Holly Lizzie Wilson
It has been 10 years since Nottingham legend Jake Bugg first hit the music scene, with his self-titled debut album. The album, which sang of the trials and tribulation of growing up in ‘speed bump city’ (Clifton), was a success, and an immediate favourite with locals. Holly Lizzie Wilson attended Jake’s recent concert at Motorpoint Arena, and reviews.
He’s back in his home town and packing out the arena.
As an anniversary show, it is expected that the artist would perform the album in full. And Jake definitely did that, but that was just the tip of the iceberg for this special home town show.
The performance started at 8pm, with Jake taking to the stage on his own, and performing an intimate acoustic set of eight songs that spanned the whole of his career. Saffron was a highlight here, a song that really shone, performed with just his voice and guitar. Generally, Jake’s voice still has the freshness that was first heard 10 years ago, emphasised by his beautiful guitar riffs. After this softer session, Jake left the stage, reassuring that he would be back with some more upbeat tracks.
The arena was full to the brim
The interlude delved into a back catalogue of Jake’s interviews, reminding the audience of the great highs of his career, through album releases to Glastonbury performances. When he returned to the stage, the arena was full to the brim, and ready for the main event. Jake stood centre stage, haloed in lights, just him and his guitar, and struck up the concluding track of his debut, a simple folk tune called Fire. For those who lived that album, it’s a familiar smile, and the crowd joined in with the modest chorus.
The album was played in reverse order, ensuring that the set was finished with the more upbeat songs. But that is not to say that the more mellow tunes in the album didn’t entice excitement out of the crowd; tunes such as Simple As This were sang back to the stage with whole hearted enjoyment.
This Jake Bugg is a very different man
It was so evident how much Jake has progressed from the release of the album; I remember seeing him play Splendour festival when he was 19, and he was shy and somewhat sullen. This Jake Bugg is a very different man, confident in himself, and joyous to be playing his home town. As a Notts local, it was hard not to feel a little bit emotional at the thought that I had watched him grow.
The songs he released in his teenage years have developed with him, and the musicality was a lot more complex in these more mature performances. With the performance of Broken, Jake welcomed the Queen Elizabeth Choir from ‘Inspire Libraries’ onto the stage, to add depth to the heart wrenching song.
The highlights of the gig came with the performances of both Two Fingers and Lightning Bolt, the breakthrough singles of the album. The crowd joined together to give Jake the two finger salute during the chorus of the former and the whole arena was filled with them singing along. And, of course, Lightning Bolt came last, the upbeat rock-and-roll-esque number that Jake still performed with the youthful passion of his early shows, with the standing crowd dancing so much that he offered an extra chorus.
All I Need displayed where he is now with his music
There was then a slight interval before Jake returned to play his greatest hits, showing that he is meant to be on the stadium stage. His final song, All I Need, displayed where he is now with his music, more confident and experimenting around with sounds. It was a great climax to the 35-song-long set list, an impressive feat for any artist.
The dispersing crowd had home town pride usually found after football games, thrilled to have watched the local boy who went from open mics to stadium shows in this city. Jake Bugg’s career is sure to continue for many years to come, but this 10-year reflection of his beginnings shows that he had something magical in his music from the very start!
Holly Lizzie Wilson
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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