Michael Kiwanuka

Every now and then you go to a gig that you’re not overly excited about and then, a couple of hours later, you walk out of the venue spellbound by what you’ve just seen and heard. It’s as if you’ve witnessed history, something magical that futuristically will be written in annuls of time. Monday night at the Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton, was – in my humble opinion – one such occasion.

Support came in the guise of a young gentleman called Jake Bugg.

Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg

Now, they say that you can’t judge a book by its cover and initial appearances can be deceiving. It seems that such sayings were invented for such times as that when Mr Bugg and his two side-kicks as they made their way to the stage. Barely legal to drink and donning Fred Perry jackets  you could be forgiven for thinking this was a bunch of wannabe Oasis chancers that we’ve seen ‘oh so many’ times before.

HOW WRONG CAN YOU BE???

Michael Kiwanuka

The following 40 minutes was quite frankly mesmerising! Firstly the style was completely unexpected. Think the attitude and musicianship of Johnny Cash combined with Donovan, mixed in with a higher pitched version Bob Dylan. Ladies and gentlemen allow us to introduce you to future star that is Mr Jake Bugg.

Not only did he share the same vocal qualities of folk and country legends that go before him, but he shared their musical passions.

Michael Kiwanuka

He kicked off proceedings with the aptly named ‘Kentucky’ – a blue grass romp and then moved through more country type stomps before dropping it down a peg with the hauntingly beautiful –‘Someone Told Me’. Glorious!  Livelier numbers followed – including current single ‘Lightning Bolt’ and then he was gone – not before announcing “It’s Bugg with a double G”.

Remember it people – a star in the making for sure.

Michael Kiwanuka

“We’re gonna play some songs” announced Michael Kiwanaku as he made his way to the stage in front of what was now a packed venue.

As with his predecessor it became instantly apparent that this man was vocally brilliant and sounded soooooo much better than he does on record. Legendary!

Michael Kiwanuka

He got the fans involved early doors with some happy clapping and was obviously totally at ease on the stage. For me he offered a more lively and soulful version of Jack Johnson with his blend of glorious vocal and upbeat songs. His stunning raspy vocal was effortless.

The first WOW moment was when he played obvious fans favourite – ‘Always Waiting’. We’ve been to 100s if not 1000s of gigs under the guise of Gig Junkies and hand on heart I can say this is the first time I’ve EVER been to a gig where everyone in attendance was transfixed. Everyone! Michael’s voice is pure, so beautiful that he literally cast a spell over the audience. Rapturous applause ensued.

Michael Kiwanuka

Both visually and vocally there’s a touch of the great Marvin Gaye about the nicely spoken Michael Kiwanuka.

As he switched from acoustic to electric guitar, introduced his band and then announced that this next song was a cover version of a man he’d seen on the TV when he was 12 (as it happens Jimi Hendrix and his song ‘May this be Love’) he decreed his attitude on worrying “it’s all you do if you’ve got nothing to do” and then proceeded to ask how everyone was doing. A genuinely nice fella!

Another fans favourite ‘Bones’ was quickly followed by a stripped back version of ‘Worry Walks Beside Me’ which featured the singer, his acoustic guitar and a mesmerised audience. Simply delightful!

Michael Kiwanuka

Rapturous bedlam followed, closely followed by his collaboration with The Black Keys ‘Lasan’ and then that was it. He was gone.

Eyes rubbed, memories put in the bank and then it was quickly on the way in to the cold night, thanking our lucky stars that we’d been in attendance.

Gig review by Zak Edwards
Gig Photos by Bianca Barrett

4 Responses to “Michael Kiwanuka + Jake Bugg @ Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, UK – 14th May 2012”

  1. Gobinder Says:

    AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!

  2. Sylviecheese Says:

    Wish I’d a been there :-( Great photos and report btw

  3. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Jake Bugg Announces Huge 2013 UK Tour + Debut Album ‘Jake Bugg’ is Released on 15th October Says:

    […] Allen, Elton John, Chris Martin, Damon Albarn and Snow Patrol amongst his fans and has supported Michael Kiwanuka, Example and Lana Del […]

  4. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Jake Bugg + Hudson Taylor at The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK – 7th October 2014 Says:

    […] son, Mr Jake Bugg, who we’ve basically been touting forever (see – we reviewed him here yonks ago) was back, just down the road from his homeland on the West side of the Midlands at the […]

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