From Scorpions to Anathema, Gregg Allman to Alcest, you’ll find a killer track for all the Ramblin’ Man bands below. Tune in and get in the festival mood…
SATURDAY: CLASSIC ROCK STAGE
Are they going quietly? Are they hell. Germany’s finest plan to retire next year, but not before they’ve rocked the stuffing out of Ramblin’ Man. The Zoo’s got everything, from swaggering verses to a singalong chorus and screaming guitar solos.
Pull Me Under
An oldie, a proggie, but a goodie. If this epic eight-minute slab of time-signature bending madness doesn’t get you in the mood for Dream Theater’s Saturday set, then nothing will.
Wheels Of Steel
Owwww! Back when Biff was a mere slip of a lad this track helped put Saxon on the heavy metal map, and it’s still their signature tune today. A riff to die for.
Blue Öyster Cult
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
A timeless classic. The definitive Blue Öyster Cult song and a bona fide rock staple, even on the 10 millionth time you’ve heard it. Could do with a little more cowbell, though.
The melodic-rock veterans are overlords of the mega-memorable AOR hook – something they proved as long ago as 1986 with this, the opening track of their debut album, Indiscreet.
No Hot Ashes
She Drives Me Crazy
Popular faces on the 80s Belfast rock scene, No Hot Ashes returned to the live circuit a couple of years back. This single of theirs is a hair-charged, synth-tastic AOR trip.
Their frontman is a superbike champion and they deal in no-arsing-around hard rock, which they polished during support slots with Aerosmith, Status Quo and others. This one’s a monster of melodious, 21st-century heaviness.
SATURDAY: PROG STAGE
Prog rock is a genre not necessarily known for its love songs, but Camel bucked the trend with this number from their 1974 album Mirage. The first five minutes of Lady Fantasy noodle along nicely, then the song does a complete volte face and becomes a sentimental paean to a mystical siren with a propensity for riding on moon-clouds and walking on whirlpools.
One of Liverpool’s most innovative rock exports, Anathema create an immensely atmospheric impact when they play live. Thin Air is a particularly stirring, emotional demonstration of this band’s imaginative scope.
Explorers Of The Infinite
Pendragon have a hefty back catalogue, as befits a band who formed back in 1978. But we’re going to big-up this soul-searing song from their most recent album, Men Who Climb Mountains, which delves deep into the often desperate mind-set of the aforementioned. Why, it even name-checks Ernest Shackleton! Proof positive that Nick Barrett and co. are better than they
Straddling progressive metal, old-prog noodling and spacey, Porcupine Tree-ish rock touches, Atlas Stone is a popular, inventive one to watch out for in the young Londoners’ set.
The bright young things of contemporary prog strike gold with this spiral of pensive melody, electric and acoustic layers. Moodily metallic sensibilities, lush strings and haunting vibes make this one of the most atmospheric, hypnotic things you’ll see all weekend.
Taken from the Hertfordshire rockers’ 2013 album Oceans Of Time, Contact is a soaring, thought-crunching summation of their powers. Watch out for the higher notes – it’s spine-tingling stuff.
These Four Walls
Time for some jazz-inspired crossover prog from the South West. This highlight from the band’s debut The Human Landscape is a cinematic concoction of deft guitar, brooding keyboards and proggy synths.
SATURDAY: OUTLAW COUNTRY STAGE
Jason & The Scorchers
_White Lies _
Are you ready for the country? Eighties Nashville was pretty tame until Jason Ringenberg and his unruly band of country-punks kicked in the doors with this seditious racket from their debut LP Lost & Found.
_Outlaw You _
A chip off of dad Waylon, Shooter Jennings grew up with outlaw country in his nostrils before adding heady whiffs of hard rock and psychedelia. This killer tune puts the current crop of country poseurs to rights.
_Ace Of Spades _
Body ink, beards and shit-kickin’ country that bleeds parody with genuine reverence. AC/DC, Kiss, Aerosmith and Queen have all been subjected to Hayseed Dixie’s unique ‘rockgrass’ treatment, but it’s difficult to top this hillbilly homage to Motörhead.
Driven By Demons
He’s got “half a pound of moonshine” from friends “down in Tennessee”, and come Saturday Bob will be shakin’, rattlin’ and banjoing through deep-fried outlaw slices like this.
Buck & Evans
It’s soulful screaming aplenty here as Sally Ann Evans belts it out over Chris Buck’s delicious blues-rock riff. AC/DC stand-in Bob Richards also does a stellar job on drums.
Countrified bluegrass and folk are in store with Nashville singer-songwriter Della Mae. On Empire she’s adept at blending honeyed harmonies with steel-eyed acoustic speed.
The young singer/guitarist might come from Jersey, but she has the country folk tones of a southern sweetheart. Watch out for the driving, rootsy Shivers amid the pretty slowies.
Jess & The Bandits
My Name Is Trouble
Texan bombshell Jess and her bandits deal in good-time country rock’n’roll, epitomised in this brassy yet warm, catchy head-swinger. Yee-haw!
