Darlia + Sundara Karma + The Mighty Young, The Institute, Birmingham 26/01/14

A cold Sunday night in Birmingham and with some favourable comparisons flying about I figured it was a good opportunity to check out the seemingly rising band Darlia from Blackpool.

The Mighty Young
The Mighty Young opened proceedings and they did so well. After checking out their material pre-gig on YouTube I had to check with the now two-piece outfit’s frontman and talented guitarist Joe if they were the same band. They were but The Mighty Young now offer a bolder sound. The Mighty Young echoed The White Stripes, an obvious reference but more so The Cramps, Mudhoney, Tad and at times Hendrix. For instance ‘Oh My’ was angular, trashy yet clearly structured. A strong sound from very able musicians clearly in sync with each other.

Sundara Karma
Sundara Karma start with minimal sounds before the four-piece swell into an 80’s alternative style. Confident if not groundbreaking, Sundara Karma bring to mind Echo & The Bunnymen and aren’t unafraid to throw in Alt-J style vocals at times. A nice effect was the drums, unremarkable in some ways until they mix organic drums with electronic beats.
Darlia, fresh with them Nirvana press comparisons take the stage with what hits one as an Eastern alt-rock vibe. “Bloodmoney’ gets the set started and it’s a solid start to an unfairly sparse audience. Three more songs roll (‘Vanilla’, ‘Candyman’ and ‘Pandemonium’) before Darlia up the ante. ‘Bite The Apple’ hits harder and the Nirvana comparisons become clear. What Darlia have is clear musical ability, frankly the Nirvana comparison is too high and the band lack that pure dark edge, but this does not stop them from sounding very good. Kula Shaker and The Libertines spring to mind and the vocal delivery is a strong one accompanied by fevered bass and solid drums.

As they drop ‘Napalm’ the crowd get more animated and the song could be a big crossover for Darlia; it’s a robust song that offers a lot which knowingly harking backwards to the very early 90’s. The time is probably right for this sound to re-emerge. It needs more raw power and gut wrenching earnesty than Darlia do presently offer but clearly that is not beyond them.
‘Swallow Soil’ is breezed over before the no-encore set ending ‘Queen Of Hearts’ racks up the bar again, and again underlines the bands potential. Nirvana? No. Ones to watch? Yes…
Photographs by Jonathan Morgan