BBC Music Presents
14 Nov 2016: Gramercy Theatre New York
As the CMJ Music Marathon didn’t happen in 2016, the BBC Music showcase felt like a substitute for CMJ—a way to discover new bands via a curated show. It was with an open mind I attended their event on November 14th. Whether it was because the show wasn’t well publicized or because it was a Monday night, the crowd at the Gramercy Theatre felt a bit underwhelming. I stayed for two sets, the first being from a rock group Sundara Karma and the second from a soulful singer named Izzy Bizu.
The name Sundara Karma attracted me somewhat to the show given it reflected some South Asian sensibilities. However, I was wrong—neither the band nor their music notably drew from Indian roots. The four piece rock band were still entertaining at least. Their standout song was a track (I think) called “Skinny” that had a TV on the Radio-esque vibe. With a handful of EPs out, Sundara Karma are set to release their full-length debut Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect in the near future.
Next up was Izzy Bizu—a soulful singer who unfortunately had some sound issues early on that seemed to sap her confidence. But by the end of her set, after she had lost an earpiece, Bizu was winning over the now-larger crowd. Her set included two of her recent singles “Mad Behaviour” and the powerful and fun “White Tiger”, the latter of which closed out her set. U.S. pop stars don’t tend to sing with as much soul as their UK comrades so Bizu’s charming voice will help her stand out from the mix.