JD & The Straight Shot
Don’t Waste My Time
A dark, smooth one to warm you up for these Americana New Yorkers. Whirling organ and renegade guitar ring powerfully next to Jim Dolan’s heartfelt vocals.
SUNDAY: CLASSIC ROCK STAGE
The big one. The glorious Allman Brothers classic from which this festival takes its name, originally on 1973’s Brothers And Sisters. The sweet, southern sound of summer, encapsulated in just under five minutes. Beautiful.
Dog House Boogie
He may sing of belonging in the dog house all his life, but this raucous slab of fuzz-blues proves that Seasick Steve is actually far more at home on stage rocking a crowd.
Pressure and Time
Great Western Valkyrie may be Rival Sons’ masterpiece but that opening riff on the title track of their second record deserves to be played in stadiums forevermore.
The Temperance Movement
Take It Back
Take the Black Keys, add a whacking great dollop of Pearl Jam and an irresistible football terrace-like ‘Woah-oh-oh’ hook, and you’ve got Take It Back, from the British rock’n’roll band of the decade.
Landing somewhere between The Faces and Aerosmith, The Quireboys were the right band at the wrong time. The singalong 7 O’Clock deserved to make them megastars and it still sounds great today.
Beautiful, dramatic land of the Northern Lights, hot springs and Björk, Iceland is also home to these compelling progressive metallers. This intense, sprawling title track (banjo included) from their latest album is a real fan favourite, and a regular in their live set.
High Class Woman
Popular live, and with good reason. The opener from their self-titled LP makes a fiery case for their 60s psych-infused rock. Electric banshee vocals, menacing rumbling bass and velvety blues guitar belie their relative youth.
SUNDAY: PROG STAGE
Hooks In You
The chartbuster from 1989’s Seasons End that kick-started the Steve Hogarth era. Hooks In You’s straight-ahead hard rock upset some fans back in the day (it’s not even three minutes long) but that seems to be forgotten now. It still packs punch.
Anderson regularly closes his shows with this classic from Jethro Tull’s seminal 1971 album Aqualung. However, knowing the contrary old bugger he probably won’t at Ramblin’ Man. So whip out your air-flute while you can.
Beautiful progressive shoegazing stuff from the formerly black metal Frenchmen, led by enigmatic multi-instrumentalist Neige (aka Stéphane Paut). 2012’s Autre Temps is an expansive mix of post-metal intensity and ethereal layers.
_The Depth Of Self-Delusion _
Polish proggers Riverside have steadily built a career with their scintillating blend of metal and art-rock. Their 2013 album Shrine Of New Generation Slaves unveiled a fresh level of sophistication into their music, not least with this stadium-ready epic.
The Pineapple Thief
Nothing At Best
Brilliant piece of driving ‘nu prog’ rock from Bruce Soord and co. With its Radiohead touches, electronic bounces and commanding rock hook it’s a fantastic song to soak up live.
Don’t Land On Me
One from prog’s outer fringes that melds Cardiacs, Henry Cow and Shudder To Think in a bombastic 16-legged psychedelic pop flurry, with added glam-grunge – and their trademark bassoon.
Violinist for Jethro Tull, String Director for Trans-Siberian Orchestra, fiddle player for the late Jon Lord… Phoebe capitalises on the violin’s colourful possibilities. Which is reflected in Nines, a vibrant feast of acoustic rock with Celtic and Middle Eastern strains.
SUNDAY: BLUES STAGE
Here I Go Again
Whitesnake’s glossed-up remake might be better known, but this original cut was not just a decent day’s work from co-writer Marsden, but also one of that band’s finest hours (or finest five minutes eight seconds, if you’re being pedantic).
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Watch ’Em Burn
An early JST cut. With its toe-tappin’, head-bouncing, infectious riff, Watch ‘Em Burn takes on new life live, doubling in length from the studio version thanks to a blistering elongated guitars solo. With people such as Joanne Shaw Taylor collecting the baton the blues is in safe hands.
Best Of Me
Now for a big blues-rock bruiser to crank up your pre-festival party. Taken from the British blueser’s last album, Temperature Rising, Best Of Me is a barrel of beefy riffage and strident wah-wah soloing.
Can’t Get Enough
A regular inclusion in the set-list at Mick Ralphs’s solo gigs (well he did write it, after all), rock classic Can’t Get Enough sounds as fresh today as it was back in ‘74 when it became Bad Company’s first, and biggest, hit.
‘Teen prodigy’ is a pretty tired cliché in the blues world, but this kid is the real deal, and songs like Medicine Man, with its swaggering riff, singalong chorus and soulful solo, prove it.
I Am The Train
A respected guitar-wielding stalwart of the British Blues scene, Siegal’s set spans a range of bluesy shades. This song, which won Best Song at 2013’s British Blues Awards, taps into his chipper countryfied side.
No More Years
Formerly of post-rockers And So I Watch You From Afar, Tony Wright (no, not the Terrorvision guy) now sings raw, rootsy folk rock as VerseChorusVerse. Lusty strumming and alt.country vibes make this a lovely number to watch out for.