Published on February 23rd, 2017 | by Tyler Hallows0
Review: Sundara Karma at Reading University Student’s Union
It’s been a while since Reading University have hosted gigs from touring bands across the country. Back in the 90’s bands from Muse to Slowdive have all played at the university’s student’s union, and it’s hard to understand why this has stopped in recent years. 3Sixty is an excellent venue, with fantastic staging and plenty of room to cram in excited teenagers, and cram in is exactly what happened.
To say the atmosphere, as local legends Sundara Karma entered the stage, was electric would be an understatement. Walking onstage to Gwen Stefani’s certified banger ‘Hollaback Girl’, the audience roared in excitement. The opening riff of ‘A Young Understanding’ set the room alight and the main standing area became a non-stop pit of jumping, singing and most notably sweating for the next hour.
Many people in the audience have seen Sundara Karma countless times over the years, from their first performances at venues like the Rising Sun Arts Centre and Sub89 – while for many others, this show being many peoples first ever gig. The progression of the boys’ live performance is undeniable; there is so much more confidence onstage, with vocalist Oscar Lulu ditching his guitar for a few tunes to make his way over the crowd to sing.
As for the setlist, the night lent itself primarily to songs from their debut album ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’, however the audience were treated to rare outings of early songs ‘Indigo Puff’ and ‘Hustle’, the former being a particular highlight from the show. Songs like ‘She Said’ and ‘Vivienne’ sent the crowd insane whereas ‘Happy Family’ showed a different side to Sundara Karma, slower and more progressive; it was a fitting end to the main set.
Of course it wasn’t over yet, the band returned to the stage at 3Sixty to play album closer ‘The Night’ and end the standout show in chaos with fan favourite ‘Loveblood’. There wasn’t a single person in that standing area that wasn’t drenched in sweat as the final chords came to close the show. To see Sundara Karma come back to their hometown to such a frenzied and loving response was magical and heart-warming, and their meteoric rise to success is more than well deserved.