Photo: Kenny Davies
Blossoms + Inheaven + The Vryll Society
February 25 2016
Words/Photos: Linn Branson (except above image by Kenny Davies)
Well, tonight the Northerners owned London, or at least the part of it surrounding King's Cross and Scala venue, anyway. If there had been any doubt that Stockport's Blossoms - a band Little Indie discovered back in January 2014 and were first to write about - had not now stepped up into the major league bracket, their headlining, sell-out show here just about confirmed it.
As often is the case with a three-hander gig where the first band is on very early, The Vryll Society started on on a half-full room, but by the time they had concluded had drawn in enough punters to ensure that their own headline tour in April will undoubtedly bring in the punters.
The Liverpool psychsters are a curious cross between vocalist Mike Ellis's Bobby Gillespie / Ian Brown / young Jagger fronting, and the other four band members looking like they had slipped through a time warp from the 70s, or at least, just coming down from an acid trip. Under a glow of red and blue hues and a profusion of smoke, they all show why these Society boys have been gaining a reputation as a band on the rise.
Spacegaze sounds, soaring guitars issue forth as they include songs from debut EP 'Pangea', and a close on new single 'Self-Realization' sees a mighty flourish of an ending as Ellis exits the stage to leave just guitars and drums to carry on for a further three minutes. Spacey, man.
Inheaven (who you really just want to see on the bill at Heaven venue don't you, simply for the play on names) first hit the blogosphere around this time last year when they emerged as a 'mystery' band from south-east London with no names - and just one stonking debut of a song in 'Regeneration' (which was enough for Julian Casablancas to sign them to his Cult Records in the US).
They've since revealed both names and that their entré was not just a one-off fluke of good luck. Tonight they look confident as they settle into 'All There Is', with frontman James Taylor greeting the crowd with "Good evening, Scala. We're Inheaven" - and after a further six songs, so was most of the filled room. With blonde bassist Chloe Little resplendent in sparkly pants, and Jake Lucas sporting a pink Yes t-shirt, they lend eye-catching visuals to their fuzzy hooks and screeching guitars respectively, as they lock into interplay with their vocalist.
By the time they've run through 'Stupid Things', newly dropped track 'Baby It's Alright', 'Real Love', and reached penultimate number 'Bitter Town', they have won over the crowd, by now dancing on the spot and fully into party mode. Closing on ‘Regeneration’, the response they receive couldn't have been more appreciative if they had been the night's top of the bill, which is something that can't be far off. As their fans frequently tweet on Twitter: Inheaven were sick.
When the night's headliners step onto a stage filled with billowing smoke, the fact that this show was sold-out becomes evident as the main floor fills every few seconds with more bodies crammed shoulder-to-shoulder, as yet still more try and find a space on the viewing gallery, stairs, or anywhere they can glimpse these five lads from 'oop North who have proceeded to built up a following across the country on the strength of two EPs and a raft of highly rated live shows.
They may be holding court in the capital, but evidence that coach loads of 'outsiders' have made the journey to this evening's show is apparent when vocalist Tom Ogden asks at one point, “Whose here not from London?” The response of a deafening roar implies that most of those thronging the room probably weren't. As Blossoms get under way with 'Cut Me And I’ll Bleed', and latest single, the infectious 'At Most A Kiss', beers flow and happy punters sing along in unison throughout, knowing the words to every song with adoring accuracy.
As subdued blue light bathes the stage, Ogden enquires: “Do you mind if we slow it down for a bit?” as he delivers the stripped-back acoustic ‘My Favourite Room’. This is followed by 'Blown Rose', and what is perhaps their most immediate and catchy vibed song to date, the irrepressible 'Charlemagne'. Tonight it is dedicated to Viola Beach, who had been due to go out on a raft of further dates with Blossoms on this current tour had tragedy not struck as it did. After a resounding 'Blow' ends the set, there is no doubting that that the Blossoms lads are coming into a fine bloom this year.