Gig review: Jake Bugg at O2 Academy Newcastle

JAKE Bugg was back in the region last week to play his second sold-out show in three months at the Academy, as part of his first headline UK tour.

Nominated for Best British Breakthrough Act at this year’s Brits, the 18 year-old from Nottingham, who has been compared to Bob Dylan, looked at home playing to a big crowd.

He played all 14 songs from his self-titled chart-topping debut album, and they formed the basis of a great show.

Backed by a bassist and drummer, he boldly opened with Fire, a mellow acoustic number, before briefly saying ‘hi’ to fans – it seems he’s not one for banter.

Two tracks from his Taste It EP, Kentucky and Love Me The Way You Do, preceded a crowd-pleasing performance of his debut single Trouble Town, before Seen it All, his current single, got the crowd singing along.

His rapidly-growing female fanbase was more apparent than at his last appearance here at the more intimate Academy 2, and many of the younger ones screamed as he slowed things down with Simple As This and Slide.

A new song – which went unannounced – was incredibly infectious, suggesting there’s a lot more to come from this talented teenager.

Moody lighting and strobe effects helped bring alive the brooding Ballad of Mr. Jones, and acoustic versions of the heartfelt Someone Told Me and Country Song were among the night’s highlights.

Not one for crowd banter, he preferred to let his electric guitar do the talking, rousing the crowd with the toe-tapping Two Fingers, Taste It and Lighting Bolt.

Contrasting his delicate folk songs with indie-rock tunes showcased two sides to this rising star.

Friendly boos greeted his announcement of his last song, and he laughed: “You can cheer for more if you want”.

His fans did just that, and he returned to pluck his way through Broken before ending with Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues.

As the house lights went up, his hero Don McLean’s American Pie sent the crowd on their way – a nice touch to an amazing show.


Marie Westmoreland-Thornhill

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