Live Review: Jake Bugg, O2 Academy Brixton (25/10/13)

As Jake Bugg walks out on stage for his third sold out night at Brixton Academy, greeted by a large room filled with people who’d come out on a cold October evening just to hear him sing, he must be thinking, “Shit. This is cool.”

At only 19 years old, Bugg is the youngest ever British male to have a debut album go straight to number one. And to sell out three nights in Brixton (almost 15,000 tickets) is pretty impressive. Even Bugg seemed surprised, admitting to the crowd, “I never thought I’d play a room this big. I really appreciate it.”

He sounds just as good live, if not better, than on record.

Standing in the crowd, I can’t help but marvel at just how young he looks. As he starts strumming his guitar, playing the intro to “There’s a Beast And We All Feed It” off new album Shangri La, the one thing that stands out is how young he looks on the stage. But, as soon as he starts singing, the image of a shy local Nottingham lad fades away and the reality of why he’s been so successful is clear; he is incredibly talented. Not only is he a brilliant guitar player, he has a strong, distinctive voice that hangs around in your thoughts long after the show is over. He sounds just as good live, if not better, than on record.

Bugg excites the crowd by playing the big singles from his first album, including “Two Fingers”, “Lightning Bolt” and “Seen It All” but also gives the audience a great preview of his new album. The  heavier, faster paced songs “What Doesn’t Kill You” and “Slumville Sunrise” give energy to his otherwise relaxed, mellow set and it was refreshing, albeit slightly surprising, to hear a new sound coming from a singer who is clearly unafraid to experiment with his musical style.

This really encompasses what Jake Bugg is all about; humble, honest music.

I think I speak for the whole audience when I say that the only thing that Bugg could strengthen is his connection and interaction with the audience, but I am sure that as his confidence continues to grow, this will come with time. The highlight of the gig comes as he performs a selection of acoustic songs. Armed with just his voice and a guitar, he silences the audience with “Country Song” and “Broken”, stand-out songs from his twenty song set. This really encompasses what Jake Bugg is all about; humble, honest music.

His new album, Shangri La will be available to buy on 18th November.

Rhiannon Folan

…Rhiannon is listening to Bruce Springsteen – ‘Blinded By The Light’…

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