Live: Sundara Karma / Ten Tonnes / Pleasure Inc

The Waterfront, Norwich November 30, 2023

by Olivia Keer

Local duo Pleasure Inc open this sold-out evening with their mix of nostalgic and modern sounds, creating a rhythmic fusion of past and present.

With the blending of their instruments backed by the addition of two further band members assisting on guitar, piano, tambourine and maraca, an assortment of funky tracks pour from the stage.

Pleasure Inc deliver sounds of past and present (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Pleasure Inc deliver sounds of past and present (Picture: Olivia Keer)

There’s a quick break before Ethan Barnett – stage name Ten Tonnes – comes on, and the singer-songwriter stands alone under the lights with nothing but his guitar.

With nowhere to hide this would be daunting for many, but not for Ten Tonnes, who looks nothing but at home.

Ten Tonnes is thoroughly undaunted (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Ten Tonnes is thoroughly undaunted (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The jaunty tunes which flow from his honest vocals, paired with a profound guitar accompaniment, should see him follow in the footsteps of other successful artists who have played here.

With a little help from my friends: Oscar Pollock (Picture: Olivia Keer)
With a little help from my friends: Oscar Pollock (Picture: Olivia Keer)

After a blast of introduction music as blue and pink square lights flash, Sundara Karma emerge from the wings.

Oscar Pollock (vocals and guitar), Ally Baty (guitar), Dom Cordell (bass) and Haydn Evans (drums) have been staples on the indie scene over the past decade.

Sundara Karma give us their anthems (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Sundara Karma give us their anthems (Picture: Olivia Keer)

With anthems that have soundtracked the teenage years of many, they kick off their set with one of those tracks, and the first line of the punchy She Said is an instant crowd mover.

Taken from debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect, it glimmers with the nostalgia of their previous electrifying performances here.

Dom Cordell on bass (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Dom Cordell on bass (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Songs such as Illusions and Pain + Pleasure highlight Sundara Karma’s musical capabilities, and there are addictive drum beats and inviting guitar riffs.

Debuting new track Friends Of Mine, Pollock apologises for his vocals, saying that his voice feels hoarse, but it’s impossible to tell he is struggling.

Sundara Karma deserve to hit the big time (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Sundara Karma deserve to hit the big time (Picture: Olivia Keer)

It’s the familiar notes of the intro to A Young Understanding – the single that saw them burst onto the scene – that feel like the turning point of the evening, further energising the venue, and this dynamic atmosphere continues as they go straight into the anthemic Loveblood.

The main set ends with the fading out of Sounds Good To Me before they return for the encore, which includes the fan-favourite Flame and sees Pollock get up close with the audience.

Guitarist Ally Baty (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Guitarist Ally Baty (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Watching Sundara Karma is as intense and engrossing as ever, even if there are no longer the bustling mosh pits that once filled the floor at their gigs.

It’s a wonder how they’ve never fully broken into the mainstream alongside the likes of Blossoms, but they remain just as relevant and at the top of their game.

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