Sundays are a regular slot for prog rock at the Robin 2 and this show
was a real treat, I remember buying Karnataka's 'Delicate Flame of
Desire' album and starting to really get into this band and looking
forward to seeing them perform only to have them split up before I could
get the chance.
Thankfully the band returned to action not to long after the split and
in 2010 they released the excellent 'The Gathering Light' album, this
current tour sees a few changes to the line-up that recorded that album
but founder member Ian Jones is still on board.
Of the line-up that recorded the last studio album as well as Ian on
bass, lead guitarist Enrico Pinna (a guitarist of exceptional quality)
is still in the band and the new members are, on lead vocals the girl
with the crystal clear vocals Hayley Griffiths, multi -talented Colin
Mold on guitars and violin, Cagri Tozluoglu supplying the keyboards and
Matt McDonough on the drums (a powerful drummer as the broken stick I
found on the floor after the gig will testify!).
No support band just two sets of the most uplifting progressive rock
music you could ask for, intelligent well structured numbers, soaring
guitar work, beautiful vocals - both Hayley's lead and the band's
harmonies - and all held together a top rhythm section, on this tour
they are showcasing the majority of 'The Gathering Light' album plus a
selection of back catalogue favourites.
To set the mood before the band took to the stage, as the lights started
to dim an intro tape consisting of a suite of instrumental melodies from
several of the band's numbers combined with atmospheric ocean and wind
sound effects resonated around the room, one of the most effective
intros I have heard for a long time.
After the intro music the guys in the band hit the stage for an
instrumental burst and then with Hayley's arrival it was straight into
the band's latest material with the magnificent 'The Serpent and the
Sea', a bright, breezy, flowing number, with a touch of folk rock (for
me the band add a touch of folk rock to their sound with great effect
now and again).
The first set also included the sublime 'Delicate Flame of Desire', (the
title track of the band's highly successful 2003 album) beautiful,
delicate with possibly a touch of Enya about it and from the same album
another cracker 'After the Rain', one of the evenings highlights was an
emotional 'Forsaken' from the latest release with its beautiful keyboard
The small technical hitch at the start of the 2nd set was dealt with
quickly and with friendly/humorous banter between the audience and a
couple of band members, and was soon sorted.
The second set started with a selection of numbers showcasing the
talents of different sections of the band beginning with a violin piece
performed to perfection by Colin, then it was time for Hayley to sing
the exquisite 'Our Love' a track from her solo album 'Silver Screen'
accompanied by Cagri on keyboards.
After her turn she said she needed
time to cool down so left us in the safe hands of the guys for the
instrumental 'State of Grace', its gentle slow burning opening gradually
building slowly but surely a tour-de-force of a number.
The second set also included a return to the Delicate Flame album with
another of that release's highlights 'Heart of Stone' and a real
highlight of the evening was the title track of the latest work, the out
and out epic of the evening with its at times Celtic feel 'The Gathering
My wait to see Karnataka was well worth it and this was a top quality
show from start to the finish, so many standouts, the atmospheric
opening, the real feel good quality that flows through the band's music,
the sensational vocals of Hayley (she also had a fantastic selection of
outfits), and last but not least the magnificent musicianship of the
band as a whole.