Sundara Karma w/ Blaenavon & The Night Cafe @ O2 Academy (12/2/17)
Jess Fleming | 20 February 2017 | Editors' Choice
Walking up the steep stairs of Liverpool’s O2 Academy I could already feel the atmosphere building for the night ahead. Local band The Night Café were about to take to the stage as I entered the room, evident from the crowd’s cheers that you could hear a mile off. It was clear to see why as soon as they started playing- having played the likes of T in the Park and Liverpool’s very own SoundCity, and racking up over 115,000 Spotify listeners a month, this is a band that’s making waves. Their chilled out vibes remind me of that of The Magic Gang and JAWS, merging with the funky upbeat sound of other rising stars King No-One. A highlight of their set for me was the laid back track Addicted, which had the crowd swaying from the start. The Night Café are back in Liverpool in April so be sure not to miss out!
The Night Cafe // Photo Credit: Georgia Flynn
Up next was Blaenavon, a trio from Hampshire who have been gaining a strong following over the past 4 years. Having already supported Sundara Karma last February meant the night could’ve easily been mistaken for a Blaenavon gig rather than Sundara Karma. It’s clear that performing comes effortless for the band who ran from track to track with ease. Armed with slick guitars, roaring vocals and a range of styles, this is a band who aren’t scared to try something new and be themselves.
The atmosphere was infectious, as even those who hadn’t heard of the band were instantaneously captivated. Playing a mixture of songs both old and new, Blaenavon certainly did not disappoint. Let’s Pray, an upbeat track with darker eerie lyrics, had the whole room moving in time to its memorable rhythm, whilst heavier tracks I Will Be The World and Prague saw everyone scream along as if their lives depended on it. The whole set blew me away, making me even more excited for their debut album which is to be released this April along with their first headline Liverpool show at Studio 2. Tickets now available here.
Blaenavon // Photo Credit: Georgia Flynn
Finally, it was time for the main event on the night, Sundara Karma. Opening with A Young Understanding, the first track of their debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, the crowd erupted with circle pits being created within minutes and people already on each other’s shoulders. Fan favourite Olympia came next, with frontman Oscar Lulu’s vocals soaring as the track progresses and making it purely impossible not to love. Flame was exceptionally memorable, as Lulu let the crowd take the reins on the vocals adding to the speciality of the night for there is always something beautiful of being part of a large crowd with everyone singing in unison.
Sundara Karma // Photo Credit: Georgia Flynn
The set went from strength to strength evidently showing that there is never a dull moment when Sunny K are about, from the clapping along and sudden outburst in energy during Lose the Feeling to the screaming of lyrics during She Said. The giant balloons being thrown around the crowd just added to the entertainment. Despite being a tour promoting their album, it wouldn’t be a Sundara show without Indigo Puff making an appearance, slowing down the pace of the room but nonetheless not completely stopping the movement of bodies in the packed venue. I don’t think I ever stopped moving for a moment when Sundara were on stage (definitely not when Happy Family– one of the most uplifting tracks in existence started playing) purely for the atmosphere and energy of both the band and the audience, proving a good crowd will always make a show so much better.
Photo Credit: Georgia Flynn
The encore saw an interesting turn of events as the opening bars to Luther Vandross’ smash hit Never Too Much echoed out of the speakers yet the crowd continued to dance and sing along to the 80s classic. Loveblood was a perfect end to a perfect night, leaving the whole of Liverpool wishing the return of Sundara Karma is as soon as humanly possible.