Jake Bugg at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Riding on the back of a hugely successful debut album, this young lad from Nottingham took the stage of the sold-out venue in Shepherd’s Bush with a performance focused on pure, back-to-roots guitar and vocals.
Jake Bugg’s set crawled off the mark with Fire, an acoustic slow-burner, with his iconic vocals in the spotlight, moving seamlessly into the more upbeat Kentucky, from his previously released EP.
Bugg embraces a Deep South, honky-tonk in his music, which, matched with his folky local accent, makes for a sound that is truly unique and has you hooked on every lyric that passes his lips. The crowd lapped up the tracks from his album, which sounded at least as good as his studio work.
The charm of Jake Bugg is in his lyrics: real and often hard-hitting, they resonate with his listeners. Seen It All tells the tale of a night of partying that went too far, with dark words such as “I made my way inside past a thousand crazy eyes, then a friend took me aside and said ‘Everybody here has a knife'”.
The band left Bugg solo for Slide, a slow number about love lost, which had the crowd swaying, spellbound by a voice that established intimacy in a not so intimate venue. He went on to provide an exciting glimpse of new material, performing an entertaining new track entitled Slumville Sunrise – a breathtaking electric guitar piece and highlight of the set that got the audience stomping their feet.
Bugg saved the crowd-favourites for the finish, starting with Two Fingers (his sing-a-long tune that had the whole venue joining in), followed by Taste It (with Johnny Cash influenced guitar twang), and finally the closer Lightening Bolt, one the audience revelled in. Ending to rapturous applause, Bugg came on for an encore, playing Broken and Cash cover, Folsom Prison Blues.
Jake Bugg brings a fresh act to the table, combining Cash-esque rhythms with Dylan vocals that hold powerful, often gritty tones. The album was a joy to hear, and his live performance even more so, leaving you helplessly stamping your feet to his absorbing music.
Photos: Adam Imiolo
For further information and future events visit Jake Bugg’s website here.
Watch the video for Two Fingers here: