6th February 2017

Though they were the supporting, Sundara Karma could easily have been mistaken for the headline act, with the venue almost filled as they played through cuts from their recently released debut album “Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect”. They played an intense set that got the crowd moving right from the off, taking a breather only for the nostalgic, slow-builder “Happy Burner” before finishing on single “Loveblood”, arguably their best song. It seems fortunate that have come along just in time to fill the vacant space in the UK music scene left by the Maccabees since they disbanded last year, though, if anything, Sundara Karma’s live sets are even more energetic than that band.


Two Door Cinema Club’s sound has changed only subtly since they last played Newcastle over four years ago but given the reception they received I doubt anyone seemed to care for ‘artistic growth’. Fan’s of the bands post-2010 output would have been disappointed as the band’s set leaned heavily on their debut album though I think this worked well. The tracks from subsequent albums provided nice, slight variations to their debut album’s frenetic guitar pop. The tracks from new album “Gameshow” such as “Bad Decisions” and “Ordinary” added disco-lite elements to the bands sound while “Changing of the Seasons” moves into EDM territory (with Madeon being the producer it should be expected). Of course tracks from their debut still received the best reaction from the crowd, “Eat That Up, It’s Good For You” being the stand out for me. 


The band, then, seem stuck between wanting to experiment with their sound (as they have over two albums and an EP) while not wanting to venture too far from what made them popular in the first place, a common problem. Their current sound, while mostly enjoyable, just doesn’t sound like it quite fits the band. This could be attributed to not being willing to make large enough changes to the sound. At times it can seem soulless compared to their older songs which always exhibited a youthful exuberance. You can see the direction they are heading in though and it isn’t far off sounding good. As other bands of their era, like The XX and Bombay Bicycle Club, have shown, it is possible to find success with a new evolution of your sound, sometimes it just takes a few attempt to get it right. 


(Two Door Cinema Club, O2 Academy Newcastle 31st January)

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