There’s a triumphant atmosphere circling the air outside Brixton Academy this evening following a more than triumphant year for Sundara Karma. In January they released their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, and from then on they continued to climb the industry ranks delivering one glittering performance after another on their own headline tours as well as at iconic Glastonbury and their native Reading Festival. Mid-way through their latest UK tour, a stop off at the O2 Academy Brixton for their biggest London show to date seems like a more than fitting occasion to culminate all that they have achieved so far.
Walking on stage in matching outfits, the quartet open a teaser of the Bowie inflected ‘Another Word For Beautiful’ before crashing into ‘A Young Understanding’. Breakthrough single ‘Loveblood’ follows and it’s at this point you begin to realise that their once cult following has materialised into something so much bigger than that, as teenagers cling on to every word that falls out of vocalist and guitarist Oscar Pollock’s mouth. Populating the serene and overtly elegant stage set up with guitarist Ally Baty, bassist Dom Cordell and drummer Haydn Evans, Oscar doesn’t refrain from throwing himself around on stage at the height of their euphoric riffs, with enviable grace.
Their show offers a career spanning set which sees the Reading natives dig deep into their second EP (aptly titled EP II) and dust off old gems such as the sparkling ‘Run Away’ and the poignant ‘Diamond Cutter’, much to the delight of the die-hards in the crowd. However, they also visit the three new tracks which made their way onto the re-release of the LP in the summer, all of which are welcomed warmly inside the South London venue.
A standout moment comes as the opening line to ‘Vivienne’ echoes around the room. You can feel the sentiment and the meaning the song creates as groups of friends grab each other in time to sing along with Oscar, “we could change the world if we stop getting high.”
Tonight is a celebration of youth, a theme which runs through the veins of Sundara Karma’s back catalogue, but ultimately it’s a celebration of a band who are reaping their well deserved rewards. Youth might only ever be fun in retrospect, but surely headlining Brixton Academy comes a close second...
Sundara Karma played:
Another Word For Beautiful
A Young Understanding
Watching From Great Heights
Lose The Feeling