To describe the infectious spirit that a night with Sundara Karma leaves you with, you need only to look at their debut album title, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect. The feeling of youth in the room was inescapable. It’s difficult to pin point whether it’s their nostalgic sing-along hits, the enthusiasm of the supporting acts Bloxx and The Magic Gang or simply the excessive moshing from the hyperactive 14 year old crowd. However, don’t let the latter remark tarnish the band’s credibility.
Brighton’s The Magic Gang proved to have a largely shared fan base with the headline act as their early single ‘Feeling Better’ had the audience singing every word. A nice touch was to see the Sundara Karma boys watching their set from the balcony, the kind of personal approach we don’t usually see in the industry anymore. The Magic Gang performed as if they were headliners, completely enchanting the crowd as moshes swirled and lyrics were belted back.
Surprisingly, Sundara Karma opened their set with the subdued ‘Another Word for Beautiful’ which actually built the crowd’s excitement even more before they kicked straight into the teen-angst fuelled ‘A Young Understanding’. With their album being the soundtrack to my summer, it was a gratifying experience for me to hear the boys play it live in its entirety with such energy. As expected, the breakout single ‘Flame’ caused a huge stir as vocalist LuLu jumped right into the crowd to share the mic. Despite their intimidating appearance, the band are not as aloof as you think as they cringed when LuLu asks “Who is ready for a boogie?” This magnetic energy carried over into every song and it was a bittersweet moment when they announced that they were closing with my favourite track ‘Explore’. Although they may believe that Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, the feeling of youth that circulated that night surpassed any borders of time.
Words by Alexandra Coogan
Images by Meg Firth