14th February 2013
From council estate to being announced as headliner at Reading festival, Jake Bugg has taken the industry by storm. Judging by his recent media profile, he’s unfazed by his success, but then he is not your average eighteen year old, with influences including The Beatles, Hendrix and the Gallagher brothers, and the less conventional Donovan, Don Mclean, Robert Johnson and a host of other folk and country artists. He has been complimented as sounding like a young Bob Dylan, and received the seal of approval from Noel Gallagher, who’s already taken him on tour.
Bugg arrived at the Academy as part of a long-since-sold-out tour, with transatlantic support from Dublin’s Hudson Taylor and Tennessee’s Valerie June. Taylor delivered a stunning set packed with ballads and harmonies, followed by June’s charming fusion of blues and roots music. Bugg took the stage to the strains of Robert Johnson’s ‘Cross Road Blues’, and kicked things off with one of his – as he terms them – ‘finger-pickin’ tracks. ‘Fire’. With only one record under his belt – albeit one that topped the chart- Bugg needs to flesh out the set somehow, and b-sides ‘Kentucky’ and ‘Love Me the Way You Do’ make the cut here. ‘Kentucky’, as the name suggests, is inspired by American country music, and Bugg has come in for a fair bit of stick for the pseudo-American accent he adopts when singing. Not that he’s forgotten his roots – his album tells the story of his growing up in Clifton, and the songs ‘Seen It All’ and ‘Slumville Sunrise’ demonstrate this. He saved the real crowd pleasers, ‘Lightning Bolt’ and ‘Two Fingers’, for last.
Bugg turned in an accomplished performance for such a young performer; in a world full of manufactured pop, he’s a real breath of fresh air.