Jake Bugg has always been one to keep things simple, but his recent acoustic tour strips back his craft to the bare minimum: just a man and his guitar. The 24-year old couldn’t be more in his element.
Bugg’s laidback from the start, casually opening with ‘How Soon the Dawn’, the first single of his recent album Hearts That Strain, which immediately had fans singing along by the chorus. For a moment, you could be forgiven for feeling transported to somewhere warmer but then Bugg’s Nottingham mumble brings you crashing back to reality as he transitions to the next song. ‘Strange Creatures’ is welcomed with awe; its dark undertones delivering the sort of haunting chill you’d expect from a song so heavily influenced by Johnny Cash.
It’s hard to know what to expect considering Bugg’s varied catalogue of songs ranging from the fast paced and heavy likes of ‘Slumville Sunrise’ to the slow-building heart wrenching folk ballad ‘Broken’. As it turned out, both of these songs featured with everything in between and the latter could only be described as utterly mesmerising, if not slightly offset by the howling audience trying to sing along. Perhaps Bugg had hoped for a more quiet and respectful listening crowd in this ornate venue with the stain glass windows and organ pipes looming. Instead he laughed off the rowdy chants and shouted song requests following some of his more subtle and lesser known songs. The show ended with ’Lightning Bolt’ and ignited the hall which was already brimming with energy by this point; leaving the stage to a very well deserved prolonged applause and standing ovation.
His latest album and live show is certainly more acoustically leaning and captures how Bugg has matured over the years. It’s easy to forget just how young the talented musician is with his lyrics telling solemn tales, seemingly beyond his years, but from what we’ve seen so far we can be certain he’ll keep exploring new ideas and methods in his music.