Ramblin’ Man Fair
Mote Park Maidstone
July 30th 2017
I was at Ramblin’ Man Fair today for a few reasons. The first was because in my opinion this is without doubt the most enjoyable festival there is; the people are friendly, the facilities are great, but most of all there is so much kickass music you can’t fail to love it. This is my kind of festival.
The next reason was that I was there to shoot (photography wise before you call the police) Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, who were performing an acoustic set in the VIP area, then playing a longer set in the Blues Tent later in the day. But although this kept me busy for a lot of the day, I made sure that I was able to catch one of my favourite bands at the moment, who were performing on the Rising Stage at 5:00 pm, and they are Blackwater Conspiracy.
Blackwater Conspiracy are a band from Northern Ireland, and in a previous incarnation all the members apart from their new addition Kevin Brennan who plays keys, were Million Dollar Reload. The new evolution sees the change in direction from Hard Rock to a very cool Blues Rock sound, which absolutely suits this band down to the ground. They were very, very good as Million Dollar Reload, but with the addition of a classy keyboard player they really have taken their music to the next level.
They have recently released their debut album ‘Shootin’ The Breeze,’ which I can say without any doubt is one of if not the best debut albums I’ve ever heard. In my opinion there is not one bad song on it and the four bonus tracks on the vinyl version are also amazing and worth the purchase alone.
Well, so far they have stayed pretty much in Northern Ireland with their gigs, apart from a short set at Download festival this year, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to make, so this was gonna be my first time seeing these guys in this format live.
They were playing the Rising Stage, where many a great band has played over the past three years that the festival has been going, and sure enough, just before 5:00, there was a sizeable crowd already assembled ready for some good old Rock ‘n’ Roll. The band came on stage to loud applause from an expectant crowd, and within the first few notes the place was jumping. They started off with ‘Waiting for Hollywood,’ which has the most beautiful keyboard intro before the guitars kick in, followed quickly by the rest of the band.
Straight away the crowd were enthralled by this amazing sound backed up by Phil Conalane’s amazing vocal talent flowing from the stage. Before the end of this first song I swear the crowd almost doubled. They followed this with ‘The Monday Club’ which is currently on Planet Rock’s playlist, so is a song a lot of the punters were already familiar with, and this was followed by ‘Roll The Dice,’ a rip roaring tune which shows all their musicianship. Half way through the far too short set and the crowd were bouncing. Next up was ‘Hanging Tree,’ which again is an amazing song that really gives Phil’s vocal range the full workout. The penultimate song was ‘Penny for Your Dirty Mind,’ which is a slightly slower mid tempo ballad of a song which was greeted with rapturous applause from the now hooked and ever growing crowd. Last but not least was the rip roaring ’85 Rockstar,’ which is a beast of a track that literally had the crowd going absolutely wild jumping and bouncing and singing along with this amazing band.
The set was short but was enough to show just how good these guys are, and they will be huge. I can’t wait for them to sort out a tour for this album, and I would urge you to go to any of the dates that are near you and see one of the best Rock ‘n’ Roll bands that you will see for many a year.
The band are Phil Conalane (Vocals/Guitar), Brian Mallon (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Kie McMurray (Bass/Vocals), Fionnbharr O’Hagain (Drums) and Kevin Brennan (Keyboards/Vocals).