The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Live: Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg delivers a mature performance at Manchester’s O2 Apollo.


7th November 2013

O2 Apollo Manchester


The first time I saw Jake Bugg was at a festival 2 years ago, before he had released his debut album. Back then he had so little stage presence he was barely there; he moodily played a few songs before leaving the stage without saying a word.

A million album sales later, and his follow up album due this month, it is clear to see that Bugg has gained his confidence. His set tonight features nearly all the songs from his first album, which draw a massive response from the crowd. The crowd itself is a strange mix of 13 year old girl screaming when Bugg even looks in their direction, and what seems like loads of football fans who chant in between songs. Every word mumbled between songs is lapped up feverishly though. The old songs sound great with a backing band of bass and drums, but what we were really here to see tonight was his new material from his upcoming album, Shangri La.

We are treated to eight new songs, six of which are heavily electric. It was obvious that this new material alienated some of the longer term fans who got into Bugg through is acoustic ballads, but they sounded brilliant. They retain his rockabilly sound but have more drive to them, and he clearly feels more confident playing them, as Bugg struts about the stage while playing and hammers out impressive guitar solos. When he does play two new acoustic songs they sound a bit tired, but this may have been due to the now reserved audience not knowing the words.

The real treat of the set comes right at the end, when Bugg covers Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”. He not only does the cover justice, but a clear statement that his sound has definitely matured.