Sundara Karma - O2 Academy Liverpool, 12 February 2017
"Wonderful blend of class and glam with a sound that reflects the youthful tones of their album."
Since bursting out on to the indie/alternative music scene after the band was introduced to the public by the BBC in 2014, it seems that these 4 lads from Reading have been having success after success. Having played huge gigs in 2016, including the main stage at the Reading and Leeds festival, they released their debut album, “Youth is Only Fun in Retrospect” on the 6th January 2017. Following the release of this album, the quartet has been touring up and down the country on a promotional tour for their album. On the 12th of February 2017, Sundara Karma was playing at the O2 Academy in Liverpool and we thought we’d catch their performance to see what all the fuss is about.
The tickets to this performance were sold out, dramatically reflecting the positive critical reviews that the debut album had received. Therefore before even turning up to the performance, we felt like we were in for a treat that night. Unlike many bands that casually try to build up the energy within their performances, Sundara Karma burst on to stage on a wave of energy that captivated their entire audience with their debut album’s opening track, “A Young Understanding”. This momentum was built upon for the following 4 tracks, where it reached its peak with the track, “Watching from Great Heights”. Following this amazing opening, it was clear that they had captivated the entire audience. As they continued to progress further into the setlist, they decided to play tracks such as “Vivienne”, “Lose The Feeling”, “She Said” and “Happy Family”, which varied in tempo and tones of the quick paced, high energy tracks that they had opened with and produced more reflective sounds and lyrics. Despite this however the general energy within the venue didn’t diminish, holding the audience in a state of ecstasy. The main act was brought back full circle with the closing track of their debut album, “The Night”. This closing track introduced a new stream of energy through the entire audience, leaving them captivated. The band returned back to the stage to perform an unexpected Luther Vandross cover, “Never Too Much” which could arguably have rivalled the original classic. They made an excellent choice to complete the encore with “Loveblood” producing a mix of captivating guitar riffs and pulsating synth melodies, reminding the audience of the music talent this band has behind them.
Some accreditation of the gig’s success must be attributed to the band’s lead singer, Oscar Pollock. He is certainly your classic front man and he knew how to work his audience. Coming on stage with large balloons to throw across to the crowd was a gimmick which certainly appealed to their largely teenage audience. Although largely comprised of teenagers, the audience also included middle aged individuals too, suggesting that perhaps their music isn’t strictly music for the youth but music that is actually celebrating youth.
On the whole though, the performance had a wonderful blend of class and glam with a sound that reflects the youthful tones of their album. You could definitely notice the impact the album had on the audience too as there had been a certain buzz that we had not experienced of a venue of this calibre before. The sounds and the atmosphere of the performance were energetic and almost anthemic in nature. It had a better atmosphere than bands with higher notoriety and following that we have previously encountered and we may even go as far as to say that the performance wouldn’t have looked at all out of place within an arena capacity venue.
The future looks very bright indeed for this Reading band and on this wave of success, I am sure that they will be straight into the recording studio ready to release an equally successful album. However as Sundara Karma is a very new band, they should concentrate on developing an individual sound that is identifiable with their image, so that they do not lose direction. We give Sundara Karma all the best on their future endeavours and look forward to see what they come up with next.