Live Review: Blossoms @ O2 Academy Brixton

After the pandemic cut the beloved indie mobs tour bitterly short, Blossoms grasped technology with both hands in order to provide fans with an interactive gigging experience fit for an unconventional holiday season. Amrit Virdi was in simulated attendance at a show teeming with the bands signature rosy tenor, and asks whether live-streamed gigs are here to stay?

After being lucky enough to catch an exceptional gig from the band at Rock City in March before lockdown struck, Blossoms once again refused to disappoint with a jam-packed VR show live. A crooning solo from frontman Tom Ogden performing Blown Rose opened the show in fine, fun style (albeit a bit of a late start), as the iconic O2 Academy Brixton was transformed into a cosy festive retreat, adorned with fairy lights, rugs, lamps and Christmas trees.

In terms of the virtual reality, the MelodyVR app allowed for the audience to view the show from different perspectives, including stage centre, left or right, and front of house, via the track cam or director’s cut. Opting to view the show via the ‘front of house’ option allowed for a scopic view of all five band members and their web of supporting musicians, and felt the closest to a real-life set that a livestream could offer. Stood in a circle, the setup made for a playful and relaxed performance, with the bands trademark intermittent chatter and friendly joshing breaking only adding to the merry ambience. It’s safe to say that watching a gig with a cup of tea from the comfort of your own bedroom is a different experience, but one which Blossoms made highly enjoyable.

Glittering animations and light displays akin to those from their spring tour supported Blossoms as they navigated a stellar setlist.

The band were accompanied by percussion from John Simm and Colette Williams as well as the masterful Ryan Ellis on guitar, who worked with the band on shimmery summertime bangers Charlemagne and There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls), as well as on the rockier, guitar-dense Blow. Despite an amusing lyric slip from Ogden in Falling for Someone, which was soon laughed off, the frontman never lacked energy as he bounced effortlessly around the O2s vast stage, sauntering to the piano on occasion to showcase his seemingly ceaseless skills.

Glittering animations and light displays akin to those used on their spring tour supported Blossoms as they navigated through a stellar setlist, including all the magnetic smash hits from their first three records. These were fused seamlessly however with newest Christmas releases, It’s Going to be a Cold Winter and Christmas Eve (Soul Purpose) which gave the show a timely festive twist, and even saw good-spirited crew members join the band on stage dressed as Santa Claus.

Before closing the show with the colossal single Charlemagne, which has now amassed over fifty million streams on Spotify and cemented itself firmly in the indie hall-of-fame, a final emphatic instrumental interlude encapsulated the spirit and passion which the band had clearly put into the show. Despite their tremendous success, the band clearly haven’t forgotten their humble roots, referring fondly to their home in sunny Stockport and taking the time to joke and interact with each other and fans at home – lead guitarist Dewhurst even enjoyed his own cup of herbal tea on stage.

Whilst virtual gigging may have its limits in the inevitable buffering and disappearance of mosh-pits, Blossoms delivered a fun and festive show; another clear demonstration that there is still much more to come from the enigmatic Northern rabble in the future.

Written by: Amrit Virdi

Edited by: Dominic Allum

Featured and article images courtesy of MelodyVR via Facebook.