We caught Sundara Karma‘s headline set at the Bristol leg of the Dot To Dot Festival the other week and they certainly justified top billing. Frontman Oscar Pollock brought his usual formidable stage presence to proceedings which, as well as all the hits from their album Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect, also featured all the mess you might expect from the firing of two huge confetti cannons.
Almost two months after the release of their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect and only a fortnight after concluding a support slot for Two Door Cinema Club on their sold-out tour, indie four-piece Sundara Karma returned to London to play the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. With the show selling out weeks before and fans queuing from 10am, it’s clear that they have already developed a loyal and dedicated fan base since bursting on to the scene last year.
Opening with single A Young Understanding, the show started on a high with the crowd’s voices almost drowning out frontman Oscar Pollock. This high energy from both the band and the fans continued throughout the set, peaking during songs She Said and Flame – both singles from the album. It suggested that their lyrics particularly resonate with the younger generation, as the venue was filled with glitter-covered teenage girls who knew every word – particularly the case for new single, Happy Days, which provoked a very emotional reaction as eyeliner and mascara ran down faces.
All this was not lost on the band, who expressed their gratitude to their fans many times in between songs. During hit single Vivienne, Pollock came off the stage on to the barrier and held hands with as many people as he could. They even brought their own large balloons that were thrown into the crowd; often ending up back on stage, they made the small venue feel more like a festival.
Finishing with energetic single Loveblood – and plenty more balloons and a confetti cannon that covered everything and everyone in blue and white paper – Sundara Karma proved that a small venue doesn’t necessarily have to mean a small show. As most of the crowd will attest, youth can indeed be plenty of fun – and not just in retrospect.
Words & photos: Tabetha Parrick
The anticipation is short as an infamous techno song drops when the lights go out and Two Door Cinema Club enter the stage to blast through summer anthems Cigarettes in the Theatre, Undercover Martyn and Do You Want It All? This Liverpool crowd don’t need warming up as they immediately lose it simultaneously.
After the first four tracks it is obvious that 2010’s Tourist History is going to dominate this set despite the tour supporting recently-released third LP Gameshow. The group play their debut album in its entirety – with the exception of You’re Not Stubborn – and it’s no surprise because the tracks are still as strong now as they were back then, clearly finding a newer, younger audience along the way.
A showcase of Gameshow, their long awaited album, comes but it’s only short as they get back to the indie pop anthem crowd pleasers like Something Good Can Work.
The crowd sees a mix of ages, 20-somethings who grew up listening to the group because of TV shows like Skins or their first Reading and Leeds Festival experience, an older crowd who enjoy the light and feel good sound of the Northern Irish trio, and a student crowd who look at music from 2010 as, ‘vintage’ perhaps, after discovering the group.
During Ordinary, the pretty spectacular stage set shines – a light show that could make stadium shows envious – with colours and images matching their wonky pop sound.
A quick mention of the support act Sundara Karma who keep the momentum and energy high ahead of TDCC’s arrival. They’ve been touring and on the festival circuit for a couple of years now, picking up a following on the way. They look set to follow in similar footsteps as TDCC and that’s evident here as the crowd sing to arena-ready anthems She Said and Flame as if they are the main act they’ve come see.
But back to the headliners, the set built up to perhaps one of the most radio friendly hits I Can Talk which sees mosh pits, dancing, singing and plenty of sweat in the packed out Student’s Guild in Liverpool.
After a quick step-off stage Liverpool want them back for an encore. Anteros lead singer joins the guys to play Sun before they finish up with Someday and What You Know, the first an indie ballad that has the crowd chanting like they’re watching a headline set at a festival with no inhibitions and the latter being a time to party as people are propped on shoulders and the dancing starts again.
Two Door Cinema Club have the strong foundation of a debut album that has the ability to appeal for years to come, that’s clear tonight in the sold-out Student’s Guild, as they deliver a festival-style show to a dedicated crowd in a venue that’s way too modest for their huge performance.
Words: Johnny Yates / Photos (from the band’s Manchester show): Kitty Riddell
Cool song and video (if a little disconcerting towards the end!) from Reading-based band Sundara Karma. Catch ’em live throughout the UK in May and June with tour stops in Cardiff, Bristol, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Glasgow and Liverpool.
Sundara Karma – A Young Understanding