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The Limelight, Crewe 26 October 2008

Lisa Fury, photo by Lee Millward

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 drummer.

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.

Lisa Fury, photo by Lee Millward

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.

Enrico Pina, photo by Lee Millward

Enrico Pinna 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.

Lisa Fury 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 Jones, photo by Lee Millward

New drummer 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.

The band's 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


Interview 06.07.08

Video interview (Cambridge Rock Festival 2007)

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