December 17, 2018

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Live Review: ‘How far they’ve come’ – Blossoms at Brixton O2 Academy, London

By Live4ever - Posted on 14 Dec 2018 at 10:00am 

Blossoms @ Bristol O2 Academy, December 13th 2018 (Jessica Bartolini / Live4ever)

The ability to maintain an independent identity as a band whilst upgrading live sets to O2-size venues and stadiums, playing with the Stone Roses at Wembley and being signed to a major label can’t be straightforward, but Blossoms continue to manage the conflict with ease.

A large part of their success is driven by the fact that they were authentic to begin with; derived from a scene and environment that people love with a continued demand attached. Whilst the duration of Blossoms’ live sets has close to doubled, and performance and production values are now slick and polished, it is still the same band. With every music fan in Japan knowing who they are, even just compared with last year they have transformed at a rate few can match.

What’s evident tonight (13th Dec) – when Liam Gallagher is playing not far away in Islington – is the increase in confidence and intensity of expression and projection, of a more character-led and dramatic sort. The set is well compiled and focuses on hits from their debut album coupled with tracks from this year’s follow-up Cool Like You.

 

Frontman Tom Ogden previously spoke about watching Amy, the tragic documentary about Amy Winehouse, and how it led towards a more intimate songwriting approach, and the last gig of their current tour documents this – it’s a supreme show compared with some previous highly credible ones. A spirited crowd is on alert following a blasting out of the speakers of I Am The Resurrection, This Charming Man, Mardy Bum and Supersonic, and Blossoms do not disappoint.

Kicking off with the energetic I Can’t Stand It, followed by Unfaithful, both nicely complemented by Honey Sweet, leads to a vivid response. The idea of moshing at a Blossoms gig is not what springs to mind, but it’s actually happening. Cool Like You and Blow follow, as do How Long Will It Last and Getaway. ‘Do we have anyone in love in the room?’, asks Tom before launching into the upbeat, synth-ridden Love Talk and the disco-synth anthem I Just Imagined You. ‘We have wanted to headline this venue for a long time’, he reveals, just before the indie blues feel of Smashed Pianos, which mercurially leads onto Blown Rose.

The band’s versatility is obvious, stretching from the Twin Peaks/Stranger Things’ vibe of Stranger Still to the pop values of Between The Eyes. ‘This is for anyone who’s ever been heartbroken’, declares Tom before an acoustic version of My Favourite Room.

The set is finalised over a concoction of You’re Gorgeous, Last Christmas, Half The World Away and Don’t Look Back in Anger, while the decision to lend a tribute The Smiths with Bigmouth Strikes Again in the encore, of which At Most A Kiss and Charlemagne are also a part, works and shows how far they have come.

Blossoms are only going to get bigger; the thought that they could be headlining Wembley in a year or two is by no means ridiculous.

(Susan Hansen)


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