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Limelight, Crewe 26 October 2008
Back in 2004
the original Karnataka band dispersed to the three winds, out of the cool
mist emerged Rachel Jones in The Reasoning and, eventually, Panic Room. Ian Jones was the
only remaining member of the original band and after a period of hiatus
formed a new incarnation with vocalist Lisa
Fury, an Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna and Spanish keyboard player
Gonzalo Carrera. Now with new drummer Ian Harris, the band have embarked
on only their second post-hiatus tour and the first with their new
The Limelight has already been recent witness to a crop of current UK
melodic bands including Breathing Space, Mermaid Kiss, Quecia, The
Reasoning, and Panic Room play here in December. But this gig demonstrated
that there is still a niche for Karnataka.
There is a
maturity in the band, both in the writing and the musicianship which can
overwhelm lesser peers. The gig revitalised their core repertoire culled
from two albums released several years ago. Their hardcore followers would have been heartened to hear several 'classics'
including After The Rain, The Storm, The Journey and Heaven Can Wait.
The flow was stopped when a Dutch fan proposed to his partner on stage
before a now more meaningful version of 'The Right Time'. But as with the
band's performance, this proposal really needed a much bigger arena for
greatest impact. Heartfelt, nevertheless.
The band are currently working on their next album and played the title
track 'The Gathering Light' and several others including the excellent 'Moment In
Time', 'Forsaken', the funky 'Our World' and 'Tide To Fall' - the latter
had great urgency and possibly ended too soon.
is a wonderful player with a more jazz-rock rooted approach and - on the
earlier material in particular - was a tad less emotive for me. Gonzalo always looks like he is enjoying himself
and plays well. His
keyboards were, though, too low in the mix in the harmonies but this had
more to do with the Limelight sound system that had troubled the band at the
start of their performance.
brings a new maturity and understanding to the earlier material, she is -
frankly - the perfect front-person, a visual and aural delight, whilst Ian
Jones - who co-wrote all the original material - supplies solid bass
throughout with occasional acoustic guitar and keyboards. It is to his
great credit that he has taken the band forward and preserved - and
enhanced - the rich inheritance, and that also extends to his work on the
band's website and merchandise.
Ian Harris fits in well with a more rock approach than previous incumbent
Louie Palmer and if he'd arrived at the gig on a motorbike you would
have sworn it was Charlie Boorman on the first leg of a world tour.
secret weapon tonight was their new backing vocalist Phillipa Cookman, who
I understand will be a regular band member after this tour. She provided
excellent harmonies throughout, an essential counterpoint to Lisa and
giving her more, er, breathing space.
Whilst this gig demonstrated the strength of the earlier material, and
confirmed that the legacy is in very safe hands, followers will be
awaiting 'The Gathering Light' with more than a breath of anticipation.
Review by David Randall
Photos by Lee Millward
Video interview (Cambridge Rock Festival 2007)
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