Jake Bugg performing his On My One tour at Rock City Nottingham on Friday 28th October 2016
Images and Review by Kevin Cooper
Jake Bugg is like Marmite, in that you either like him or you hate him with his nasal sounding and often whiny voice. But it was clear that the packed Rock City crowd last night came strongly down on the former as they erupted when Bugg, dressed casually in a black T shirt and black jeans sauntered on to the stage with just his acoustic guitar.
Without much of an introduction, he launched into the title track from his latest album, On My One, whilst following up with Strange Creatures. What followed was another new song, the mesmerising The Love We’re Hoping For before he finished his acoustic set with a track from his debut album, Simple As This.
The biggest hit of his career so far, Two Fingers, started the non acoustic set as he was joined on stage by his talented band. At least this song brought the crowd alive as the opening strums of his guitar were heard, and they engaged in a rousing sing along.
On a very dull stage, with a few bright spotlights, the effect was amazing as they changed colour and flashed at different speeds to the songs that followed. Playing seven out of eleven songs from his new album, it was the familiar old songs which kept the crowd moving. There was the country twang of There’s A Beast And We All Feed it which kept the energy levels high, before another crowd pleaser in Slumville Sunrise was given an airing.
Love Hope And Misery with its funk guitar groove and synth strings kept the tempo going as did the rockabilly jam, Trouble Town. Constantly showing off his incredibly impressive and underrated guitar skills, his notion of ‘less is more’ worked in his favour. He barely moved from in front of the mic stand throughout the set, and his between song banter was limited to a few mutterings of ‘thank you’.
Finishing with a frenzied Lightning Bolt, the song which first saw him draw comparisons to the legendary Bob Dylan, he left the stage with a few shy waves and a mumbled goodbye.
There is no doubt that Bugg is a very talented young artist, but he does lack a certain charisma and charm on stage; a smile wouldn’t go amiss. He just sometimes gives the impression that he would rather be somewhere else and that lives up to the arrogant persona that he has created.
He has shown that he is a talented songwriter and musician, but what he needs to do now is convert those Marmite haters, and then stand by and watch his career go up a notch.