When I learned about the BBC Music Presents U.S. tour, I jumped at the opportunity to go. They were bringing emerging U.K. music to U.S. stages, and it sounded like a perfect fit for United By Pop. This particular tour, which was the first of four to come over the next year, consisted of Spring King (who we interviewed last week), Sundara Karma, and Izzy Bizu.
The crowd was admittedly a little sparse at the Brighton Music Hall. It was a Tuesday night and absolutely down pouring outside, which unfortunately seemed to keep people at home after work and classes. Brighton is a student-heavy section of Boston that’s usually a great place to discover new music, and I don’t think this sort of turnout is typical. The doors opened at 7pm, and Spring King took the stage at 8pm. Tarek, Pete, Andy, and James didn’t seem deterred in the slightest by the size of the audience, though, giving it their all and commanding the small venue. Their enjoyment of being on stage was obvious and contagious, and when they drank beers between songs, it felt like drinking with friends.
It took about 15 minutes once Spring King left the stage for Sundara Karma to come out. All three acts had nice long sets and an opportunity to really showcase their music, but that did mean that Izzy Bizu didn’t come out until after 10pm. On a Tuesday night, that’s a little rough (for a 9-5er like me, at least). Sundara Karma’s lead singer Oscar gave the band a totally different (read: more serious) vibe than Spring King’s relaxed and casual one; he was the sort of commanding, androgynous frontman destined to become the thing of posters and magazine covers if the band takes off. They already felt too big for <500 capacity venue (with roughly 30 people in it).
The show ended with Izzy Bizu, who was a nice, soulful, feminine change from the previous two acts. Like Sundara Karma, she had a voice made and ready to fill larger spaces than where we were. She sent us back out into the rainy Tuesday night with an undeniably smooth and chill feeling inside that stayed with me for the entire train ride home (as did my shoe envy).
.@IzzyBizu killed it last night #whitetiger pic.twitter.com/2i0eubVDvb
— Tyler Borosavage (@tboro1) November 16, 2016
It’s obvious that the BBC sent over some really promising acts from the U.K. I hope that the turnout is better in other cities so that these bands can get the recognition they deserve, because all of them had songs I could really picture climbing the charts over here in the U.S. The BBC Music Presents tour has already stopped in New York City (November 14), and of course, Boston (November 15), and has these remaining dates:
- Philadelphia, Friday, November 18
- Cleveland, Sunday, November 20
- Detroit, Tuesday, November 22
- Chicago, Wednesday, November 23
You can buy tickets for all dates here.