Blossoms

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  • Declan McKenna
  • Rory Wynne
EVOL @ O2 Academy 25/3/16

Upon arrival at BLOSSOMS’ Liverpool gig on their latest tour the first notable observation is that, rather than a traditional gig night, we seem to have been thrust into an episode of Skins, with hordes of teenagers bringing the average age well below expectations. Nobody seems aware of anything specific within Blossoms’ recent history that would encourage large numbers of near-school-age kids to stick on vintage outfits and turn up, but they are here.

The two acts supporting Blossoms are pretty young as well. London’s DECLAN MCKENNA was winner of Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent contest, and he is preceded on stage by Stockport’s own superstar sixteen-year-old RORY WYNNE. With a nasal Northern accent and kitchen-sink tales that are hopefully works of fiction rather than autobiography, Wynne sings with effort, passion and a nice bit of humour which is reminiscent of early Arctic Monkeys. The use of a pair of slower numbers enables Wynne to show off his versatility, but the faster-paced tracks are definitely the high points of the set. Given his age and wit, Rory Wynne has a talent to keep an eye on.

Whereas Wynne is accompanied by two older musicians, McKenna does things on his own. This is not to McKenna’s benefit, however, as his songs are cluttered and notes hit just off the beat as the overall impression is that he is doing too many things at once. He looks and sounds uncomfortable and rushed on stage. The nagging feeling is that even just one other person on stage could ease the pressure on him and produce a better live experience. However, given that his two appearances in Liverpool have been sought-after support slots with Clean Cut Kid and Blossoms, the industry definitely likes him.

It is not just the industry though who likes Virgin EMI signings Blossoms. As they step on stage they are greeted by a football-style chant from their excited audience. Opening up with Cut Me And I Bleed, it is obvious that Blossoms have stepped beyond their career-opening psychedelia and have altered the balance within their sound to create a less niche but more exciting prospect. With only drummer Joe Donovan not stood at the front of the stage, the band exude confidence, led by frontman Tom Ogden, who not only sings and orchestrates attention from the rapt crowd, but makes sure every single member of the gang gets their own mention and cheer.

The whole night drips with self-belief from the band and love from the audience. You Put A Gun On Me and new single Charlemagne invoke singalongs to basslines and drum beats. This level of vocal support usually comes in a field in summer with 40,000 not 400. It is not just a party, though. People have not come along just to jump around, as proven by the tale of heartbreak, My Favourite Room. As the pace slows down, Blossoms show they are more than just a rocking verse-chorus-verse outfit. As they perform the final song of the 40-minute set, Blow, people are climbing on each other’s shoulders to cheer the boys home. That should definitely not happen downstairs in the O2 Academy, but we might as well enjoy it as Blossoms will never play here again. Bigger stages are calling.

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