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Gig review of Sundara Karma

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Reviewed on 11th January 2017.


Sundara Karma

Live at Headrow House on Monday, 9th January 2017

Sundara Karma - Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect album signing performance. Live @ Headrow House on Monday 9th January 2017.

Being a short album signing performance I half expected them to be perched on stools in the back of a record store but bathed in purple light, delivering a 30-minute blast of a show is how we received Sundara Karma.

The crowd was baby-faced and had an eagerness born, I assumed, from a combination of the gig being free, intimate and just plain fun. The darkness and mounting tension forming as we waited for them to come out felt a bit strange for 7pm.

They hit me early (3rd or 4th song) with Flame, my favourite song on their new album (Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect) - a song that I'd danced to at work before I knew who they were. I have to say that apart from a couple of heavy hitters (She Said, Flame..) most of their other songs sounded the same to me. This is characteristic of the genre for me and is not to say that I didn't find it consistently fun. Soothing Indie rock is how I'd describe it, how I'd describe the last few bands I've reviewed. Feet stepping to a simple beat with a head swaying to a slow voice that felt like a lullaby at its highest - I caught myself a few times smiling like a fool from the waves of calming pleasure that dancing like that gives me - for that I can only thank the band. Apart from the line - "You won't come with me 'cause you're just too comfortable in chains" (Flame) the lyrics could have been nonsense as far as I'm concerned, I just loved the melody.

The mannerisms of the band I found interesting to watch. The vocalist held the crowd in an unassuming and gentle way. By "held" I mean figuratively although he did at one point lock fingers with a small black nail varnished hand prompting what looked like a quiet word from said girl's boyfriend - which was funny to watch. I also liked that to me the drummer constantly had the expression of a person that had just been caught staring at someone and was now trying to pretend that he hadn't been staring. I'd never thought that about a person on stage before and found it charmingly un-rock and roll.

Song by song the rowdiness of the crowd got progressively less self-conscious. I saw a clear divide between the people that wanted to sway vs those who wanted to struggle (crushed jumping more than pushing) to the beat. During the last song, a boy (as it always is) did that thing of clambering on stage triumphantly only to turn around and be left stunned like a deer in headlights not quite sure what to do next. A mob mentality took over and people followed Deer Boy, flooding the stage, which the singer seemed to enjoy. The invasion replaced applause. One sweaty girl to her friend afterwards - "Why did we do that?! It's not even 8pm!" Then, as quickly as it started, with shouts from security it was over and everyone trickled off to queue for some signatures, or to say thanks if you're a "silly billy" (their words) like me.

They're back in Leeds (O2 Academy) on the 30th January as part of a UK tour. Get tickets for the chance of a night as pleasantly weird as they gave me.





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Sundara Karma

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