Karnataka, May 25th 2001
Newark Beer Festival, Nottinghamshire, UK

By Ray Owen


Beer and Music
(What more could one want?)
(Don't answer that!!)

The more I see of Karnataka the more confident and fluid their music becomes. This was certainly so of Friday's performance at the Newark Beer Festival. Some people say that they sound like this group or that group, but quite personally I feel that they sound like Karnataka; original, powerful, soulful, delightful. Multi-voiced vocalist, excellent guitar player, talented keyboard player and probably the best rhythm section since Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. Missing tonight was Steve Simmons on sax, which meant a rawer edge to the normal saxophone tracks.

The gig nearly didn't go ahead due to bands hire vehicle breaking down on the motorway, but fortunately they made it, all be it with only a few minutes to spare.
And the problems of getting there did not effect their performance.

They started the proceedings with Crazy from the eponymous first album followed by two tracks from their second release The Storm, they were the fabulous Dreamer and a Bob Harris (BBC RadioTwo) favourite Heaven Can Wait.
These were followed by the first of the new songs from the groups next album, which they hope to release early in 2002. Where The Story Ends a wonderful eclectic track of many moods and now, having heard it three times I think it's going to be the major track from the album, who knows maybe the title track, well, it would be a good album title anyway.
That is, providing the story doesn't end with the next album.

Next up was another song from The Storm; I Should Have Known with a nice acoustic guitar fitting in wonderfully with the remarkable vocals of Rachel Jones, a great live track. After which came Must Be The Devil the first track off their original album.
It was then time for another new song, this time it was to be Strange Behaviour. This is quite an awesome song, with every hearing, it just gets better. Strange Behaviour was followed by two more tracks from The Storm ; Everything Must Change which gives Paul Davies chance to shine on guitar, and Writing On The Wall which is an up-tempo number with a Celtic feel to it.

Two more new tracks followed, The Right Time and a song with the working title of 7/8 which is to prove that they are not a Prog Rock band, (Rachel's words not mine, said with tongue firmly in cheek).
Tell Me Why from the first album was next up before the last song of the night, the fantastic Journey with Ian Jones on acoustic guitar again. However, thankfully it wasn't the last song of the night because a very enthusiastic crowd demanded and received an encore in the form of the superb Celtic/Indian crossover song Shine.

All in all, 90 minutes, 14 songs, good beer and a great atmosphere,
Heaven can certainly wait because it was much better to be in Newark tonight.

If you haven't heard of Karnataka yet, then it's about time you did, even better still, is to see them live. If they are in your neighbourhood, then get along to see them. If they're not in your neighbourhood, then make the "Journey", you will not be disappointed.

Karnataka are:
Rachel Jones (Vocals)
Paul Davies (Guitar)
Ian Jones (Bass and Acoustic Guitar)
Jonathon Edwards (Keyboards)
Gavin Griffiths (Drums and Percussion)

Set List:
Crazy
Dreamer
Heaven Can Wait
Where The Story Ends
I Should Have Known
Must Be The Devil
Strange Behaviour
Everything Must Change
Writing On The Wall
Right Time
7/8
Tell Me Why
Journey
Shine

Postscript: The following night they played the same set in the intimate setting of Zak's in Milton Keynes and put in a wonderful performance.
All in all an excellent two days.

 

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