Review + Photography by Cain Suleyman

Over the years we have been spoiled by the talent that has come from Nottingham. From the legendary Bruce Dickinson to the legendary drummer, Ian Paice. But if you happened to find yourself at the London Palladium on the 26th of February this year, you would have been treated to a very different style of musical talent to have emerged from the English midlands. The incredibly talented Jake Bugg graced the London theatre tonight to spread his eclectic mix of Americana Indie rock.

Jake Bugg

This was a less expected setting for a Jake Bugg gig with the Palladium being an old traditional theatre at the heart of London’s Oxford street. An all seated affair in a one night show was a first for Bugg and a sold out crowd waited patiently for the musician to sing songs from all three of his critically acclaimed albums. This was a more formal setting and had a more relaxing vibe than most gigs.

As quick as you could say Jake Bugg, the man himself walked onto the stage with a calm and cool manner as he began the show with the heart touching ‘Hearts that Strain’ from the album of the same name. The second he began the song a silence fell and the room was filled with the purest voice that instantly warmed the auditorium from the cold and snowy conditions outside.

Jake Bugg

It was the perfect variation of soothing melodies and upbeat singalong campfire songs. And I only came to the realisation of how young he is until halfway through the set when he say’s he is “going to be 24 in two days time”. The presence he has on the stage and his ability to captivate the audience is that of a well seasoned musician.

As the host takes a swig of his drink between songs, it is apparent that his calm nature is all a facade as his hand shakes when he picks up the cup. This comes as a surprise as this went unsuspected throughout the whole of the first half of his set. With constant audience heckling with requests for songs, this felt more like the end of a house party where someone has picked up a guitar and is taking song suggestions for everyone to sing in unison. This was then the perfect time for the song ‘Me and You’ with this being the first song of the evening that you could hear voices across the theatre. This is more unusual for the crowd to sing along during a solo acoustic gig but Jake Bugg created a more informal atmosphere without any orchestration.

Jake Bugg

With 4 albums over the space of 5 years, he has established himself among the masses and cemented his place in the world of music. He was part of a wave of young musicians who are wise beyond their years in their abilities to connect with a large audience through the avenue of music. Jake Bugg’s first album was met with extremely high praise and as he enters the final stretch of tonight’s show he plays ‘Broken’, one of the most emotional and well received tracks from this album. The stunningly untainted vocals cause you to forget everything around you, with your mind fully transfixed on the stage and the microphone that carries the song through the auditorium. It is very rare that you will find yourself in a gig where the entire audience is silent for a whole song. We usually have people singing, or annoyingly talking, even through the quieter songs. This was a complete contrast to the atmosphere of the room when Broken was played. The quiet and stripped back acoustic nature of the gig further emphasising the vulnerability in the vocals and the power in his voice could have filled the space without the microphone.

Jake Bugg

For the final installment of this memorable night of music, Jake Bugg finally grants the wishes of a packed out Palladium by playing the well known ‘Lightning Bolt’ as the audience simultaneously take to their feet for one last singalong. For those who have seen the singer before, this was definitely a night to remember in a different light to his previous shows. For those who saw Jake Bugg for the first time tonight, this was a perfect introduction to a musical prodigy like no other. I’m sure this gig will cause people to be listening to his music on repeat for the next few weeks.

Setlist:

How Soon the Dawn
Saffron
Strange Creatures
Slide
Indigo Blue
Bigger Lover
Trouble Town
Taste it
Simple as This
Country Song
Me and You
Theres a Beast and We All Feed It
Slumville Sunrise
The Love We’re Hoping For
Old Man (Neil Young cover)
Broken
Someone Told Me
Seen it All
Two Fingers
Waiting
Lighting Bolt

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