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Magenta, Kara At Herringthorpe, Rotherham UK, 16th April 2005

Returning to the Rotherham stage again after their awards night opening slot for IQ, Magenta were on top form playing to a larger than normal crowd. With two new songs thrown in at the deep-end, and a surprise cover version of a seventies classic, it is no wonder that the Rosfest headline, which is just around the corner, has got 2005 off to a great busy start.

Opening act Kara were only formed a few months ago, and judging by their songs and musicianship, it felt like they had been around for a lot longer. A set of around forty minutes got many of the crowd applauding every song, and with Kirsta Johnston on lead vocals, keys, flute and recorder they have a fine sound, and in patches reminded me of Mostly Autumn and Renaissance. Kara were quite solid and with songs such as Things Happen, Eye Of The Great God and the two part Many Ways To Kingdoms, they have some fine song-writing talent on offer. There was a little Celtic feel too in parts. Colin Mold on guitar gave the sound a wider angle. We shouldn't have to wait too long for their debut album release.

Magenta took to the stage after a little mix-up with the intro music, while the sound of laughter was heard from the dressing room. Opening with the same song a week earlier with The Flower Kings (see review) King Of The Skies, and the welcome cheers from the crowd echoed around the room. Gluttony was next and by this time the band were firmly in their groove. Vocalist Christina was on fine form voice wise, whilst guitarist Chris Fry entertained us all with his licks and usual guitar hero poses!

New song Demons appeared soon afterwards, and it had touches of late Genesis/Floyd influences, but the back-line of Matthew Cohen and Allan Mason-Jones held the rhythm firmly in place. The White Witch is fast becoming The Magenta Anthem, with all of the band reaching their heights in their instrumental targets. Another chance to hear the old Cyan song Call Me was next, with Christina and Rob Reed bringing the whole mood down, and after that another new one which at the moment is untitled. From what we heard, the new material is something different from their previous work, but still keeping the Magenta fire burning.

Chris Fry again did the crowd thing by joining them and performing his trademark solo during Pride. Broken and I'm Alive which are the two singles were aired too, along with Genetesis and Children Of The Sun in encore form, but as I mentioned earlier, the seventies classic was the Renaissance song Northern Lights. Christina's voice was so near Annie Haslam's, that it felt like Annie herself was on the stage!

Well, two great bands, and a nice evenings entertainment. Kara were a delight, and Magenta continue to grow. The Americans are in for a great show!  [see photo galleries below.]

Danny Mayo



[click on photos to see full size picture]






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