On Saturday July 9 Manchester’s Blossoms, caught mid-rocket to the stars, headlined an intimate Sounds Of Summer show for NME, TOPMAN and Austin, Texas at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen for a crowd of just 350 competition winners. Here’s how the hottest gig of the season played out…
Anticipation high, the crowds gathered early doors for the opening solo set from Austin’s acclaimed singer-songwriter Carson McHone.
Finely wrought acoustic country laments abounded, with the odd surprise thrown in – “I need your drugs!” she cried at one point, like a C&W Pete Doherty.
Glasgow’s The Lapelles played their debut London show, wowing the crowd with their intense, catchy and overwhelming amalgam of The Strokes, Blur and Eagulls.
From poppy roots, their songs built into tornados of post-rock noise redolent of Palace, Foals and The Maccabbees. Their star looks certain to go supernova.
Blossoms’ set previewed their hotly anticipated debut album, mingling radio favourites such as ‘Charlemagne’ and ‘Getaway’ with chunkier album tracks such as ‘Deep Grass’. Good to know they don’t put jam on their ‘Blow’, mind.
To a hip-hop intro tape, Blossoms hit the stage with the dank electro-glam of ‘At Most A Kiss’, singer Tom Ogden oozing a coy confidence.
‘Across The Moor’ was slick and soulful, while the doom drums and portentous synth atmospherics of ‘Smoke’ suggested Kasabian with their serious funk on.
As the set progressed, their influences – well – blossomed. A Door-like psych out preluded the smart chart pop of ‘Getaway’ and ‘Blown Rose’, with its lilting chorus about “the stately homes of England, how beautiful they stand”, rang with Smithsian charm and delicacy.
The 350 lucky competition winners who’d gained entrance to this special one-off show responded firmly in the positive when Ogden asked “London, are you ready to dance?” ahead of a barnstorming ‘Charlemagne’.
“This is ‘My Favourite Room’, it’s a sad one,” Ogden declared before launching into the album’s acoustic centre-piece, a tune that wends its way from Oasis’ ‘Half A World Away’ to Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ in three sublime minutes.
The band closed with a (thankfully jam-free) ‘Blow’, all psych rock squalls and Noel G choruses, and the elephantine ‘Deep Grass’, Ogden telling the crowd “it’s been a lovely Saturday evening”. And it had.
The ecstatic crowd hadn’t just won at life, they were also handed free goodie tote bags and photographed on their way in to appear on their own individual NME cover. Lifelong dedication blossoms…