It’s been a busy few years for Stockport’s darlings, Blossoms. Since 2016 they’ve released two top ten albums, sold out countless shows all over the world, including a landmark date at Castlefield Bowl, and been a regular on most festival bills, playing the likes of the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
The five-piece brought their 80s style indie anthems to the O2 Academy as part of their most recent sold out UK tour, which concludes with sell-out homecoming gigs, two nights at Manchester’s 5,000 capacity Victoria Warehouse.
The band certainly know how to announce their presence, walking on stage to Kanye West’s ‘Black Skinhead’, they had the Academy bouncing front to back before they had even played a note. The five-piece had become a six-piece for this tour, with French musician Charles de Cabarrus of Keep Dancing Inc. fame coming in to play extra guitars and keys. His presence freed frontman Tom Ogden of most of his guitar duties to become a Morrissey-esque frontman, floating round the stage in an oversized check suit for the duration of the evening.
The band opened with two tunes from their follow up album ‘Cool Like You’, ‘I Can’t Stand It’ quickly into ‘Unfaithful’ got the crowd even more geed up than they were, a full two-pinter flying across the room during the first chorus of ‘I Can’t Stand It’.
From there they played a mix of old and new, including ‘Honey Sweet’, ‘Blow’, ‘How Long Will This Last’, ‘Getaway’ and second album title track ‘Cool Like You’ in a very well-rehearsed set, each transition seeming to get slicker than the last.
Halfway through the set, Ogden finally broke his silence: “Is anyone here tonight in love?” he asked, to a sedated reaction from the crowd. “If you are, this one’s for you”, he quipped before launching into ‘Love Talk’, the emotional closer on their second album. More slick transitions followed as they played personal favourite ‘I Just Imagined You’, followed by ‘Blown Rose’, ‘Cut Me and I’ll Bleed’, ‘Stranger Still’ and ‘Between The Eyes’ without pause. Their guitar technicians have certainly earned their money on this run of dates.
“Is it alright with you Sheffield if we take it down for a few minutes?” Ogden enquired as five of the six exited the stage, leaving the frontman on his own to play acoustic crowd favourite ‘My Favourite Room’. As tradition dictates, the tune was followed by an Ogden-led crowd singalong of ‘You’re Gorgeous’, ‘Half the World Away’ and an extended rendition of ‘Last Christmas’ – it is December after all.
The rest of the band returned to the stage to play ‘At Most a Kiss’ and a cover of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, Ogden is clearly taking his new Morrissey-esque frontmanship seriously. They closed with summer festival anthem ‘There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ and their eponymous album opener ‘Charlemagne’.
Sheffield was show #73 of the year for Blossoms and it showed, effortlessly gliding between songs new and old making for an incredibly slick set. Ogden’s new role seems to have given the front man a new lease of life as he had the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the set. The new tunes were as well received as the old ones and you can only see Blossoms getting bigger and even better from here.