Sundara Karma // O2 Institute, Birmingham // 11.02.17
After joining the immensely popular Two Door Cinema Club on their latest UK dates, Reading based indie rock band Sundara Karma embarked on their very own headline tour. On the 11th of February, the band kicked off proceedings at Birmingham’s O2 Institute after having to upgrade the gig’s venue due to demand. Support came from The Night Café and Blaenavon, two passionate bands quickly rising in the music scene. The crowd was unusually lively during the support acts, with Blaenavon’s lead singer perfectly summing up the eclectic sense of euphoria and happiness circulating in the venue.
Just before the headliners took to the stage, balloons descended from the ceiling, re-awakening the audience’s sense of childlike fun. The potent ‘A Young Understanding’ was the first song on the setlist, appealing to the youth’s sense of today and for others their memories of the past. The crowd moved in, captivated by the band’s effortless charm and stage presence. Almost seamlessly, the group moved through some of their most popular songs, branching into their EPs and their recently released debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect.
Somehow, Sundara Karma manage to perfectly encapsulate the common dichotomy between expectations of youth culture and the realities of the experience. As the crowd became increasingly rowdy, the band played their most upbeat songs, including ‘Flame’ and ‘Indigo Puff’, alongside other crowd pleasers that kept the atmosphere going. The dreamy melodies of ‘The Night’ and ‘Happy Family’ guided the gig to its close, yet we lusted for more. Cheering and clapping encouraged an encore, with ‘Loveblood’ being the expected finale. Yet to the audience’s surprise, the band began to play the classic ‘Never Too Much’ by Luther Vandross, leading the night into a landscape of funk and groove. A final batch of balloons were released during ‘Loveblood’, painting smiles onto not only on the audience’s faces, but the band’s too.
It seems that Sundara Karma hold a special quality in truly identifying with their listeners. There was an overwhelming sense in the room that there’s more to come from this band; a future of larger venues, stages and audiences. I’m sure that this is only the beginning of a long and progressive career for Oscar, Ally, Dom and Hayden, and I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds.