Stockport rockers Blossoms’ story is one that truly endears them to their audience and the music industry alike. They’re young, fresh and full of energy, but with an understanding of the struggle it takes to succeed in the music business, each member having tried and failed in past musical endeavours while working other jobs to make ends meet. In a stark contrast to the plethora of manufactured bands that come and go with the seasons, it’s Blossoms’ songs that have got them where they are. As it should be.
The Tom Ogden-led indie rockers played their biggest London headline show to date at Kentish Town’s Forum venue, selling the North London favourite out and making a statement about their arrival following the release of their self-titled debut L.P. last month. Strolling on stage encased in shadows to the intro of Kayne West’s Black Skinhead, the 5-piece tore straight into single At Most A Kiss, the audience enthralled to finally be singing along with the 23-year-old frontman, who hid behind his long hair and guitar as Charlie Salt’s bass parts vibrated throughout the former art deco cinema.
“Thank you London, we’re Blossoms from Stockport” Ogden said in his deep Mancunian accent to a cheering crowd before launching into 2015 single Cut Me And I’ll Bleed, the crowd singing along to Josh Dewhurst’s catchy lead guitar part before any words were sung. “Let’s have a round of applause for Myles Kellock on the keyboard” Ogden called as Joe Donovan’s bass drum kicked off 2014 single Blow, the psychedelic undertones of the verses giving the tune a distinctive flavour, leaving a lasting aftertaste in the minds of the audience as Ogden left them to sing the song out without musical accompaniment. The quirky Smashed Pianos was up next, once again demonstrating the unique make-up of the groups debut record which led it to taking the #1 spot on the UK album charts on release and held it there for two weeks.
Following a well-received outing of latest single Honey Sweet, and fan favourite Blown Rose with its whimsical lyrics – “Stately homes of England, how beautiful they stand” – the band departed the stage leaving Ogden solo to strap on an acoustic guitar. “Do you all mind if I slow down a little bit?” he asked of the audience. The frontman then proceeded to converse with a member of the audience, fishing out that the fan had had his heart broken by a girl named Kayla. So for his stripped-back rendition of My Favourite Room, Ogden slipped in the girl’s name into his lyrics, to laughs from the audience, before winding up the song with a few bars of Babybird’s 1996 hit single You’re Gorgeous leading into a few from Oasis b-side Half The World Away.
Chants of ‘Stockport’ welcomed the rest of the band back on stage, Odgen turning to Kellock and asking him if he thought that was the first ever chant of their home town in the London venue before the tempo was raised once more with album cut Texia, the hook-laden pop tune leading the crowd to bop along to guitars and synths mixing harmoniously atop the track’s disco rhythm.
More chants of ‘Stockport, Stockport’ met the group as Texia came to a close. “Stockport? Have you ever been?” Ogden asked of those shouting the name of his hometown. Reeling off the town’s highlights he continued: “We’ve got a hat museum, we’ve got a 24-hour Tesco, and we’ve got fucking Blossoms!” More psychedelica was up next in the form of Deep Grass, the deep-set bass underlying trippy synths for the slow-groove album cut.
“Have you got one more in you London?!” Odgen asked of his audience to enthusiastic cheers before the group launched into biggest hit Charlemagne, the tune enticing the audience to engage once again, those in the balcony on their feet to see the lads out.
The Northerners have had a busy and incredible 2016, from making the #4 spot for BBC’s Sound of 2016, playing some 150 gigs, hitting the festival scene in earnest with 45 appearances, their eponymous debut album’s release which saw it at #1 for two weeks and now their biggest headline tour to date, and they seem to be enjoying every last second of it and putting the Greater Manchester area back on the music map once again. Their set was short but sweet, comprised of just the twelve songs from their debut album, but their abrupt departure with no encore did seem to leave their audience a little shell-shocked. I’m sure as their repertoire expands and newer material comes into the fold, their show will be adjusted accordingly.
Blossoms continue hitting up the UK through to 8th October’s Neighbourhood Festival in Manchester before packing up their kit for U.S. and European dates before returning to the UK for a run of shows kicking off with two at Manchester’s Albert Hall and a stop at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire before closing out the year at Bournemouth’s Old Fire Station.
Live review of Blossoms @ The Forum, Kentish Town by Kalpesh Patel on 29th September 2016.
Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate