set full of swampy blues tones, Hammond organ runs and they possess a vocalist in Craig Blencowe who soars majestically over the top of it all. The band providing a solid, bluesy foundation for him to do his thing. The Nile Deltas have a big sound to them, but without over the top theatrics, a lesson in serving the needs of the song. Sadly bass player Bruce Hartley could not make the performance due to unforeseen circumstances so Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake, Black Sabbath) filled in as his replacement. Lots of soul and blues and an absolutely fantastic band.
What do you get when you see Dirty Thrills play? An energetic and passionate performance from a band that puts in 110% each and every time. Having recently seen them at WildFire Festival just over a month ago, that performance was very much fresh in our minds. Dirty Thrills at Ramblin’ Man Fair absolutely crushed it. We thought they were fabulous at WildFire but today there was an electricity in the air and for whatever reason, they just seemed more invigorated, more energetic and more up for it. As stated above, they will always give you that energy and passion, but they took it to another level. Feeding off the crowd, vocalist Louis James gave a tour de force performance, harking back to the classic front men of old, your Coverdale’s, your Jagger’s, your Mercury’s. On the circuit right now, there are very few, if any, that can match his vocal range along with his unrelenting energy. Superb!
Jack on guitar plays with such aggression and energy but never misses a beat, backing up Louis on vocals. Aaron prowls the stage on bass, jumping and dancing back and forth like he is on the hunt and ready to pounce. Steve on drums keeps the band ticking along with a big smile on his face, the heartbeat allowing the rest of the band to flow around him.
Getting the party started, Trucker Diablo is the quintessential party band. Hard riffs, powerful rhythms, catchy songs. Vocalist/guitarist Tom Harte leads the charge with drummer Terry Crawford, bassist Jim McGurk (with his gorgeous Rickenbacker!) and stand in guitarist Adam Parkin of Gasoline Outlaws following in his wake. This Northern Irish 4 piece is loud and proud and they tore through their set which many in attendance felt should’ve been longer, such was the popularity of their performance. The energy was high and having just played a damp Steelhouse Festival the night before, the spirits were higher. Trucker Diablo are a band that you can’t help but move to when they start playing.
Fynn Claus Grabke and Philipp Mirtschink are The Picturebooks, a powerhouse duo from Germany, currently in the midst of a tour that has lasted three years! Their work ethic is strong, they will play to five people and give the same energetic performance and give their all as they would if they were playing to five hundred. But, what a performance they give! Mirtschink on the drums gives possibly the most visceral and animalistic performance I’ve ever seen a drummer give. There is a raw, tribal feeling in the way that he plays, sometimes using just his hand to smash into the floor toms and utilising electronic triggers to give their sound more oomph.
Vocalist/Guitarist Fynn has a bit of Robb Flynn of Machine Head about him in appearance and he wields his guitars just as well as the thrash metal legend. Opening up one song on the floor and playing with his teeth to shredding some wicked slide guitar, Fynn sounds like two or three players playing at the same time. In fact, the way that The Picturebooks manipulate their instruments , they pack a punch like a full 5 or 6 piece band! Easily one of the best performances witnessed by Down The Front all year. An intense performance that you just get swept away by.
Another Northern Irish band tearing up the Rising Stage, Screaming Eagles are a slick rock outfit who know how to deliver a well crafted set of songs to get the crowd moving. Despite the rain that was lashing down, they still pulled in a huge crowd and thoroughly entertained everyone watching. With their music seeing rotation on TV shows (Rock N Roll Soul is featured in Sneaky Pete on Amazon), it’s easy to see why people enjoy listening to and watching Screaming Eagles, especially when they put on such a dynamic and entertaining performance night in, night out.
Making it feel like mid-90s Glastonbury all over again, the West Country rockers Reef delivered a sterling set to drenched festival goers, happily bouncing up and down to classics such as ‘Place Your Hands’, ‘Yer Old’ and ‘Naked’. Constantly performing with wide smiles on their faces, it is clear to see that Reef are enjoying every moment of this festival season and have been getting rave reviews wherever they’ve been playing this Summer. They bring a light hearted fun to the stage and a bounce with them that comes with over twenty year’s experience. Reef were definitely a highlight!
Bad Touch is a band in demand, and recent support slots are cementing them as one of the UK’s premier blues/rock acts. The interplay between the musicians compliments each other without ever stepping on each other’s toes. Vocalist Stevie Westwood was born to be on the stage, a charismatic front man with a warm manner, he engaged with the crowd throughout.
A set worthy of headlining the Planet Rock Main Stage, it was the Grooverider stage that got that pleasure tonight. A very wet crowd were extremely appreciative of the performance that Jay Buchanan et al put on. Packed with irresistible hooks, Rival Sons fusion of soul, funk and blues rock was the perfect antidote to the dreadful weather. An electrifying set delivered with precision, they gave everything, left nothing and left the crowd aching for more.
What were your Saturday highlights?