This year’s V05 sponsored NME Tour features three bands from the North, Rory Wynne, Cabbage and headliners Blossoms, and tonight they call into Birmingham. It’s odd given Blossoms could sell-out this venue on their own that tonight is about half-full, and also odd when almost every other date on this tour has been sold out for some time.
Rory Wynne opens, and it’s a thirty minute set which doesn’t leave much impression if I’m totally honest, but he has very much a look and sound of a young Mark E. Smith, and certainly has a swagger and stage confidence to match. Can he really be only 17 years old?? He warrants further investigation but tonight didn’t really set the crowd on fire, that said it’s hard when you’re first on-stage at any point in your career.
Next up are Cabbage, who hail from Manchester and are tipped for great things. They go down a storm and are a wonderful refreshing sound, dare I say punk in attack, chaotic and just what a gig like this should be. Their thirty minute set opens with ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’ and quickly gets the teenage crowd in a frenzy, even having an attempt at making a circle pit, but a little more practice is needed on that front. ‘Dinner Lady’ shows the acerbic wit of these Mancunians and before long the set closer ‘Kevin’ is upon us.
They have their debut album ‘Young, dumb and full of’ out soon, and if you feel like a long queue one morning there’s a limited version for Record Store Day.
The stage change sees this young audience show off their singing voices, and I’m impressed they are word-perfect for ‘This Charming Man’ considering it was released a good 20 years plus before most were born. Given this you can imagine my amazement when they then sing along to ‘Don’t you want me baby’, released in 1981. They do have some fine ears indeed.
“Hello, we are Blossoms, and we’re from Stockport” Tom Ogden tells us, resplendent in a shirt which says ‘marry me’, and it’s a fair bet half of this crowd would take him up on that. Blossoms are accomplished as a band, releasing their self-titled album in August 2016; they have worked hard on the road and previously played to sold out venues around the country. Having said that there is always the fool in the crowd and within two minutes of taking to the stage a half-full glass is lobbed and makes contact with the top of his head. Whilst some artists would stop the song, or walk off, Ogden makes no fuss and carries on, just signalling to stage-side for a towel. When dry he makes no reference to this, a true professional if ever there was one.
‘My Favourite Room’ is a solo acoustic version, dedicated to Emma, who is in the crowd and has recently been dumped by Lewis, who is shouted out by the majority of the crowd as being “a wanker”. Aided by the crowd, they sing along and when asked to by Ogden complete an impromptu version of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ being acknowledged “well done, you’ve sung the most of that so far on this tour”.
The band return for what is an encore I guess, or was it simply a short break? ‘Cut me and I’ll bleed’ is a wonderful song, and the stage lighting and dry-ice is very atmospheric. The set closes with a rousing version of ‘Charlemagne’ and everyone leaves happy.
So to summarise Rory Wynne needs a closer listen; Cabbage were superb and are destined for bigger things, in fact they are supporting Kasabian on their short April tour. Blossoms clearly are accomplished, but for me “too poppy”, I was longing for just one dirty guitar riff. However the winner tonight was live music. It can be easy to watch awful talent shows and generalise about the ones who win and then have careers on the back of it without putting the ground work in playing live and building up a following (possibly because a lot are unable to play live- call me cynical) but tonight gave proof new, young exciting bands are out there doing just that, playing live, building a following up, and this young following and crowd tonight was so enjoyable to see, as it proves live music is safe and that the next generation are getting out there and going to gigs.
That is possibly the most encouraging sentence I’ve ever put in a review. The crowd in Brum tonight did themselves proud.
At most a kiss
Across the moor
My favourite room
Cut me and I’ll bleed
Polka dot bones
Uber Capitalist Death Trade
Necroflat in the palace
Reviewer: Glenn Raybone
Photographer: Marc Osborne