***** 5 Stars *****
Even though it was only last year, I’m already unbelievably nostalgic for 2019. I don’t know if that’s because the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in 2020 has been having a pizza delivered to my front door, or the fact that the summer of 2019 was so bloody wonderful.
In any case, 2019 was ace. Oh, it really was. Culminating with Blossoms’ sold-out Edgeley Park gig in June, which was the perfect ending to an incredible couple of months. The gig, and all the build-up, is the subject of a new documentary which came out this month – Blossoms: Back To Stockport – which we’ll be reviewing in this article. But first, we need to turn the clock back slightly to April, when the first chapter was completed in what would turn out to be a memorable few weeks.
Now, I’m a Stockport County fan. Even though this is an article on Blossoms, I’m allowed to mention that fact. Not just because Blossoms are from Stockport, which they proudly announce every time they’re on stage. But there are so many links between Blossoms and County as well – Charlie’s grandfather John Fitzpatrick, Club Ambassador for County, introducing the band for one of their final songs at Edgeley Park got one of the biggest cheers of the night – and I believe for a lot of people, the gig was made all the more memorable, following the events that unfolded just a few weeks earlier, as the National League North season reached its dramatic conclusion.
Blossoms’ Edgeley Park gig sold out pretty sharpish. So too did County’s final game of the season in April at Liberty Way, home of Nuneaton Borough. It’s a modest little ground in Warwickshire that holds around 4,000 fans. And apart from a little gaggle of home fans in one corner of the ground, it was absolutely packed to the rafters with County fans that day. For the County fans who headed south in a convoy of trains, cars and coaches on that unforgettable afternoon, we all knew what to expect, but it was still a sight to behold seeing three and a half sides of the ground bursting with Stockport.
For the history books, County won 3-0 to clinch their first title in 52 years, made even more special by the fact that we all thought County had blown it just seven days earlier, when they lost to title challengers Chorley. But for once, the world’s forces transpired in our favour, and the celebrations could start. And boy, did they start. And carry on. And carry on some more. And your editor pretty much fell out of Bredbury Hall at about five in the morning after celebrating with County’s players, management and staff all night. One hungover, but very happy County fan, the next day.
The celebrations continued for the next few weeks. And I mention County, because they are one part of the triangle which also includes the town of Stockport, as well as Blossoms. All three support each other in different ways. Blossoms have always done their bit to support County, and the town itself, and it was now time for everyone to return the favour by getting behind the Stockport five-piece’s biggest gig to date. I think I’ve linked that in pretty nicely, haven’t I?
I’ve written articles for various publications most of my life, but I’ve never really done reviews before. I read a lot of reviews in newspapers and magazines and they’re probably better than mine to be honest. I’ll just start off by saying ‘Blossoms: Back To Stockport’ gets five stars straight away. I loved every minute of it, as it really does capture the spirit of that whole summer in Stockport, as well as the night in question in SK3. Yes, I’m biased, as a fan of Blossoms, Stockport and County, but even if I wasn’t, I’d still be tempted to give the documentary five stars as it’s beautifully put together, and huge credit has to go to Director Charlie Watts and Producer Luke Filz. It picked up a 4 star review from the NME, which proves it’s a decent watch. Adding on an extra star as a proud Stopfordian myself isn’t something anybody will quibble with I don’t think.
I’m fully on board with the documentary right from the very start. “I’m the lead drummer, I don’t normally get this shit,” says Joe Donovan. I know I’m going to enjoy the following hour and a half. The lads are sat in the studio, doing pieces to camera, whilst having their hair and make-up done, and it’s clear they’re not entirely comfortable with the pampering. Having met them a few times, they genuinely are still five normal young lads from Stockport, who just happen to have hit the big time through their work ethic and unique sound.
As for writing a review of the documentary, it’s something you have to check out for yourself. You’ll have a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half, I promise, whether you’re from Stockport or not. Actually, I’d even say whether or not you’re a fan of Blossoms as well. From any viewpoint, the documentary gives a fascinating insight into the journey of the band, from a scaffolding yard in the early days, to the heights they’re at today. Here’s a few of my personal highlights from the documentary:
- Making £36 from one of their first gigs in Manchester, but only making £1 profit after getting slapped with a £35 fine because Charlie parked his van on a double yellow outside Night & Day
- A house party in Stockport to celebrate Tom’s girlfriend’s birthday with all five lads dressing up as the Spice Girls, showing their down-to-earth nature as lads you’d genuinely enjoy having a beer with
- Stood in the centre circle at Edgeley Park in the days leading up to the gig, clearly taking in what must have been an incredible emotional moment for them, but they still manage to show their humour as well with Joe saying he’s “shitting it” with a couple of others looking at the advertising billboards and pointing out which local companies they used to work for, Fair Price Funerals and Home Run Pizzas being two of them
There’s just three of my own highlights, with loads of others to enjoy throughout the documentary, which runs through the whole set list from the gig, as well as backstage footage, interviews with the band and plenty of other stuff, from Stockport to Japan. We all know Blossoms have got tremendous backing in Stockport, but they’re loved far beyond that as well, as the documentary shows, with one girl interviewed outside the Bobby Peel, who had flown in from Australia. Carlsberg don’t do culture shocks…..
The documentary is neatly put together, with some fantastic graphics throughout, like the ones on those old football videos from the 90s. It really is a superb piece of work, and everyone involved should take massive credit. Get rid of this sodding virus, and Tom, Joe, Charlie, Josh and Myles can treat us to another Edgeley Park gig next year hopefully. County will be back in the Football League by then as well. Now that would be a summer to look forward to.
‘Blossoms: Back To Stockport’ is available to watch now on Amazon Prime.