Live review: Blossoms @ O2 Academy Sheffield
It’s a peculiar crowd queuing up to see Stockport’s Blossoms at the O2 Academy tonight. Despite the band’s natural influences of Oasis and the Stone Roses, their music is mostly 80s inspired pop. There’s more ‘Time After Time’ and ‘Material Girl’ than ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’. But this evening it’s the same kids who let off flares for Noel Gallagher in the summer at Tramlines, the same kids who were born after Don’t Look Back In Anger was released and the same kids who exclusively wear Adidas trainers and Harrington jackets to gigs.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Walking into the venue, there’s an atmosphere about the place. The lights are dimmed and Supersonic by Oasis and the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me is belted out by the sold out crowd. The riff played by keyboard player Myles Kellock for the opener ‘I Can’t Stand It’ sounds more at home as part of a Miami Vice soundtrack, particularly with Charlie Salt’s bubbling basslines.
Blossoms dip in and out of their first two albums track by track before singer Tom Ogden addresses the crowd. Instant classics from 2016’s self-titled debut album ‘Honey Sweet’ and ‘Getaway’ go down as well as they did at the band’s smaller show at the Leadmill in 2016, but it’s noticeable how the newer tracks from Cool Like You ignite the audience and produce a bigger reaction from the crowd. ‘Cool Like You’ and ‘Unfaithful’ set the venue alight, and various mosh pits break out for ‘How Long Will This Last’.
Tom Ogden has the audience in the palm of his hands throughout, switching from guitar-holding crooner to a marauding Jarvis Cocker-like front man stalking the edge of the stage. At the end of ‘Blow’, just as they did in Leadmill 2015, the band stop playing the song and allow the crowd to finish it off. “Let’s see how far you can go with it.” We’ll be here all night, Tom…
Perhaps the crowd’s connection to the band stems from those early shows, and their honesty about what kind of music they wanted to release. The band have always said they wanted to release an album of singles, and speaking to Exposed in 2016 Tom explained why he won’t be missing those intimate gigs if they were to reach the big time. “There’s nothing sad about it. It’s good to go back to those smaller venues for one-offs and special shows, like we recently did one at Gorilla in Manchester which is only like 500 people, and it was nice. But when there are loads of people singing back at ya…It’s just mint.”
Fast forward to December 2018 and he’s fronting a band that is full of confidence, without an inch of arrogance about them. A highlight of the set is the ever-present acoustic interlude where Tom stands alone on stage and performs fan favourite ‘My Favourite Room’, allowing the crowd to out-sing him the whole way through. Such is the vociferousness of the crowd and the likelihood of having seen Blossoms live, they know what’s coming next. They help themselves into the chorus of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ before a festive rendition of ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham, followed by the first verse of Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’.
An encore of the band’s biggest songs, ‘At Most A Kiss, ‘There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ and ‘Charlemagne’ are played to a rapturous reception, along with a surprise cover of the Smiths’ ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’.
In 2015, the band invited everyone to the Gatsby for a drink afterwards. This time, with 3,000 fans in the house, that invitation wasn’t quite extended to the masses. There was a suggestive “we’ll see you very, very soon” though. Could they be a shout for Tramlines headliner 2019? Blossoms’ sold out summer gig at Stockport County’s Edgeley Park signifies their graduation to the big leagues and if tonight was anything to go by, they are more than ready for the step up.
Images: Kevin Wells
In association with www.sivtickets.com, the local box office.