Review: Blossoms at The Lemon Grove 21/03/17

I’ll admit I was surprised to hear that Blossoms, a band I (among many others, critics and fans alike) consider be one of the most talented upcoming bands of the moment, were set to play at the Lemon Grove. A band for whom I had travelled to see multiple times before was playing right on my doorstep!

After arriving slightly late, the room was packed, but luckily there was space to squeeze forward and get a good vantage point when the crowd migrated towards the bar in the break after support band Cabbage’s set. It’s clear that Blossoms have a broad appeal spanning across age ranges, as although the classic teen indie crowd were present, there were people of all ages dotted around the room.

The lights went down, and the intro of Kanye’s ‘Black Skinhead’ started blaring (their entrance music of choice): it was time, and cheers erupted as the band made their way onstage. Playing the longest setlist I’ve ever seen them play, the crowd were captivated from the first beats of energetic opener ‘At Most a Kiss’ to the very end of the band’s biggest hit, ‘Charlemagne,’ which brought with it an enthusiastic sing-a-long from the entire audience.

Proudly announcing “We are Blossoms from Stockport!” after the first couple of tracks, the band kept crowd interaction to a perfect level, with each band member receiving a shoutout from frontman Tom Ogden in turn, and the crowd cheering uproariously each time. A few comments about Exeter, a “how’s everyone doing” here and there, and a moment where Ogden integrated an audience member’s breakup into a song (a well-appreciated moment in the set), and that was it. Not too much to detract from the reason everyone was there: the music, but just enough to create the perfect connection between the band and fans.

In total, eleven of the twelve tracks from their eponymous debut were played, with acoustic track ‘My Favourite Room’ being followed by a rendition of Babybird’s ‘You’re Gorgeous’ combined with Oasis’ classic ‘Half the World Away,’ and interestingly, Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas.’ The latter because even though Christmas is a long way off, it’s “still a tune,” according to Ogden (and I mean, he’s not wrong).

After having released an Extended Tracks version of their debut album late last year including many of their B-sides, last Tuesday saw the band play a good number of them, rather than the one or two they usually play. Instead, this time the crowd were treated to ‘Smoke,’ ‘Madeleine,’ and my personal favourite, ‘Polka Dot Bones,’ alongside more common setlist additions ‘Across the Moor’ and ‘Fourteen.’

Other than playing at Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Powderham Castle last summer, this was Blossoms’ first time playing in Exeter, but from the crowd’s delighted reaction and the sold-out status of the gig, I’m betting it won’t be the last.

– Kathi Bundy 

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