The Wardrobe in Leeds hosted three very young acts with potentially bright futures, Sundara Karma in particular. As the venue filled up early, the majority of the audience seemingly college aged kids, I began to expect a quite tame evening, but appearances proved to be very deceptive.
First on stage was a very young looking Pale Waves, they look very studenty but they certainly aren’t in this just for the credibility factor of being in a band, they are full of inventiveness and talent. The kind of people who are so deeply cool that they probably think they are geeky and aren’t interested in being cool. They were the ones responsible for firing up the crowd early on and they undeniably did that especially with their track “The Tide”. Heather’s vocals had an impressive and captivating quality which will appeal to pop fans and shoe-gazers alike.
Then it was the turn of Beach Baby to carry on Pale Waves good work. Although they were a solid band with decent songs they seemed to just fall short of the standard previously set. Their set seemed very similar all through its duration until their very last song which really recaptured my attention. Very much in the style of TOY their finale started off at a fairly quick tempo and constantly gradually built from that point until five minutes later we had a frantic and energising finish, the perfect set up for Sundara Karma and an already excitable crowd.
As Sundara Karma entered the stage the atmosphere sharply rose from its already high starting point. From the moment he appeared front-man Oscar Lulu was mesmeric. His androgynous dress sense and cool indifference made me instantly envious of his persona and it was clear to see why so many fans adore him and the rest of the band.
Every song got a vibrant reaction, especially “Flames” and latest track “A Young Understanding”. Oscars vocal range and consistency really shone at this point as Sundara Karma owned the stage in a way seasoned professionals do, not the young upstarts that they are. They took the opportunity to showcase some new material and test it out on the crowd, from the energy the incredibly catchy and driving “Olympia” evoked within the venue their forthcoming album is one to look out for. The encore concluded with “Loveblood”, the highlight of the whole night, which literally pushed the fans over the edge.
As entertaining as Sundara Karma were I found the behaviour of the crowd just as interesting. It was the kind of audience reaction that you expect to see at a Rage Against The Machine concert. During the breakdowns in every track they separated to form a circle pit, rushing in on each other and vigorously moshing the moment the chorus kicked in. As the final track of the set began the crowd rushed and invaded the stage, dancing with the band and singing along down the mics.