Live Review: Jake Bugg, Blossoms

28 July 2016 | 12:39 pm | Dearna Mulvaney

"Just Bugg, his acoustic, and the crowd singing their hearts out."

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It's just after 8pm when the Stockport five-piece Blossoms start. They're silent — so are the crowd watching intently — as they head to their instruments. A heavy rock beat topped with a synth pours through the speaker as At Most A Kiss starts. Frontman Tom Ogden sings through the verses with eyes to the ceiling, arms by his side and his guitar hanging from his shoulder. The minute the chorus kicks in he grabs the guitar, happy to play along. The set is filled up tracks from their upcoming debut album - Getaway, My Favourite Room and Charlemagne. If Arctic Monkeys ever decided to do a New Romantics album it'd sound a hell of a lot like these Manchester boys. This quintet brings a dose of summer warmth to our cold winter night.  

When Jake Bugg steps on stage to a screaming crowd, this isn't the first time we've seen him tonight. In the break between the two bands' sets, he rushed around stage tuning guitars and fiddling with amps — at one point he even waves to the crowd. But we don't care; we're too excited and scream like it's the first time anyway. He launches into the first single off new album On My One. The Palais is left speechless at the moody Delta blues influence. The set rolls on in quick succession of old tracks Two Fingers, Messed Up Kids, Seen It All and There's A Beast & We All Feed It

Bugg's set is a fusion of genres — blues guitar and organ, Oasis-styled vocals, '80s synth, with Britpop drums and country storytelling lyrics. While these might seem mismatched on paper it works, and not just because of Bugg's signature vocal. Each element is carefully selected and features only if it benefits the song and the story he's trying to tell.

After another whirlwind of tracks, with Simple Pleasures and Gimme The Love, Bugg's band leaves the stage. "Thank you very much, you're a polite crowd." We scream, various fans, male and female, confess their love for Bugg. He laughs, "That's not a bad thing." He takes a deep breath before launching into Broken. It's a beautiful moment — just Bugg, his acoustic, and the crowd singing their hearts out. Bugg has one final song for the night and he brings his band back. The whole theatre is one their feet, dancing and singing along, for Lighting Bolt. At the end, guitars still ringing, Bugg stands on the edge of the stage with his band and claps, applauding the audience before leaving the stage.

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