Jake Bugg delivers indie-rock perfection in a magnetic set at the Roundhouse
For many, Jake Bugg’s music is reminiscent of teenage expeditions to dingy venues for a night of sweaty dancing and try-hard mosh pits. But six years and four albums later, his music still packs out venues with the now-grown teenagers, and his anthems continue to resonate as indie-rock perfection.
The gig kicks off with folky-rock riffs aplenty in There’s a Beast and We All Feed It, the audience already clambering onto each other’s shoulders and waving their arms in the air. Despite attracting such an enthusiastic crowd – one perhaps better placed at a music festival, as they lob half-empty cups of beer over heads in front – Bugg appears somewhat disconnected from both his instruments and his crowd in the first few songs.
Despite this, he delivers Trouble Town with such zealous energy it’s easy to forget that his instruments seem to be creating sound autonomously. New song Kiss Like the Sun, with its catchy hooks and guitar wails, luckily breaks through this wall, and Bugg seems to come back into the room. For one of its first live plays, it’s undoubtedly a huge success.
Surprisingly, these electric anthems, powered by Bugg and his band with overtly practiced precision, are not the highlight of the show. Bringing the lights low and sweeping across the audience, the singer strips back his musicians and brings out his own acoustic guitar. As the opening bars of 2012 hit Broken begin to play, Bugg begins to connect with his audience in a way he hasn’t done yet, raising his head to the ceiling as the audience sing the chorus back to him. Slide, Me and You and A Song About Love all follow the format of emotive heartbreak ballads, and this is where Bugg now seems most comfortable.
Jake Bugg is not the plain indie boy he started out as in 2012. At Camden’s Roundhouse he evens out his performance in a beautiful blend of styles and lyrical depth that leaves the audience wanting more – and no doubt waiting impatiently for the release of his new album.
Photos: Arianna Cavalensi
For further information and future events visit Jake Bugg’s Facebook page here.
Watch the video for Kiss Like the Sun here: