Monday night: my flatmate and I skipped across our university campus, not for a late-night study session at the library, but to watch Blossoms play our student union. It was an odd sensation, knowing a band you’ve spent all year listening to were going to perform in the place you know only for Saturday nights of cheesy 2000s music and plastic bottles of orange VK.
Blossoms have had quite the year. Starting out as a promising up-and-coming band from Stockport, they’re finishing 2016 with a debut album that reached number 1 in the UK Album Chart in its first week. Next year, they’ll be headlining the Castlefield Bowl. Their gig at Potterrow, slap-bang in the middle of their UK winter tour, was a far cry from the height of a show like Castlefield but proved that Blossoms can enchant smaller, more intimate crowds just like they can with the huge audiences hailing from the North West of England.
The first support was solo singer Georgie, who, due to the mismanagement of my time, I was only able to catch the last song of. But her voice was magical, at it seems like she’s at the start of a very hopeful music career. The second support was INHEAVEN, who managed to fit the fair majority of their backlog of songs into a relatively short set. ‘Baby’s Alright’ had the crowd jumping, and ‘Regeneration’ had people throwing their arms round their mates’ shoulders. Their set was friendly and, to those who hadn’t listened before, a perfect introduction to their sound. I’d watch out for them next year.
After the best pre-set playlist I have ever heard (everyone needs to hear ‘Don’t You Want Me, Baby’ before a gig), Blossoms began their show. The first few songs were lifted straight off their eponymous debut album, with the likes of ‘At Most a Kiss’, ‘Smashed Pianos’ and ‘Blown Rose’ being played to the crowd of eager students and Scots. In honour of this capital city, the chorus of the latter track was changed to “the stately homes of Scotland”. The band switched through their Gibsons and Rickenbackers aptly, keeping central to their sound the synthpop beats to remind us that, yes, this is a Blossoms gig; and, yes, Blossoms have taken the best of the 80s/90s Madchester scene and transported to the present day in order to fulfil our ever-growing need for more dance-influenced indie rock.
Slowly, the band transitioned into the older songs from their EPs. ‘Wretched Fate’ and ‘Across the Moor’ (or, ‘mooer’, as lead singer Tom put it) acted as nostalgic snippets of a band that has matured significantly over the past year but will always go back to the old crowd favourites. Amidst these were newer fan favourites, most specifically ‘Honey Sweet’, the explosive and heart-warming highlight of their album. The set ended with Tom’s solo rendition of ‘My Favourite Room’, interwoven with snippets of ‘You’re Gorgeous’, ‘Last Christmas’, and ‘Half the World Away’, which we in the audience carried on until the band came back onstage for their encore.
The encore was the highlight of the night; well, ‘Polka Dot Bones’ was. The sultry, drum-led bridges and smooth essence to the track echoed through the student union, transforming it back to its usual dance party feel. This was followed shortly by ‘Charlemagne’, the final song of the set. ‘Charlemagne’ stood as the accumulation of a night of hyped synthpop indie tunes, allowing them to end in an endearing finale. The gig proved that Blossoms truly have mastered their art, on and off the stately stages of the UK.
Words by Caitlin O’Connor