Blossoms showcases suave alternative rock vibes at Bottom of the Hill

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British alternative rock band Blossoms sounds like a cross between the 1975 and the Arctic Monkeys. Tom Ogden, lead singer, plays the role of cool British guy effortlessly, effectively filling the niche Alex Turner left for him. On Thursday evening, the English group played an intimate concert at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill right before it planned to appear at Coachella Music Festival. During a set that lasted slightly over an hour, Blossoms played nearly every song off its self-titled major label debut. But throughout its set, one could not help but feel isolated from the band. There was a disconnect between the performers onstage and the crowd. Ogden and the rest of the band members played their songs well musically speaking, but they were unsuccessful in forming a genuine connection with the audience.

The problem was that there was not much to make this show different from any other Blossoms performance. Ogden rarely interacted with the crowd aside from several “Thank You’s” and one attempt to ask the crowd if there were any hearts that were recently broken to dedicate the exceptional “My Favorite Room” to. The result of this lack of interaction was that the show lacked anything spontaneous. The performance appeared over-rehearsed and wholly unspectacular. Besides several mentions of San Francisco, this performance could have been staged in any city in the world.

Blossoms was far better in its musical performance than in its synergy with the crowd. It played its songs with energy and a brooding intensity. The large majority of Blossoms tracks have catchy hooks and upbeat production. Despite this, the lack of musical variation in its work caused the songs played to eventually elicit only minor head bobbing, rather than full-on dancing, from the crowd. Blossoms’ mid-tempo tracks were just energetic enough to keep the crowd swaying. Nevertheless, some tracks stood out. The nocturnal, electronic-driven “Smashing Pianos” provided a nice change of pace. The aforementioned acoustic ballad, “My Favorite Room,” also offered a welcome tone shift to the performance. Many of the other songs tended to blend together. There was just not enough contrast between each of the songs to keep the audience constantly engaged.

In spite of some uninspired performances at the beginning, Blossoms finished strong. It ended the set with a string of strong tracks that ultimately culminated in “Charlemagne,” Blossoms’ most popular song on Spotify. “Charlemagne” is a synth-driven, bouncy pop tune that got the members of the audience jumping up and down. The song showed just how compelling the members of Blossoms could be as performers. Ogden was lively and reciprocated the vibes of the audience. The other band members also were just as excited. Unfortunately, this potential was not realized throughout the rest of the show.

The setlist would have been more apt for a sitting, chill crowd rather than the standing one that was present, which made it all the more confusing when multiple members of the band attempted to hype up the crowd. The audience would start strong clapping in time with the beat and then swiftly fizzle out. The energy of the crowd spiked at the beginning of each song, but it would be unsustainable past the first chorus. The band did little to bring the liveliness of the audience back up. The spark completely died off. It was if there was a one-way mirror between the listeners and the band members. The band played and did all the prerequisites of a concert, but it failed to react to the atmosphere of the crowd.

Blossoms offered up a serviceable performance. It got the job of exposing its music to a new market done, but it needed something more to stand out. With that being said, Blossoms demonstrated great promise. It can be a group of extremely fun and dynamic performers when all the elements of their craft gel together. Regrettably, this does not happen as often enough as it should.

Contact Derek Fang at [email protected].

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