Albert Hall, Manchester, 27/2/2016
published: 10 /
Billy Seagrave watches Blossoms play an euphoric yet poignant gig at the Albert Halls in their home city of Manchester, which includes a heartfelt tribute to Viola Beach who were to be tonight's support act
In many ways tonight’s gig was a poignant one, and has become more than a homecoming for Blossoms, a chance to touch base with the family and friends who have so clearly supported and taken to heart a band that defiantly stands on the verge of great things.
Blossoms are selling out venues all around the country and have numerous festival line-ups already in the bag for the summer, all this from a band yet to release an album. The expectations were high.
The doors to the venue opened at 6.00 p.m. slightly earlier than usual for a gig at the Albert Halls, a venue that has presence and character in its own right and is becoming a favourite place to play for many bands.
The evening started with a heartfelt tribute to Viola Beach, so tragically killed along with their manager in a car accident in Sweden and who were to be the support act tonight. This was not a sombre or hastily put together offering. This was an offering befitting a band who had the potential to maybe equal and match the strides and accomplishments made by tonight’s headliner. The room was already two thirds full for the commencement of what would have been Viola Beach's set. We were then then played a thirty minute live set recorded at a recent Viola Beach gig in Leamington Spa. The set was received as it was intended, and was uplifting and reflective. Each song was sung with real pride and passion by the ever increasing crowd, with mosh pits and dancing breaking out all over the hall. If the guys were looking down, a massive thumbs up and a great big thank you would have surely been echoing back from the stage.
The new support act Vryll Society more than admirably took to the stage to fill the void left by Viola Beach. Clearly the intention was to take an opportunity and lay down a marker for things to come, I feel we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from these guys in the future.
Tonight, however, was all about Blossoms, the roots firmly embedded in the suburbs of Stockport, once the home of 10cc. The atmosphere was almost euphoric as the band took to the stage. It was very much like a football team winning the FA cup and bringing the trophy home for the fans to see and celebrate. The beer and the fans were arriving in the pit in a constant wave, as Blossoms launched into 'Cut Me and I Will Bleed', closely followed by 'At Most a Kiss' and 'Smoke'.
The band were tight, highly polished and totally at ease with the chaos before them. The only one other band I know that have had this effect on their fans is the Courteeners, of whom Mr Liam Fray was seen behind stage to show his support for Blossoms.
What a difference twelve months has made! Blossoms have moved from playing in their home town to around a hundred people, to selling out a venue that tonight was hitting the 2,500 mark.
Nothing complex, nothing drawn out has been the simple formula to the band's success, acoustic undertones, layered keyboards, simple driven rhythms, all held together perfectly by Tom Ogden's vocal prowess and equally supported by the backing vocals of a band on the march.
'You Pulled a Gun on Me', 'Polka Dot Bones' and 'Across the Moor' kept things flowing perfectly. 'Getaway' was a teaser from the up and coming debut album. The song is so fresh the band had not performed it live before, yet the crowd seemed to know and hang on every word.
'My Favourite Room' and 'Blown Rose' brought the band back to the backbone of how they have won over so many fans, 'Misery' along with the excellent 'In 2' kept the crowd in full voice. Tom then dedicated the next song to Viola Beach which brought the venue to a frenzy, cue the red flare brigade and a mass scramble from security. 'Charlemagne' had to be the anthem of the night, before 'Blow' brought to an end what had been a memorable evenin.
Blossoms were in full bloom. Manchester has a new champion. Is this the band to start another era in Manchester music?
Photos by Billy Seagrave