Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019

Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019Sundara Karma @ O2 Institute, 10th April 2019

The sun was shining on Wednesday evening as opening the show at O2 Institute in Birmingham were Alfie Templeman and Whenyoung, both of which provided catchy and entertaining music to welcome the growing crowd ahead of Sundara Karma taking to the stage.

Touring in support of their recently released second album ‘Ulfias Alphabet’, Sundara Karma found themselves in the main room of the O2 Institute, to treat the Birmingham audience to a long set balanced heavily towards their most recent release.

The first thing to note is aesthetically the band exist within a much different space than they did on the first record’s touring cycle.  This time with the stage donning what can only be described as giant lampshades, whilst the band themselves are dressed very extravagantly, in a variety of jumbled clothing of both masculine and feminine origin.   It’s perhaps this move that the band have adopted to differ themselves from the indie genre.   To avoid the risk of falling stale or drifting, although looking at the group on stage they don’t look entirely comfortable with their image at the moment.

Taking to the stage to the energetic ‘Higher States’, the band proceeded to take the youthful audience through an hour and a half set heavily in favour of their latest record however older cuts such as ‘She Said’, ‘Loveblood’ and ‘Flame’ saw the audience take to their feet and bounce until the floorboards shook.

Musically the band sounded fantastic, rarely stopping to talk, lead vocalist Oscar Pollock manoeuvred constantly between stalking the stage, various keyboards and guitar. In terms of how the band’s sound has changed between the two records, I think it’s safe to say that similar to the aesthetic change the band have sought to find their own sound and place within the musical spectrum, rather than walk the path that was perhaps set out for them. And it’s this risk that you would hope will see the band continue on this upward trajectory and find success.

Whilst the older songs were obviously happily received, it was newer tracks such as ‘Symbols of Joy & Eternity’, ‘One Last Night on this Earth’ and ‘Little Houses’ that really saw the crowd at their most receptive, which speaks volumes for the evolution of the band and that they’re still attracting newer fans and pleasing the older ones.

It certainly feels like an exciting time to be a Sundara Karma fan, and I’m sure fans will be looking forward to the festival season when the songs will take on an entire life of their own and soundtrack memories for years to come.

Sundara Karma are that sort of band, joyous, life affirming and fantastic.

Review Dan Earl

Photos Marc Osborne

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