LONDON – Blossoms’ show at The O2 Academy on Thursday was a far cry from their live gigs at the same venue just two years prior, which thrived on the blood, sweat and tears exchanged between the band and the crowd. Alas, such tradeoffs are not coronavirus-friendly, and so fans settled with a livestream.
Tom Ogden, Blossoms’ lead singer, emerged independently on a dimly lit circular stage like a lone wolf, serenading his guitar like a long-lost lover through the MelodyVR production’s first track, “Blown Rose.” His voice alone was enough to fill the entire O2 Academy; you never would have guessed that it was his first time performing in nine months.
The lights went up suddenly, revealing Blossoms’ four other band members, ready to burst into their sturdy, piano-heavy song “The Keeper.” Despite the warm, uplifting chords resonating through screens worldwide, somehow the members seemed disconnected from each other. Still, it was a promising start for the indie rock heroes.
Ogden then locked eyes with the camera, declaring “Good evening you beautiful people, we are a band called Blossoms from sunny Stockport” in his charming Manchester accent that’s as quintessentially British as The Beatles and Lancashire Hotpot.
The charm continued as Blossoms performed cheeky synth-driven single “Your Girlfriend” and followed it up with “There’s A Reason Why.” In between belting some killer vocals, Ogden showed off his amazing corduroy flares by endearingly throwing some moves on stage in ways only matched by the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and maybe your aunt after a couple glasses of wine.
Blossoms’ hour-long set consisted of fan favorites like “Getaway,” “If You Think This Is Real Life” and Honey Sweet,” as well as debuts of their reflective and holiday singles “Christmas Eve” and “It’s Going To Be A Cold Winter,” which would have been stellar if it wasn’t for the undeniable spark that was missing, and the fact that the band members appeared to play separately from each other in their own little bubble. Through the distance of the internet, the performance at times felt lackluster. It’s a hard thing to gauge when you’re not in the room.
Still, Ogden’s syrupy vocals on the catchy chorus of “I Can’t Stand It” was a particular highlight. Ogden and drummer Joe Donovan tried hard to bring some energy to the table, but the fourth wall was broken when someone else started drinking a cup of tea.
By the time Blossoms found their footing, they were now all barefoot on stage and had neared the end of their performance. Guitarist Josh Dewhurst perked up for “Blow,” the band’s first single that hurtled it back to 2014. The dark, mysterious song sounded just as good, if not better, than when it was first released. It was alt-rock at its finest.
But the leading light of the performance was “Like Gravity,” which positively echoed with coastal-rock deliciousness. The conga percussion finally got the band’s blood pumping and navigated the song into a screaming climax. Their newfound passion carried Blossoms through to their upbeat, bass-loaded track “At Most A Kiss,” which spun into a psychedelic fury of an outro and transformed into their signature single “Charlamagne.”
It was no match for a Blossoms show in the flesh. Still, it fit pretty well.
“I enjoyed that more than I thought I would,” Ogden said at the end.
Follow writer Gabriella Ferlita at Twitter.com/Gabriellaf_17.