Live Review: Blossoms – Liverpool

Blossoms

O2 Academy Liverpool, 15th February 2020

Words: Elena Katrina
Photos: Brian Sayle

Happy Valentines indeed – anyone looking to impress their Blossoms loving other half this weekend just gone, would have been an absolute hero had they been able to secure them some tickets to this tiny show. I wouldn’t normally consider the o2 Academy a tiny gig but when it comes to Blossoms – who are used to playing to the thousands, not the hundreds, anymore this is comparably tiny. It’s also the smallest venue I’ve seen them play for at least two years.

Brian Sayle PhotographyThe job of warming up the crowd could only really have gone to one band right now and that band was Red Rum Club! Of course, we made sure to be there on time to catch them. It was the same venue we last saw them headline, in fact. It was interesting to see them playing to their home crowd as support for someone else. There was a little less strut in front of an unfamiliar crowd but I actually loved seeing them play when they’re trying to get new fans rather than just to the same ol faithful faces. That being said there were a few of us in the crowd – proudly bouncing around singing every word while others around us looked on bemused as to how we knew all the words and they didn’t. I admit it was hard to pay attention to the crowd’s reaction when I was just on my own little high of my first RRC gig of the year (fear not I already have the next 2 booked in) but I felt sure the cheers were getting louder as the set went on and how could you not when Red Rum Club are a party in a track – track after track. Ending, of course, on Would You Rather Be Lonely  – the chorus got sing-alongs from those who weren’t so sure at the start. New fans made. I’m certain of it.

Blossoms plaid a fairly short set for what I had anticipated being an epic all-nighter. Just shy of an hour and a quarter the band managed to blast through select tracks from their most recent number one album, Foolish Loving Spaces – it wasn’t just the singles, but album tracks such as My Swimming Brain (one of my favourites) that got their stage time. A friend of mine had commented that she wasn’t sure she wasn’t going to enjoy shooting this gig because Tom doesn’t move around much on stage – oh how I laughed when he barely stood still. It had been a while since she had seen them  – the moves the man pulls now – those hips! Also – I wore that outfit the night before – black and gold, a classic combo  – good to know I have good taste!

Blossoms Brian Sayle Photography 3I’m rubbish for holding back and I won’t here – I have never liked Your Girlfriend  – lyrically it makes me cringe  (very unpopular opinion!) so when they opened up with that I was in part relieved to get it done and out the way. Past that I loved every single second to the extended endings of songs that really show how seriously this band take their music. If you’ve ever seen them at someone else’s gig you’ll know  – they’re forever studious. Anyone watching these on Saturday night would do well to do the same when watching Blossoms. They know how to keep the crowd where they want them – they make it seem effortless (it’s not – their stage style has changed considerably since the early days). Oh No (I think I’m In Love) reminds me of something The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess would pen/has penned and I love it a little bit more just for that vibe.

There were smatterings of “classic” Blossoms dotted throughout the set including my personal favourites At Most, A Kiss which has just the best bass line and drum beats to drive and the song that captured me from the start Cut Me and I’ll Bleed  – a song that’s best served cold. I was thrilled to see the crowd singing every song, not just the bigger hits – which of course still had an airing. This felt like a truly fan-led setlist  – something so many bands don’t do when they want a focus on the new album. This was a clever and thoughtful set, aimed to please as much as promote the recent release.

Blossoms Brian Sayle Photography 6A nice touch too was the acoustic covers medley performed just before the encore – a band not afraid to nor take themselves so seriously to exclude a bit of additional crowd pleasure with a sing-along of other people’s songs. A great moment in the set. My Favourite Room was another highlight of the evening – really stripping back and I could hear the passion in the voices of the crowd as they sang along.

The set just flew by and I could have easily have watched another hour – but then I’m gig greedy. For me this gig was an absolute treat from the moment Red Rum Club set foot on stage to when Blossoms left it, leaving me feeling somewhat bereft. It was also great to see Blossoms bring a fuller sound to the stage by having a musical supporting cast – which featured none other than one of our old faces Ryan Ellis from (ex) The Vryll Society – a fuller live sound using musicians rather than additional electronic layering  – thank you Blossoms – this was a thrilling gig – one to be remembered.

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