Fresh from their bout of hugely successful shows back in their homeland, UK punk-rockers Sundara Karma played a one-off set in the popular Brooklyn indie-hub, Rough Trade. The band, who are now used to playing packed out 1,000 capacity venues and festival main stages in England, were greeted by a small but lively crowd of 200 people in the intimate venue, where they performed a short set list with songs from their excellent debut album, Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect. The album’s lyrics conform to a political theme, with added garage-punk inspired riffs that masquerade as pop, which gives it a commercial feel.
The set began with the upbeat “A Young Understanding”, the opening number form their debut, and featured guitar-heavy fan favourites such as “Flame” and “She Said”, which had the dedicated fans at the front dancing and singing along to every word. A technical issue briefly halted the set, but frontman Oscar Lulu handles it like a pro, chatting to the crowd about the local area and once again thanking them for attending, and also mentions what a huge deal it is for an English band to be able to play in New York. He sounds truly humbled by the experience, despite only playing in the city a few months prior.
The British foursome act chilled on stage – there is little choreography or movement from the band during the set, a contrast to the typical punk band, however their stance seems cool and confident, and doesn’t stop the crowd’s participation. Completing the set with the energetic and drum-heavy “Loveblood”, Sundara Karma once again showed why they deserve to have such a loyal following in the States. As they played, the crowd were jumping, dancing, singing and screaming. This show has proven that the band already begun to make their mark on the increasingly difficult-to-break American market, and they can only go from strength to strength.