Jake Bugg demonstrates just how far he is come.
It was roughly this time last year that I went to see Jake Bugg at a sports centre in Yeovil. With just one album under his belt, the gig was nothing special but the potential was certainly there. Since then it has been a busy time for the man from Nottingham, releasing his second album Shangri La, which was made in Los Angeles and partly produced by Rick Rubin, and touring extensively. He has been nominated for countless awards including the prestigious Mercury Prize. Most importantly though he has refined and improved his music, gradually shifting to a more electric vibe, which he showcased last night.
The gig was electric. Playing to a sold out audience, Bugg looked visibly inspired, perhaps partially from the fact he had played his biggest show yet at London’s Royal Albert Hall two days earlier. The Manchester crowd were cause for influence as well singing loudly to the classics from his first self-titled album like ‘Seen It All’ and ‘Two Fingers’. The latter song producing a mass of people raising two fingers. Prior to ‘Ballad of Mr Jones’, Bugg announced he would be treating the crowd to a couple of acoustic songs. The next three songs are captivating and beautiful. A slowed down version of ‘Broken’ has the crowd in a trance. He is able to awake them again, launching into ‘Kingpin,’ a tune from his latest album, where he produces a guitar solo of the highest quality – something he has developed in the last year.
During the end of the set Bugg brought on Michael Kiwanuka and covered one of his songs. It was a touching moment considering Bugg had supported Kiwanuka on the very same stage two years ago. Finishing with ‘Lightning Bolt,’ Bugg sends the crowd out with smiles on their faces, helping combat the impending Monday morning blues.