Sundara Karma’s image and fanbase could certainly lead to them being dumped in an indie-pop sector they don’t belong in. It would be easy for an outsider to ignore and neglect them due to a false presumption that Sundara Karma are just another average band that only teenagers would like. And while there are many of those, SK just aren’t one of them. We decided not to dismiss them at their Manchester show at the O2 Ritz last week. Merchandise varies from t-shirts to vinyl to limited edition Sundara Karma pants. Best to concentrate on the music perhaps.
Tour support FREAK come on to wow the already brimming crowd before the headliners take their place on the stage. Starting with EP track ‘Floating High’ the young 3-piece immediately encourage the crowd to replicate their intense energy. Hearts beating fast, pits form and the kids dance, clapping along whether instructed or simply the desire fuelled them. It’s hard not to get caught up in the uncontrollable momentum FREAK create, they’re loud and rambunctious, continual cymbal clashes hype up Connar Ridd’s quick lyrics brilliantly. They finish with top tune ‘What Happened?’, leaving the crowd seemingly asking the same question, their set seems to have come and gone so quickly. I suppose time does fly when you’re having fun.
The time waiting for Sundara Karma goes considerably slower unfortunately, but at least we’re kept occupied by a superb playlist of Bowie’s greatest hits. Finally, the band appear to predictably wild screams from the hordes of uber fans that have now congregated. ‘Indigo Puff’ starts the set brilliantly. The band’s first ever single, released two years ago, is the perfect opener. Hard-hitting funky drums and frontman Oscar Lulu’s sultry vocals lead up to an ultimately huge and anthemic chorus as Lulu and crowd come together “you’re the one, you’re the one, you’re the one, running through my brain, it’s in my brain”. Although these young fans are often judged for listening to generic no-good indie music, for example I definitely saw half of them at Rat Boy’s gig last week, that judgement should not run over into Sundara’s territory. The band write irresistible feel-good tunes, ‘Young Understanding’ is followed by ‘Run Away’ then ‘Vivienne’. Each track different from the last, Sundara Karma’s appeal rides on their ability to write impeccable melodies.
A highlight of the set came in the form of a cover. “Thanks for coming Manchester” Lulu smiles “this is one of our favourite songs” as they bounce into an outstanding version of Luther Vandross’ ‘Never Too Much’. Boogying commences somehow making the atmosphere in the room even more fun-filled. A brilliant live show from a brilliant band, go support them, buy their album, buy a t-shirt, or even some limited edition SK pants if they take your fancy.