VO5 NME Awards Tour: O2 Academy, Leeds

Stockport quintet, Blossoms made their 11th pitstop of the 13 date NME tour at O2 Academy Leeds last week, dazzling the city centre venue with lights and strobes a-plenty. The band – consisting of Tom Ogden (vocals), Charlie Salt (bass), Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar), Joe Donovan (drums) and Myles Kellock (keys) – have made a substantial mark on the British Indie Pop scene since first forming in 2013. Though this floral five may still be regarded as the ‘new kids on the block’ they are definitely not to be mistaken for amateurs, after claiming a number 1 spot in the UK charts in August 2016 with self-titled album ‘Blossoms’ released on Virgin EMI Records.

A sold out evening saw in crowds of all ages and had many die-hard fans queueing from early hours of the afternoon in order to get the best view in the house. Opening the night came fiery teen Rory Wynne – another Stockport native that’s packing a punch. Despite being young, Wynne confidently claimed the stage during his set of 60’s Rock & Roll and Brit Pop reminiscent original tracks, including recent releases from new EP ‘What Would Rory Wynne Do?’. With vocals akin to those of Oasis frontman, Liam Gallagher, Wynne received full engagement from the already buzzing audience and left with a wealthy applause.

Next came Cabbage, an eclectic (to say the least) five-piece from Mossley, Greater Manchester. Describing their sound as Apocalyptic Sprautrock -a genre which you can only decipher for yourself, trust me – it was hard to gage what this set would entail. Donning the rather miscellaneous look of jogging bottoms, Adidas T shirts, baggy jeans and jazzy shirts it was hard to tell whether the band were running out of clean clothes towards the end of the UK tour, or had just simply delved into the lost property cupboard for a laugh. Taking turns on vocals throughout the sporadically flamboyant
set, the band’s Lee Broadbent & Joe Martin screamed, yelled and groaned their way through a plethora of gnarly tracks including ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’, ‘Dinner Lady’ and brand new, surfy single ‘Gibraltar Ape’, occasionally whipping the boisterous crowd into a frenzy with calls of “We’re all Leeds aren’t we?”.

As Cabbage exited the stage the smoke and red flashing lights came to a halt. The turnout was riled up and eagerly anticipating the main reason why they had packed out the 2,300 capacity venue on a sweaty Thursday night. The venue’s sound and lighting engineers kept the night in full swing by encouraging the punters to sing along to 80’s hit – ‘Don’t You Want Me’ by The Human League whilst they waited for Blossoms to grace the stage. Right on cue the room darkened, followed by smoke, purple beams and the inevitable screaming of the band’s fans.

The loveable lads took to the stage and dived straight into hit track ‘At Most A Kiss’ followed by ‘Texia’, the 6th track on their debut album, before Ogden greeted their Leeds followers and asked them to ‘give it up’ for drummer, Donovan. After a brief introduction, the band continued with crowd favourites ‘Blow’ and ‘Getaway’ before moving onto their slower, more ethereal tracks ‘Smoke’ and B-side ‘Across the Moor’. A combination of dazzling coloured smoke and lights, Dewhurst’s guitar, Kellock’s keyboard and Salt’s beefy bass riffs along with Ogden’s distinctive voice provided ecstasy for both the eyes and ears.

After spurring on with ‘Honey Sweet’ and ‘Blown Rose’, Ogden brought the pace back down again with acoustic track ‘Stormy’ before asking if anyone in the audience had recently had a break-up, dedicating one of the band’s many love songs, ‘My Favourite Room’ to a fan in the crowd named Ellie after she raised her hand. Ogden then encouraged us to join him on a weird and wonderful medley including Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ and the unusual choice of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’. With both the band and audience in high spirits (and probably feeling a little bit festive by now), Blossoms closed their set as rowdy as it began with the unmistakeable ‘Charlemagne’ – a track that has reigned champion since it’s release in 2015.”