28th September | O2 Academy
Photo: Phil Smithies
The calm before the storm as ambient electronica played to an increasingly eager crowd. As the music stopped, a roar rippled through the crowd, coming to a peak as the ever so co-ordinated foursome Sundara Karma walked on stage wearing (almost!) matching white shirts and slacks.
The crowd’s screams were drowned out as the synthy sounds of ‘Another Word for Beautiful’ began from the tentative vocals of singer Oscar ‘Lulu’ Pollack. Their second song was a complete contrast with its high energy drumming and catchy arpeggiating guitar riffs.
‘Loveblood’ was received with just as much zeal before the atmosphere changed once more for ‘Run Away’. Sundara Karma were cementing their reputation as a band who can do it all.
The biggest reaction of the night so far came from ‘Flame’; and its relentless on beat bass drum which demanded the crowd to clap along. Just as the song reached the chorus, the track was stripped back to let the vocals take the limelight.
Despite having only gained spotlight recognition within the last year, you’d have guessed their new – found fame was anything but new. Having released two EP’s and an album in July this year, Sundara Karma’s back catalogue is already littered with upbeat, indie anthems pointing influence to post punk, rock and pop with their well established, original sound. ‘Lakhey and Olympia’ from their new album was followed by ‘Diamond Cutter’ from their 2015 EPII which intentionally or unintentionally, seemed rather poetic with the lyrics “once that I was cut I could shine” – raining true f since their release of Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect.
Next up was the song every girl wants to be serenaded with whilst simultaneously wishing they were ‘Vivienne’. The euphoric, catchy chorus says a lot in just a few words and with such sincerity, for anyone who had never heard of Sundara Karma before they couldn’t have caught them at a better gig. Returning to the O2 Academy after just 7 months, their stage presence was so much bolder but their design remained simple and effective. Raised on a stage of four circles joined together on a back drop of white perspex circles, the lighting perfectly animated the music whilst layers of smoke and colour made for dream like scenes.
As their set neared it’s end, ‘She Said’ and ‘Deep Relief’ injected the room with life as everyone exhibited their best moves. It ended rather poignantly on ‘The Night’ and for fans that had been their since the beginning it was a moment to reminisce on what has so far been an incredible journey for Sundara Karma.
The night wouldn’t have ended properly without an encore and after a few minutes of eager screaming, Sundara Karma took their places on stage once more for ‘Happy Family’ and ‘Explore’ which brought the night to a fitting end.
Sundara Karma are just one example of the level of talent pouring out the music industry and I’m lucky to have seen them twice this year.
Check out ‘She Said’ below.