Gig Review: Sundara Karma – Liverpool

Sundara Karma

Arts Club, Liverpool 21st September 2016

Words: Gary Lambert

Photos: Elena Katrina

sundara karma elena katrinaA lot can change in a year. Popped Music met up with Sundara Karma at a gig in a Liverpool venue which had distinctly disappointing sales although that was not reflected in the level of performance from the band. Roughly twelve months later and they’re back in the city once more but the venue has grown much bigger and the tickets have sold out. They have grown by being a rock band, getting their head down to play the gigs and genuinely having time for people. There is no big rock hit to propel them nor does Reading carry such power in music that you know record labels can back them knowing hometown shows will always recoup the money. And Sundara Karma are rightly making people feel excited right now.


One of the young bands making Liverpool excited at the moment is The Night Café. This was probably one of the biggest audiences they had played to as a huge chunk of the crowd had got in to the venue early to get the best possible spaces. Interestingly, The Night Café’s sound has evolved to take in more of the guitar pop sound associated with the south east of the country of late. From a band which would struggle to look more Scouse, once the drummer’s ket wig has fully grown, it was great to hear not just the jangle of The La’s. Forthcoming single, You Change in the Seasons, shows the potential of this band. Get on it!


Main tour support this time around is Chelmsford’s Freak, a previously unknown entity to us but they impressed. They gave us a high energy set of a curious style of music which I could not work out. It was styled as a bit of shouty rock, a rap-rock hybrid or a modern take on Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues.  Having lead singer duties doesn’t put off lead singer Connar Ridd from wanting to spend a lot of time using up space not just on stage but also playing along the barrier. Not even the photographers seem to be in his sights when he leaps from stage to crowd in one deft move, repeatedly, and still, somehow, manages to get back to the mic in the nick of time. But that is an aside, it was non-stop, it was fun, the audience loved it and it was most definitely sick.


sundara karma elena katrinaWhen Sundara Karma took to the stage the cheer was deafening – and there was definitely a touch of the ghosts of Beatlemania when looking at the front row. Every one of them was staring at the stage with a mixture of lust and adoration in their eyes. And there was only one person they were looking at. The almost-topless, glam rock hinting Oscar Pollock, lead singer and obvious frontman of Sundara Karma. No offence to Hadyn, Ally and Dom, they are all handsome guys, but Oscar is beautiful. He looks whimsical, moody, vicious and cool. And he can sing. And he postures to show it off well. We have been missing a Brett Anderson in the midst of the frontmen inspired by Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft and Alex Turner.


The sound of Sundara Karma has changed over the last twelve months too. They remind me of Kings of Leon when they decided they’d had enough of playing venues with roofs and threw out big rock moments and choruses aplenty. Yet whereas Kings of Leon seemed to be a career progression, Sundara Karma sound naturally like that. It feels bold and ambitious without feeling out of place. Songs like Flame, Loveblood and the recently released She Said sound comfortably different when played live. There is spectacle to the songs.


One of my biggest bugbears in gigs is support acts who come out to supposedly watch the headliners, but are really there to be seen and take plaudits for playing early. Well there was none of that sort of thing from Freak or The Night Café. Those lads were stood as close as they could get to the stage and were dancing, cheering and enjoying the gig as much as anybody else in there.

sundara karma elena katrinaSundara Karma feel secretly massive. Your mate’s dad is not going to play them in the car on the way to work. You’re not going to hear a stag party bouncing along the road singing one of their hits. Your mate’s dad and the stag party will get there shortly, but until then Sundara Karma are our band and the possibilities are infinite.

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  • About Popped Music

    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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