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Ramblin' Man Fair

Live Review

Venue: Mote Park, Maidstone

The spirit of rock and metal finds a new haven

A celebration of classic rock, prog and blues, the inaugural Ramblin’ Man proves to be an all-ages affair, as denim-clad metalheads rub shoulders with rock scene veterans and families with young kids, emphasising the communal nature and continuity this festival encapsulates so well.

Going against the soulful if cheese-laden AOR of FM on the main stage, MESSENGER [8] are a somewhat more subtle proposition, taking on added resonance in the open air. At once open-ended and intimate, songs morph as if a barometer for some capricious pastoral spirit. SAXON [8] get off to a faltering start as they adjust to a shorter than normal stage time, but Biff Byford is a master rabble-rouser and the likes of Wheels Of Steel and a storming Denim And Leather are received like incitements on the eve of battle. DREAM THEATER [5] repel as many as they enrapt, and for all their impressive musicianship and metal chops, the life of the songs are smothered by the band’s self-importance, reaching a nadir with the wince-inducing The Spirit Carries On.

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