Sundara Karma @ Manchester Academy

Selling out Manchester Academy off the back of one album is pretty impressive for a band from outside of the Manchester bubble, so for Sundara Karma to play two nights at the venue on the same tour is a clear example of the hype around this band, a hype that would be shown to be wholly justified as the night went on. The last time I saw Sundara was when they played the Albert Hall as the headliner of Dot to Dot festival, and I was highly impressed with them at the time. The sense of excitement around the band has only gone on to grow and they were warmly received by the Manchester faithful.

After opening with Another Word for Beautiful, the slower, final track on their debut album, Sundara went straight into one of the biggest songs they’ve released A Young Understanding, which got the crowd bouncing and raring to go. The energetic Loveblood followed on, as Sundara soon had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Lead singer Oscar is an archetypal indie frontman, with fantastic vocal range and stage presence. There is something very Bowie-esque about the way he carries himself on stage.

Going back to the release of Sundara Karma’s album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, which was solid upon first listening but I never truly appreciated how big some of the songs on that album actually are. As a live band, songs such as Flame, She Said and Explore stand out as some of the very best that Indie music has produced over the last decade.

British Indie music as a whole has developed through a series of different phases, with classic Manchester artists such The Smiths and Joy Division, and subsequently The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and New Order. The next generation of the 90s brought Oasis, The Verve, and Blur, and since then we’ve seen Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, and The Courteeners go on to sell out stadiums. The more I’ve listened to Sundara Karma and since going to see them live, they appear to be right at the forefront of the next big names, alongside the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen, Blossoms and Circa Waves. This summer has shown the trajectory that these bands have been on, with Catfish selling out arenas, Circa Waves playing the main stage slot at Reading and Leeds festivals, and Blossoms’ massive sellout set at Castlefield Bowl. Based off the songs they already have, and their impressive live performances, there seems to be nothing stopping just how far Sundara can go in the British Indie scene, as they have already cemented themselves as a breakout band.

Indeed, the future looks optimistic for Sundara Karma, and this optimism is with good reason. Bands like Sundara contribute towards dispelling the myth that modern indie music is dying out. Many people, myself included, often get so wrapped up in the idea of past glories, such as Oasis and the Stone Roses, that the modern iteration of the genre gets written off as inferior with such iconic bands. However, bands such as Sundara Karma are becoming a great success, and appear to be on the cusp of something huge.


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