Jake Bugg @ O2 Academy Leeds, 26/10/16

Stepping into the spotlight in only jet black, the ballsy Nottingham singer simply has to pluck the first notes of ‘On My One’ to command the sold out crowd’s attention. They were clearly waiting for the verse to begin so they could wail along to Jake Bugg’s all too familiar nasal voice.

The intimacy continued as the song morphed into ‘Strange Creatures’ with only a quick “Hello Leeds” squeezed in between. Clearly, Bugg doesn’t need extensive dialogue; his music speaks for itself. Even during this relatively unknown song, featured only on the four track Messed Up Kids EP, every word slipped out of the audience’s mouth.

Since his spiral into the public eye in 2012, some things have remained constant. He still starts ‘Seen It All’ with the tenuous E minor chord held in a vicious strumming pattern, before twisting into the well-known lyrics about a rough party back in Clifton. He also reverted back to the original version of ‘Broken’, singing the emotional “Where’s Sophie?” that was cut from the Rick Ruben arrangement.

Yet, in the four short years that have passed, there’s more than just new songs which break away from folky roots. He’s switched up his band, and replacing the second guitarist with keys has left Bugg’s guitar skills truly exposed, as fingers jump all over the fret board.

Rushing through a twenty song set in just over an hour, with enchanting instrumentals, the audience was offered up an eclectic mix of classics alongside outstanding new songs, like the acoustic charm of ‘The Love We’re Hoping For’. Every song captivated the crowd, with people constantly clambering on shoulders, flailing their arms about with phones sparkling like stars.

Jenny Pudney

(Image: Shortlist)

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