(photo: Amber Pollack)
Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing stage set up of the year, Sundara Karma’s second show at The Plug, Sheffield couldn’t have been better artistically executed. Not only the staging itself of the three gradient circles as the backdrop for the show but the band’s matching stage-wear made it feel like a real performance, in every sense of the word, displaying showmanship in the most polished manner imaginable. However much people don’t like to admit it, stage presence and appearance is part of the experience and to have such careful coordination shows that the band cares about audience satisfaction.
Due to high demand, Sundara Karma added extra dates to their popular headline tour with Sheffield being one of the cities with high interest. No wonder there was such a sell out to require a second show with the line up being Sundara Karma and The Magic Gang, two of the most talked about indie bands in the scene in one place. It’s a better-rounded gig when the support acts and headliners are akin as it creates a show with more depth. This type of consideration made the night feel like a celebration of the genre rather than just a gig with disparate and unrelated music acts.
The setlist was a breath of fresh air, a perfect mix of the obvious hits and some surprising insertions. It was the splitting up of the more popular songs which added to the excitement and anticipation, while also allowing someone to appreciate their lesser known and equally good album favorites like the David Bowie-esque ‘Another Word for Beautiful’. The atmosphere was contagious during the songs ‘She Said’, ‘Explore’ and ‘Olympia’ where the entire audience, from front to back, were dancing. It’s impressive if a band get the entire crowd going, (usually a feat in itself as the crowd is almost always divided) yet Sundara Karma managed it with ease, without even prompting involvement and participation, something which even the greatest rockstars struggle with.