I last saw Blossoms in October last year when my blog was just a hobby and getting off the ground; five months later and both the band and my blog have grown considerably. Of course, seeing the Stockport lads the first-time round was an incredible experience, but it was more special this time due to the performance taking place at my local venue. I had been waiting a while for Blossoms to announce a show in my local county for ages, so I was delighted when they announced they would be bringing the tour to Lincoln, and taking outrageous flamboyant punk act Cabbage on the journey with them. Front row was always the goal for positioning in the crowd on the night, and after queuing in the cold for a good hour, success was earned when I ended up directly in front of the stage!
Blossoms had two supports – the already mentioned Cabbage, and young singer-songwriter Rory Wynne. Rory took to the stage first, producing a slick and assuring performance. Some of the audience may have thought Rory pretentious and lacked warmth with the crowd, especially with his swift stage exit at the conclusion of his set, but I felt all these factors including his unfailing confidence on stage added to his confident stage swagger. Rory could sing well too, and sung the material he writes himself – along with a growing number of young passionate teenagers including Declan McKenna (who coincidently supported Blossoms on their previous UK tour), Rory is a singer-songwriter and has a unique strength in both fields. Proving this was the catchiness of the material he performed – one insatiable chorus I picked up on included the ever-so-relatable lyrics ‘Why don’t you return my calls? / It makes me feel worthless to you’.
Following Rory were Cabbage – after their bonkers but mesmerising performance at Rock City I immediately became a massive fan of the Mossley group. Their stage antics at Nottingham of chucking water on the crowd and genuinely not giving a toss about how they acted or what they said were class and I hoped they would be repeated in front of the Lincoln crowd…and they did not hold back! Cabbage are a band who are so unpredictable and were a surprising choice to me as a support act on a tour sponsored by fallen-from-grace, squeaky clean and safe NME, but they are the kick the music industry needs. I adored every feature of their set, from the group’s casual, laidback choice of outfits, to Lee and Joe swapping vocal duties throughout the performance. All thirty minutes of their performance was thrash and loud, heavy raucous sounds reflected in their set-list featuring ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’, and ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’. The best moment of the night was their compelling, humorous performance of ‘Dinner Lady’. Cabbage have the attitude and energy to become a major punk name in the months and years ago; they are doing all the right things The Sex Pistols and The Clash were doing decades ago.
Blossoms – Quality of Vocals / Instrument Playing
Blossoms have performed countless concerts now, and seem to be always on tour somewhere in the world, whether it’s at home in the UK, Europe or America – they’ve had plenty of practice and experience now to always deliver polished, professional performances, and vocals and instruments were above par as usual. The guitar and synth work, provided by Josh Dewhurst and Myles Kellock respectively, was strong throughout but shined especially on some of the B Side material the group performed, such as ‘Across the Moor’ and ‘Fourteen’. The synth melody for ‘Across the Moor’ is delightful, and it was great the essence of the grooviness of the melody was reproduced so well live. Charles Salt on bass and Joe Donovan on drums were solid as ever, and of course Tom Ogden aced his vocals. I mentioned this same point in the previous review, but isolated vocals on the stripped back acoustic ‘My Favourite Room’ showcase the strength of Tom’s singing; he sounded phenomenal even without the support of the bass, synth and guitars he has in other Blossoms tracks. You would forgive the band if their performance had carried some ware and tire, due to the insane amount of touring the group partake in each year, but there were no signs of strain nor slowing down.
Energy and Interaction with the Crowd
There was so much dynamic energy in all parts of the performance – beginning the show with ‘At Most A Kiss’ could not have kicked off their set any better. It is arguably their most well-known song alongside ‘Charlemagne’, one which every single member in the crowd knew the words to, and it was utterly electric and spine-tingling hearing the crowd sing the lyrics almost as loud as the band were playing. Blossoms created a visual gem and an exciting atmosphere through using a pallet of bold, colourful strobe lighting, which also made for stunning photographs of the guys mid-action.
As at their Rock City show, there was a lot of interaction with the crowd, and as well as cliché but always competitive ‘which side of the crowd can make the most noise’ moment, they repeated dedicating ‘My Favourite Room’ to a member of the audience who had recently been dumped. Almost half a week after the performance, I am still wondering if Anne-Marie was indeed the real name of the chosen lad’s ex girlfriend! They also dealt calmly and with humour an incident where a bottle was chucked at Tom on the stage – heckles at gigs are never cool, but by this point half the crowd were already very drunk, engaged in a fight consisting of throwing cups at each other.
The Set Itself
In the time which passed between seeing Blossoms at Nottingham and Lincoln, the band released an album compiling their B Sides and unreleased tracks, so it was no surprise a selection of these including ‘Madeline’, ‘Across the Moor’ and ‘Polka Dot Bones’. Never ones to let down long-time fans like myself, all their memorable debut album songs also made the set-list. In a cute spin on ‘My Favourite Room’, Tom performed snippets of class songs including Oasis tune / Royle Family theme ‘Half The World Away’, and ‘Last Christmas’. After all, we’re only nine short months away from the festive season, so when better to play it than then.
At the moment, I love a lot of UK bands and have seen countless acts live, but Slaves and Blossoms stand out to me as the two best live acts I’ve seen in recent years.