Mosh pits and crowdsurfing aplenty, the newly-established Talking Heads in Southampton’s city centre warmly welcomed indie quartet Sundara Karma in one of the rowdiest gigs I have experienced in recent years. In a fervent audience of no more than 150, frontman Oscar Pollock and company induced a pandemonic set, that perhaps lacked acoustically but more than exceeded expectations atmospherically.
Since appearing on the BBC’s Introducing Stage in their hometown of Reading way back in 2013, the band released two EP’s last year, aptly named EP I and II, and have subsequently built a passionate and considerable fanbase, which was certainly evident last night. Likened to ‘indie-Springsteens’ and hotly tipped for future success, a debut album will follow later this year, according to the band itself.
The night’s first support act Blaenavon delivered a set that was short of emotion and failed to engage the then sparse crowd, perhaps due to the largely downbeat nature of their set list and a limited following. However, the accomplished, genre and era-fusing Beach Baby marked a steady improvement in proceedings, with the 1980s-inspired, somewhat psychedelic tracks ‘Limousine’ and ‘Sleeperhead’, as the crowd started to grow in both depth and mood.
Unsurprisingly, Sundara Karma’s introduction was met with crowd euphoria. ‘A Young Understanding’, released a little over a week ago, was an apt choice for a set opener, setting the tone for the mosh pits and chaos that would ensue.
The band also offered new material in the form of the infectious ‘Olympia’, ‘Lose the Feeling’ and ‘She Said’, which were more than encouraging ahead of their album release and yet again were well-received by the venue, which was now a few rows back in depth . ‘Flame’, a personal favourite and undeniably the band’s catchiest and most popular track, was a slightly more mellow affair than I had anticipated but was still the highlight of the night, for me.
Following a less than orthodox encore, the set drew with the bedlam-inducing ‘Loveblood’, as a large proportion of the venue mobbed the band on-stage, in a frankly chaotic conclusion.
Sundara Karma’s February and March UK tour continues across the country until the 11th March, with shows in Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and London, to name but a few. The band will also be supporting Nothing But Thieves in April, as well as appearing at a number of festivals.