We arrived at the Apollo in Manchester with plenty of time to go for a drink before Jake Bugg and despite our efforts of finding a pub playing the Manchester City game (any gears will be swiftly ignored) we couldn’t find any locally which was must to the dismay of my boyfriend (Adam) and to the delight of me!
It was different to the usual crowd of eyeliner displaying 14 year olds repping every piece of band merch possible. These people were averaging at my mum’s age and dressed up ready for what looked like a nice romantic meal rather than a gig. We went inside and the weirdness didn’t end, the bar was full (it was almost novel to have to wait for a pint!) and so was the seating area! I didn’t fancy attempting to dance and Adam isn’t exactly Carlton Banks (Fresh Prince of Belair for any youngsters) so we opted to sit down.
As a hardcore metal fan I wasn’t exactly elated at the prospect of listening to what I deemed to be the whiny tones of a Johnny Cash wannabe but I hold my hands up and say I was wrong AND I’ve been non-stop listening to him since.
Jake Bugg came on stage with an awkwardness which was typical of his age and mumbled a few words about him being thankful for us all being there it would have been nice to convey the thanks to his face but he clearly enjoys the dark and mysterious brooding stage presence, I quickly googled him smiling just to see if it had ever happened. It has, rarely. He started off with a few acoustic hits including “On my One” (which I am currently singing as I write this article) and the attention he commanded with his voice and music which were well beyond his years were utterly hypnotizing.
His stage presence was lacking especially in comparison to the other bands I’ve watched but weirdly he didn’t need all of the pyrotechnics, crazy lighting and bopping around the stage, his raw passion took all eyes straight on him and it was like he was singing directly to you. Even Adam admitted to having a new man crush!
We were really pleased that he played all three of his albums, alternating between them and drifting between slow paced country style ballads and fast paced indie jams. This guy has an immense amount of talent and to learn that not only did he sing and play guitar on his new album but he also played most other instruments and produced for most other songs is incredible.
The entire evening was a superb mix of toe tapping, finger clicking awesome tunes with some fancy solos and a voice which could soothe anyone into euphoria.
Personal favorites were “Gimme the Love” which is an upbeat indie style song which really gets you in the party mood and the light show that accompanied made me feel ready for a night out. On my One was probably my favorite slower song and really showcased his vocal talents without hiding and distorting it behind the rest of the band.
Ending with “Lightening Bolt” was a great move and the entire crowd went off, standing and seating stood up and we all did the most ridiculous dad dancing you’ve ever seen. I had an absolute blast and can state 100% that this gig completely changed my outlook on Jake Bugg and this genre of music as a whole. 10/10
Solo Acoustic Set
On My One
The Love We’re Hoping For
Simple as This
Full Band Set
Seen It All
Love, Hope and Misery
Me and You
Messed up Kids
Never Wanna Dance
Put Out that Fire
Theres a Beast and We All Feed It
Gimme the Love