Sundara Karma, INHEAVEN and The Night Café Stun Their London Crowd, 16.09.2016

Friday 16th September was a very special night for London’s young indie music scene as Sundara Karma headlined Heaven, with support from The Night Café and INHEAVEN. Full of energy and just a great excitingly raucous, vibrant atmosphere, the night was absolutely incredible and really put emphasis on the growing indie rock scene in the country. The three bands that played come from up and down the country; Sundara Karma being from Reading, The Night Café from Liverpool, and INHEAVEN from London. Each band had a really cool DIY feel, and such a cool indie-pop rock sound. Being at a gig in the London club Heaven was immense to, as it’s such a good venue. The venue itself is tucked away underground, in central Charring Cross. It’s small and dark and intimate, with a sick live sound. The venue opened in 1979, six months after Thatcher became Prime Minister which the venue mark as being the perfect time for the opening of such a venue, as ‘The Swing London of the 1960s was a distant memory.’ And that bright, exciting, dazzling edge from the 60s certainly was revitalised in Heaven. The venue runs as a gay nightclub, but also acts as one of the city’s best venues for rock gigs, having had performances from acts like Ratboy and Blood Red Shoes, and with upcoming performances from The Japanese House and Pretty Vicious.


The doors opened at 6.45- with hundreds of eager fans waiting in the cold in anticipation for Sundara Karma. The first band to play were Liverpool four piece The Night Café, who are made up of Sean Martin, Carl Dillon, Arran O’Connell and Josh Higgins. For such a new band, they had a really intense quality that makes their tracks sound well beyond their years- it’s edgy rough indie rock, kind of similar to bands like Peace or The Bohicas. Despite the crowd being really dead and unenthusiastic for their set, I found The Night Café to be really vivid and so professional and well-practiced; the quality of their set was ridiculously impressive, and sounded fucking amazing. Their sound is really uplifting indie-pop, and to me their best tracks are ‘Mixed Signals’ and ‘Addicted.’ And with the funky bass lines, drum riffs and raspy indie vocals, you can’t go wrong with this band who are certainly ones to watch.


After The Night Café, the second (and final) support act played: INHEAVEN. Getting over the amusing connotation of seeing INHEAVEN in Heaven, they were outstanding. Having never really listened to them before, I was blown away by them and the intense sound they created on stage. The band’s sound is hard to describe, part of it being indie-rock, with pop and grunge elements to it. They’re made up of James, Chloe, Jake and Joe. What I particularly loved about them was their charisma and fun messy stage presence- they looked so excited to be playing, especially when the entire crowd were singing along to their tracks and jumping and moshing in unison to ‘Baby’s Alright.’ The crowd really went crazy, with heavy moshing and circle pits. The band have a really creative art-pop aura about them too, blending all sorts of musical genres together beautifully. James has a great voice too; it’s melodic but also rough and raw- but maybe this edgy sound is due to their hardcore lyrics, like the line ‘No they ain’t got your technology so we’ll burn ‘em down with no apology.’ The band (who released ‘Regeneration,’ their debut single, on Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records label) are badass and deserve more and more recognition; their raw talent and sick vibrancy on stage, paired with the mental reaction they got from the crowd is proof that they are needed right now- quite simply, they killed it. Their set came after a killer slot at Reading & Leeds festival on the Festival Republic Stage, and they’re also in the middle of their UK tour with support from grungy indie quartet Pale Waves. For last minute tickets you can buy them here.


And then finally, it was time for Sundara Karma. There’s a really magical element to the band, and they have so much going for them. They recently opened up the Reading & Leeds main stage, playing an impressive opening set to thousands. Heaven also marked the start of their September 2016 tour, which includes dates at Manchester’s O2 Ritz and Liverpool’s Arts Club- for last minute tickets, they can be purchased here. The hype and build up and anticipation to see Sundara Karma was unreal. Their fans were head over heels in excitement, just showing how much their music has touched people and connected with them. They formed 5 years ago in 2011, and have built up a fiercely dedicated strong fan base, following years of relentless gigging and the release of perfect indie music. Their indie-infused rock sound is undeniably outstanding, and they just sound incredible whatever they do- whether it’s their own tracks, or covers like their cover last Friday of Luther Vandross’ R&B soul track ‘Never Too Much.’ Overall, Sundara Karma were magnificent. They played all their big tracks, including ‘Vivienne’, ‘Loveblood,’ ‘Indigo Puff’ and ‘Flame.’ They’re so much fun on stage too and Oscar’s vocals actually sound better in real life than on record. It’s rare for a band to be better live than they are on record, but Sundara Karma really are- their sound was absolutely beautiful, so melodically perfect and almost trippy and hypnotic to listen to. Oscar had a really soft feminine edge too, with the hip swaying and gorgeous melodic voice. The guitar riffs paired with the vocals and massive backdrop of their sun logo was all perfect, literally nothing was wrong with their set. I’ve read reviews in the past talking of Sundara Karma being bad and boring and dull live, but I feel like this is the same problem bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen have; with such a young crowd, Sundara Karma have a really infectious atmosphere that you’re either involved in or not. When you’re not part of their heavy, crazy mosh-pit wild crowd, it’s hard to see the appeal but when you’re in their bubble, it’s honestly the best thing ever. Their rousing, indie infused pop-rock edge was undeniably brilliant, and was so fun and raw and vivid live. Up until now, the band have released a variety of singles, as well as EP I and EP II. Their debut album, ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is due for release next year on January 6th, and it’s available to pre-order now. To finally see them live properly (having only caught the last half of their set at Reading), I was absolutely blown away- it’s so refreshing to see such fantastic new indie bands selling out some of London’s most renowned venues, and if Friday was anything to go by, Sundara Karma are destined to sell out many more.


See below for the full setlist, from Sundara Karma, The Night Café and INHEAVEN

The Night Café

  1. Time
  2. The Way of Mary
  3. You Change With The Seasons
  4. Together
  5. Addicted
  6. Mixed Signals


  1. All There Is
  2. Stupid Things
  3. Baby’s Alright
  4. Meat Somebody
  5. Real Love
  6. Drift
  7. Bitter Town
  8. Regeneration

Sundara Karma

  1. Indigo Puff
  2. A Young Understanding
  3. Run Away
  4. Olympia
  5. Freshbloom
  6. Never Too Much
  7. She Said
  8. Flame
  9. Deep Relief
  10. Vivienne
  11. The Night (encore)
  12. Loveblood (encore)

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