Review: Blossoms at O2 Newcastle City Hall
Blossoms at O2 Newcastle City Hall – 20th December 2022
Blossoms are yet another of Manchester’s finest exports and a band I’ve been dying to see for years. Well last night was the night and I was beyond excited!
The band were formed all the way back in 2013 and have been a firm indie- rock sensation ever since. They have released four albums to date – each one being an absolute BANGER! Their newest drop ‘Ribbon Around the Bomb’ was released back in April this year. I have been obsessed with Tom Ogden’s commentary of their new releases and thought processes on Tik Tok this year. Definitely worth a watch. He described The Sulking Poet as a mix between The Dire Straits, George Michael and Simon and Garfunkel. You can’t resist a tune which lends itself to these three massive names can you?!
A lot of craft and careful consideration goes into their live shows and Tom has already divulged that they make segues into their next songs within their set to allow for a more seamless transition. They listen to the end chords of one song and pair this with another in a similar vein. This was very apparent last night – not a single awkward pause. Back to back music alongside Tom’s audience interaction. Just simply pure class in terms of their set up from the first song.
My favourite Tik Tok is Tom discussing how they made the artwork for the new album – classic but visually striking was the concept. They used UK based artists to create it. Each tile links to a song on the album and this was crafted by a renowned wood engraver called Hilary Paynter who listened to each song and used the lyrics to create the tiles.
So last night was a freezing cold Sunday and we decided to check out Lauren Child’s wonderful artwork in Fenwicks window and headed over to Moosenwirt for a cheeky hot chocolate before the gig. What a gloriously Christmassy feeling we got too! Definitely worth checking out if you’re out and about around Newcastle.
Next, we headed over to O2 City Hall Newcastle for the gig. A venue I have frequented many times back in the day but mainly in a seated capacity. I did see The Courteeners standing earlier this year but sadly didn’t enjoy the gig at all. I have my reservations that it was the venue that ruined the gig for me but how wrong was I? The atmosphere was undeniable last night. The crowd were not there to start any trouble – just there for a night of feel good tunes.
Brooke Combe was the only support act of the evening giving us a taste of her sound with seven awesome songs. Let’s be honest, this girl has got style and the effortlessly cool factor nailed down to a T. Her voice is very different from anything I have heard in a very long time. I enjoyed her set list and particularly loved her last song ‘Are You With Me?’ where she sampled Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home.’ A star for the future? I definitely think we will be seeing this girl on some festival line ups next year.
During the waiting time for Blossoms, City Hall knew what they were doing with the tunes they were blasting out. Not Nineteen Forever followed by my all time favourite and number one karaoke song, Bohemian Rhapsody finishing with Sweet Caroline – the crowd were having the best time ever singing along (yes, including me) and making friends. This is what going to see gigs should be about.
The crowd went wild as Tom Ogden and his band of 8 members graced the stage of O2 City Hall Newcastle. They were full of energy and joy from the moment they started their set with ‘At Most a Kiss’. I loved the lighting – very effective but simple. They didn’t need a load of distraction on stage because their performance was eccentric and impactful enough.
I adored their instant interaction with the audience before heading into the second song. This is something, if you have read my reviews before, I regard it very highly. Performers should be making audiences feel special and like they are connected with the band. Disconnected gigs lead to very poor performances in my experience. From the second song, Tom was constantly interacting with his audience both during songs and throughout. So you can only imagine my opinion on last night’s offering. Honey Sweet was the next song and even had all of the oldies at the back moving and grooving – me being one of them!
I adored the craft on stage during the third song – ‘Oh No (I Think I’m in Love)’ – Tom shouted ‘STOP!’ and the whole band froze on stage whilst he had another audience interaction. Very clever and very funny. I was impressed with how long Joe Donovan held that drumstick in the air for – it can’t have been comfortable.
Honestly, I will say this now – Tom Ogden may be the greatest front man/ woman I have ever seen. He had it all really. An incredible voice which felt like I was just at home listening to their vinyl, effortless movement around the stage which at times gave a very ethereal feel and interesting and engaging banter and stories with the audience. I enjoyed the set so much.
Half way through the set they played my favourite song from the new album – ‘Ode to NYC’. I loved the story time before this song about Netflix contacting them to write a song for a new movie they were releasing. Tom wrote this song and they never used it! Their loss as this honestly has the most beautiful melody and lyrics.
An amazing mixture of songs from all four albums followed this and they really had the crowd in the palm of their hands. It truly was seamless so their mission had been successful. The atmosphere was electric and almost everyone around the venue was singing their hearts out. The set ended with a stunning acoustic version of My Favourite Room which Tom ended with You’re Gorgeous by Babybird, Half the World Away by Oasis and left us singing Last Christmas- it is November after all. A great understanding of their fans and the music they would clearly love and sing along to.
They came on stage for their encore with their two biggest hits to date – There’s a Reason Why and Charlemagne. This left the crowd truly buzzing. Before leaving the stage Tom gave attention to his wonderful band and the crowd showed their appreciation.
Venue – 4/5 – I loved the sloped standing at the back as this allows you to see no matter how tall you are and the venue felt really special last night.
Gig – 5/5 – An electric atmosphere, excellent set list and truly stunning vocals. One of the best gigs in a very long time and I only wish I hadn’t left it so long to see them! Bravo Blossoms, Bravo!