Karnataka’s extensive Autumn/Winter 2012 tour came to the magnificent Leamington Assembly on the 17th November.
Winter in Eden, fronted by Vicky Johnson (above) made a very complementary support act,and helped boost the crowd by bringing along a lot of their own fans. A British take on the European symphonic metal genre, they were one of the highlights of the first day of the Cambridge Rock Festival back in August. This support set carried on where they left off then, and made a very strong impression.
Unlike some bands of their ilk they don’t rely on choirs and orchestras that can’t be produced live without backing tapes. Steve Johnson’s keys and Sam Cull superb fluid guitar give them all the instrumental depth the music needs.
The latest incarnation of Karnataka got off to a strong start when they toured in the spring, and their recent “New Light” DVD is a good document of that tour. Now down to a basic five-piece minus multi-instrumentalist Colin Mold, their sound has become rawer and rockier. Lead singer Hayley Griffiths has grown far more in to the role of frontwoman for a rock band, getting inside the songs far more than she did in the spring.
While most of the material naturally still dates to the Rachel Jones and Lisa Fury versions of the band, the set did include some brand new songs, at least one of which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Winter in Eden’s set.
One of the big attractions of Karnataka’s music is still Enrico Pinna’s fantastic guitar playing, with the extended workout on the epic “Forsaken” a particular highlight.
Karnataka play one final show in 2012 at The Scala in London, again with Winter in Eden as the support. Tickets available online here.
I spent a fun day at the International N Gauge show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, otherwise known as “The Cowshed”, just outside Leamington Spa. As a show dedicated to N-gauge modelling, with layouts large and small showcasing the possibilities of the scale, and the specialist traders out in force, it’s one of the major events of the year of the model railway calendar. It’s a good time to meet up with a lot of old friends from the railway modelling community, as well as getting inspiration from layouts, and of course buying stuff.
Compared with a few years ago the overwhelming majority of the layouts were British outline with only two or three continental European or North American layouts on display. I’ll put this down to the steadily improving quality of British models from Dapol and Bachmann in recent years.
This show has become a popular venue for nanufacturers to unveil their new products. One highlight for me was CJM‘s class 50, which for a suitably eye-watering price makes the Farish one look like the dated relic it is. Dapol‘s big annoucement surprised a lot of people. After a lot of online speculation as to what class of locomotive it would be, it turned out to be a range of working semaphore signals. They will initally be available as upper and lower quadrant home and distants, although bracket signals are also planned. The samples I saw in action certainly look impressive, driven by a small motor and worm rather than a solenoid, and seem straightforward to attach to a layout. Just drill a 13mm diameter hole.
Bachmann also had a number of new products on display, including fully-decorated Metro-Cammell class 101 DMUs, and advanced samples of the 4-CEP and Seimens Desiro EMUs. I can see some SR and LMR electric layouts in the coming years.
As is usual for this sort of thing, I ended up spending far too much money, and the stuff I bought, such as a class 24 and a secondhand blue class 108 DMU, had a decidedly Cambrian flavour. I did resist the temptation to buy a brass BLS Ae6/8, a Zurich S-Bahn double-deck set. or Dapol’s Grand Central HST, the latter of which looked superb but wouldn’t fit into any layout I might conceivably build.