Tag Archives: Indie

Sundara Karma at Albert Hall, Manchester

Sundara Karma Albert Hall Manchester
Sundara Karma at Albert Hall, Manchester

Sundara Karma are one of the UK’s most talented indie bands around on the scene right now, so it was a pleasure to go and catch their gig at the Albert Hall in Manchester last Thursday evening. This four-piece band formed in Reading when they were only 14 years old, which makes me feel rather old as this time seven years ago I was still a 20 year old university student! Needless to say, despite feeling like a senior member of the audience, it was exciting to finally hear their debut album “Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect” performed live at a sold out show.

This debut album cultivates all those feelings you have as a youngster, perhaps while going through your formative years. But, even at 27 it’s just so easy to listen to. Nevertheless, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this gig even after listening to this album plenty of times. I was also unfortunate enough to miss their set at Y Not Festival in 2016 (but not this year, I’ll be sure to see them again this time around).

The opening track of their live set was “A Young Understanding”, one of the first Sundara Karma songs I heard while browsing Spotify last year. This was a superb show opener to rally up the crowd. This was followed by what has been described in an interview with Clash Magazine as ‘maybe all-round our favourite track as a band’, “Olympia”. Its shimmering guitars, raw vocals and punchy chorus stood out brilliantly.

Sundara Karma continued the set with further stand-out singles and tracks such as “Flame”, “She Said”, “Vivienne” and of course “Happy Family”. Sundara Karma are probably right in their recent Facebook post claiming “Jesus would’ve been a fan of balloons” because the roof of the Albert Hall was raised even more when their big balloons entered the crowd!

As the gig came to an end, Sundara Karma performed an unlikely yet blistering cover of “Never Too Much” originally sang by Luther Vandross, a song that you just can’t help but dance to. The final song of the set was “Loveblood”, all hands went up in the air and mobile phone cameras were all taken out quickly to capture photos and videos. This last song is one of the band’s most well-known singles, and it’s that kind of colourful, vibrant indie track that stays in your head long after the gig has ended.

The Albert Hall was a superb venue choice for Sundara Karma, the music sounded excellent and the entire show was memorable, but most of all it left you feeling good when you walked out. Sundara Karma will be performing at various festivals this summer, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them again.

Setlist

A Young Understanding
Olympia
Freshbloom
Flame
Watching From Great Heights
Hustle
Lose The Feeling
She Said
Indigo Puff
The Night
Vivienne
Happy Family
Never Too Much (Luther Vandross Cover)
Loveblood

Listen to “Loveblood” by Sundara Karma on their official YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDLWI3VQb40

Image credit @sundarakarma official Twitter – https://twitter.com/sundarakarma

Vaults at The Deaf Institute, Manchester

Formed in 2013, Vaults are an electronic trio hailing from Hertfordshire and South London and are currently touring their debut album “Caught In Still Life”. Known for tracks such as “One Last Night” which starred in the huge Hollywood hit film Fifty Shades of Grey, and more recently a cover of “One Day I’ll Fly Away” on the John Lewis Christmas advert of 2016, Vaults are becoming even more successful.

First up on stage at the Deaf Institute, a Grade II-listed beautiful and quaint Manchester venue, was Hannah Peel. Born in Northern Ireland but speaking softly in a subtle South Yorkshire accent, she took to the stage and blew us away. From the incredibly upbeat show-starter “All That Matters” to a stunning cover of “Cars In The Garden” by Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile, Hannah Peel brought back memories of some of Imogen Heap’s very early work. Peel used just her voice and a music box to perform “Cars In The Garden”, and this was one of the most captivating moments of the set. In what was a completely solo performance using various instruments from synths to the violin, Peel demonstrated real, genuine talent.

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Hannah Peel

Next up were headline act, Vaults. Beginning with “Cry No More”, this was the track that lifted the band after it received over 100,000 plays in just a week on SoundCloud when first uploaded in 2015. The song captured the audience right away from the mesmerising glockenspiel intro, to Blythe’s vocals all combined with superb musical layering.

Vaults Live 1
Vaults at Deaf Institute

A full one-hour set followed, including stand-out tracks such as “Premonitions”, “Lifespan”, “One Last Night”, and “Hurricane”. I was taken aback by the sheer musical ability overall as well as Blythe’s strong, sometimes eerie melodies throughout the show. The performance was emotive and it was evident in the reaction of the audience, with each and every single person taking it all in.

Vaults Live 2
Vaults

As the band were only on a small stage there was no need for a real encore where everyone wanders backstage to come back minutes later. As such, Vaults continued with the amazing “Midnight River”, a soulful, energetic number with a great hook, and most likely a firm favourite for the audience. The final song of the night was “Blood Flow”, offering a vibrant end to the night with pounding percussion.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable sell-out show at one of Manchester’s finest indie venues. For avid fans or for people with no prior knowledge of their music, Vaults certainly left an impression.

Setlist
Cry No More
Premonitions
Vultures
Lifespan
Overcome
One Last Night
Orphan
Paradise
Mend This Love
Hurricane
Bells
The Valley
Poison
Midnight River
Blood Flow

Check out Vaults – Midnight River here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hz5-i51Khg