Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

It’s not often that you go to a sold out gig to see two bands, without an amp or a drum kit in sight, unless of course you’re attending a Folk Festival. This however was exactly what we were confronted with when seeing Jake Bugg doing his acoustic thing at De Montfort Hall on Monday night. Throw into the equation multiple members from the Bugg clan (one of whom performed as support) his lovely Nan and some glorious singalongs and it made for the perfect evening.

Jake Bugg

Support came from the lesser known but almost as impressive Bugg, Scott Bugg & The Vital Few. Jake’s cousin. Dressed all in black and accompanied by his two buddies sporting similar attire, the trio are reminiscent of a 50’s skiffle band – both musically and in formation, with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and some kick ass harmonies for company. Armed with the trademark ‘Bugg’ swagger and not dissimilar vocal, the standout tune was their new single ‘Heart of Stone’ featuring a ridiculously catchy chorus. Be sure to look out for Scott. One for the future for sure.

Scott Bugg & The Vital Few

Being an all seated affair I was fortunate enough to be sat amongst a whole raft of the Bugg family, including his immensely proud (and lovely) Nan. It seems that musicianship runs deep in Nottingham’s very own version of the ‘Von Trapps’ and family parties tend to deliver a musical feast by all accounts.

JB made his way on to the stage at 9pm prompt, armed with nothing more than a couple of acoustic guitars and a chair you’d pull from somebodies kitchen. Sporting the family moniker block clobber he immediately seemed a lot more at ease than when we’ve covered him previously for Gig Junkies.

Jake Bugg

Kicking off proceedings with title track from his current album ‘Hearts that Strain’, it was an instant marker of his intentions for the evening; Stripped back tunes, combining excellent guitarmanship and haunting vocals.

He then went through songs old and new, fast and slow, original and cover, all with the same mesmerising effect. Spell binding.

Jake Bugg

Being an acoustic gig everything was much more stripped back than when he performs with his full band and it was here where you could appreciate his impressive guitar playing ability and the purity of his vocal, especially on tear jerkers like ‘Broken’ and ‘Songs about Love’. Then with a funny quip, a little giggle and some banter with the crowd he was moving seamlessly to the opposite end of his musical spectrum to deliver raucous belters like ‘Trouble Town’ (an evident fans favourite) and the less well known, but equally as splendid ‘Strange Creatures’.

“People often portray me as a grumpy twat” commented Clifton’s favourite son, “but being on stage performing for you people makes me really happy” stated the genuinely likeable Nottingham lad.

Jake Bugg

Having recently launched his 4th studio album, it’s still hard to believe Jake Bugg is still only 23 and surely this accounts for his shyness of yesteryear. His musical and vocal ability really does belie his tender years and this was demonstrated nowhere more so than with his sumptuous cover of Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman.

Jake Bugg

Playing for well over an hour and finishing off proceedings with the ‘oh so raucous’ Lightning Bolt, the sultry Nottinghamshire man left the stage to rapturous applause from hordes of appreciative Leicestershire folk and a hearty cheer from his Nan!

Jake Bugg is touring his acoustic set through the UK, Europe and the States. Do yourself a favour. Book tickets now!

Jake Bugg

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