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Live Review: Sundara Karma with whenyoung @ O2 Academy, Sheffield 09/04/19


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Sundara Karma brought their show to the Steel City last Tuesday night. The incredible Phoebe Green and whenyoung got the ball rolling on what would be an infatuating evening.

Sundara Karma by Amber Pollack

Sundara Karma's spring tour follows the release of their second studio album, Ulfilas' Alphabet. It's an LP that shows a new depth and a radical shift in tone compared to their debut, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect. This record's aesthetic translates in their new live performance.

The recent Chess Club Records signing, Phoebe Green opens the night with her band made up of uni friends and younger sister. The Manchester-based "Shirley Temple of the North" takes to the stage and is immediately awestruck by her audience; people on each other's shoulders in the crowd clearly make her laugh as though she can't quite believe that it's all for her.

Playing a few tracks from her debut self-released album 02:00 Am, including a favourite, 'Watercolour Envy' and her brand new dreamy indie track, 'Dreaming Of', Phoebe and her band are as tight as a decades-old outfit. Her wistful lyrics and scintillating guitar tones are proof enough that she is one to watch this year.

After a quick transition, whenyoung takes to the stage in three brightly coloured suits and overalls to psych up the crowd for Sundara Karma. The Irish indie-pop band's lively energy distinguishes their live performance from anyone else. whenyoung treats us to a live airing of their recent release, 'Future' from the upcoming album, Reasons To Dream. It's an uplifting track that gets the crowd dancing with it's elevating message and melody.

whenyoung vibes with the crowd, working them up with their salient track, 'Pretty Pure'. Ending on a high with 'Never Let Go', they certainly they get the gig-goers right where they should be with the bouncy beat and contagious lyrics and the crowd is left bubbling with excitement for the headliner.

Fans ran in every direction as soon as whenyoung exited the stage; toilet breaks, trips to the bar and weaving their way to the front. The lights went down - a signifying moment in any gig that the headliner is about to enter. On walks the four-piece assuming position.

Sundara Karma has raised the game in music when it comes to flamboyance and tonight was no exception, Frontman, Oscar Pollock takes centre stage in a red corset and knee-high leather boots, the other band members representing other styles; floral suits, gems and pearls. The whole stage set-up was from a 70's dream each asset exhibiting something interesting and suited.

The new track, 'Higher States' opens the band's eighteen song set. It's an iconic single that exemplifies their dramatic and alluring style; pints are flung across the room and the atmosphere is set. Immediately following, the group rewinds to their debut with, 'Flame' with earned an almighty singalong.

'Rainbow Body' (a staple of any Sundara Karma setlist) is a highlight. The bass carries the song making for a slightly different style of groove complemented by the track's deep vocals.

Fluctuating between old and new, Sundara Karma maintained a cohesive image and kept up a level of performance in their live set that ties in perfectly with the new vibrant record. Despite this, tracks such as 'She Said', 'Indigo Puff' and 'Loveblood' are old, unshakable favourites.

'One Last Night On This Earth' brought the evening to a close, concluding a phenomenal set. The song's upbeat rhythm was a clear hit with the crowd that showed no signs of fatigue.

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