The newly-refurbished Band on the Wall is the venue for Blossoms’ intimate fourth album release party. And for a band who have played to 20 times the capacity at the nearby AO Arena, those lucky enough to have secured a ticket for this evening are giddy – anticipation fills the room.
Promo ahead of this week’s album release hints at self reflection, with introspective lyrics centred around a central character called ‘Mr Writer’. So… have Tom and co turned into mid 90’s Radiohead?
All existential dread about the geo-political state of our planet? Of course not. This is Blossoms. The 5 piece bound onstage with all the energy and enthusiasm we’ve come to expect.
Read more : B lossoms’ Tom Ogden on “imposter syndrome” as the band launch fourth album
Without hesitation they launch straight into 3 crowd favourites. At Most A Kiss is a forthright, crunchy start. If You Think This Is Real Life gets the crowd singing as Ogden finds his feet, cavorting around the stage. Cool Like You, from 2018’s number one album of the same name, completes the opening triplet, perhaps knowingly kicking things off with a track from each of their 3 prior albums.
‘Hello, we’re Blossoms and we’re from Stockport’ greets Tom in his traditional manner. Has a band ever worn their hometown so proudly on their sleeve?
Though whilst the land of hats, brick viaducts and glass pyramids is very much home, their new material kicks off with more global themes. Ode to NYC , is what it says on the tin. A skiffly, yellow taxi ride through Manhattan. Sites and sounds name checked at speed.
The album’s title track Ribbon around the Bomb follows. A tight, jaunty track, achieving the sound that Blossoms have perfected. Low slung groovy bass, toes tapping, heads bobbing, post disco, dancefloor friendly. Tom’s dreamy drawl floating effortlessly above it all.
Ogden then takes a seat at the piano, and the band channel their inner Simon and Garfunkel with The Sulking Poet . All hand claps and harmonies.
Bolstered tonight by 3 extra members on guitar and percussion, the band are polished and as tight as ever. Guitarist Josh Dewhurst, at times seemingly in a world of his own, is arguably underrated in the pantheon of talented guitarists who have passed through this city’s streets.
Myles Kellock on keys sprinkling the magic that defines the band’s sound. And a rhythm section of Joe Donovan and Charlie Salt are bold, sharp and effortlessly cool.
There’s no pretence here. The band, and their fans, unashamedly know how to have fun. And so they should, a packed Summer of stadium tours and high profile festival slots deservedly beckons
The second half of the set is perfectly balanced. With the stage bathed in light as pink as Ogden’s bold silk shirt there’s, at times, a cherubic innocence to his delivery. Slower numbers Smashed Pianos , Cinerama Holy Days and Honey Sweet are sultry, channelling that very Mancunian trick of sounding at once wistful, yet hopeful.
In comparison, The Keeper and 2021 single Care For are upbeat, gospel crowd pleasers.
This is a band very much in charge of their craft and notably the new tracks fit seamlessly into the set.
As the night draws to close, There’s a Reason Why becomes more of an anthem with every passing listen. Whilst the call and response of synth heavy Charlemagne is clearly a real fan favourite.
In an age of fast consumerism, where bands come and go as quickly as Spotify’s royalty payments, Blossoms can proudly point to a body of work which stands up very much in its own right. Four successful albums alone is impressive work.
Never mind just Stockport, Greater Manchester should be very proud indeed.
Setlist – Blossoms at Band on the Wall April 30, 2022
At Most A Kiss
If You Think This Is Real Life
I Can’t Stand It
Ode To NYC
Ribbon Around the Bomb
The Sulking Poet
Oh No (I Think I’m In Love)
My Swimming Brain
Cinerama Holy Days
Everything About You
There’s a Reason Why
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