Review-Blossoms at Sub89, Reading- 10th February 2016

Picture: James Polley
Recent contenders for the BBC’s Sound of 2016, Stockport based shoegaze rock band Blossoms played Sub89 on the 10thof February to a crowd consisting of a mix of 18-21 year olds and 50-60 year olds, with seemingly little in between. Rumour has it that Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq turned up but he could’ve been any one of the grey haired men sipping Guinness in the crowd so who knows how much truth there was in that.
Support was in the form of Viola Beach, described by one of their members as “Candy floss in sonic form” and The Vryll Society, who went with the slightly more cryptic description of “Esoteric expansion”.
Blossoms themselves were on excellent form, with each song being received like a fan favourite and the band not putting a foot wrong throughout their (admittedly quite short) set. Breakout hit ‘Charlemagne’ was the highlight of the night, almost being drowned out by the sound of a room full of drunk fans shouting the words, no mean feat considering the song’s only been out for a few months and with this in mind it’s a shame they didn’t save it for last, with the stellar finisher ‘Blow’ seeming a bit of a letdown after the euphoria that preceded it.
The set list itself was predictable, as the band only just have enough songs to carry off a headline slot, so the only real surprise they could manage was the order they’d be playing them in. This is no bad thing however, with the feeling of seeing a band on the cusp of something big lending their performance even more energy.
It’s also nice to see three bands that are clearly having the time of their lives, with a special mention to Viola Beach trying to sell people t-shirts via hypnosis and an old scouser telling me not to call them shoegaze because “shoegaze used to be an insult, y’know?” Well sorry mate I’ve done it but I mean it as the highest praise, I promise.
Overall it’s clear to see that Manchester’s reputation for generating the next big thing (well alright, they’re from Stockport, but that’s close enough for me) is well deserved, with Blossoms a clear candidate for 2016’s breakout indie band. Expect to see them on the cover of the NME looking nonchalant any day now, as in the words of front man Tom Ogden “We just want to be as big as we can” and if their performance at Sub 89 is anything to go by, that’s going to be pretty damned big.


Since writing this review the members of Viola Beach have tragically passed away in a car accident, along with their manager. My thoughts and condolences go out to all involved and I hope that the outpouring of support that ensued provided some small comfort to those who knew them.

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