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Jake Bugg - Brighton Dome - Monday 18th February 2013 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 Written by Ryan Crittenden


What a talent, what a voice and on the back of this Brighton show you can include what a performer to the ever-growing list of this young man’s abilities. With his debut album topping the charts last year, the 18-year-old from Clifton has experienced an almost meteoric rise to the top, which has seen him transform into a modern day music icon.

ImageStepping on stage to truly tremendous reception, Bugg confidently bursts into ‘Fire’ and he really doesn’t look back from there on in. His on-stage presence is a real sight, instead of cockiness and arrogance his nonchalant approach is both endearing and reverent. Working his way through his self-titled Number One album and tracks from his early EPs, Bugg is very respectful to the audience, thanking the crowd after almost every song and not reacting to the screeching declarations of love towards him.

Accompanied by a bass player (Tom Robertson) and a drummer (Jack Atherton), the 18-year-old plays his guitar like he is playing in his front room as opposed to the sold out venue he stands before. His delicately powerful vocals really shine through on a heart-wrenching rendition of ‘Slide’, a delicacy that is sharply blown away by new song ‘Slumville Sunrise,’ a real infectious number complete with some bluesy guitar riffs, indicating that he will be more than capable of rising to the occasion when his follow up album arrives.

Surprise highlight of the evening comes in the form of album track ‘Ballad of Mr Jones.’ Given a beefing-up on the live stage the three-piece create a huge sound that resonates throughout the venue. The pulsating bass line is only overshadowed by Bugg’s vocals, for which the number of superlatives to describe are all but exhausted. Rounded off with a lovely guitar solo, the standout song of the night leaves one hell of impression.

Dressed in a long-sleeve blue shirt and a pair of jeans, the mop haired Bugg is a man of few words, and to be honest, as he tells such compelling tales through songs that dip into the country, folk and the blues genres in a magnificent concoction of musical talent, he doesn’t need to engage the crowd in any other way.

With his band mates exiting the stage, Bugg remains centre stage and explains that he is going to play some older hits. ‘Somebody Told Me’ and ‘Country Song’ ooze heart and with his finger-picking country acoustic guitar backdrop it is a nice break as the set reaches an inevitable conclusion.

Spanning across the upper seated tier of the Brighton Dome, there was a real varied age range present, but it was the younger "Radio 1 fans" who attempted to spoil the show with their out-of-place and overly boisterous activity. As Bugg launched into his most well know numbers, ‘Two Fingers’, ‘Taste It’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’, the mindless idiots did their best to spoil the occasion but in truth the quality of the songs shone through.

Leaving the stage to an almost deafening reception, it is a deserved reaction for what has been one of the most impressive sets from a young British male solo artist this audience are ever likely to see. With British female stars stealing the show for the last few years, it is tremendous to have this talent on the verge of greatness, a feat that could be confirmed this evening if he becomes the youngest man ever to win a Brit award.

Triumphantly returning to the stage is a young man who has been compared to all kinds of artists, and yes it may be obvious where his influences lie, highlighted by his closing number, a cover of “one of his favourite songs”; Johnny Cash’s 'Folsom Prison Blues,' but don’t take anything away from Bugg who is a star in his own right.

Jake Bugg continues his current UK Tour in Oxford tomorrow night, Thursday 21st February.

Jake Bugg UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu February 21st 2013 - O2 Academy Oxford, Oxford
Fri February 22nd 2013 - Solus, Cardiff
Sat February 23rd 2013 - Westlands, Yeovil
Mon February 25th 2013 - Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Tue February 26th 2013 - Southampton Guildhall, Southampton
Wed February 27th 2013 - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Thu February 28th 2013 - O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
Sun March 24th 2013 - Portsmouth Guildhall, Portsmouth
Mon March 25th 2013 - O2 Academy Bristol, Bristol
Tue March 26th 2013 - Southend Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Thu March 28th 2013 - O2 Academy Leicester, Leicester
Fri March 29th 2013 - York Barbican Centre, York
Sat March 30th 2013 - Sands Centre, Carlisle
Sat October 19th 2013 - BIC, Bournemouth
Sun October 20th 2013 - Pavilions, Plymouth
Tue October 22nd 2013 - The Brighton Centre, Brighton
Wed October 23rd 2013 - O2 Academy Brixton, London
Sun October 27th 2013 - Oasis Leisure Centre Swindon, Swindon
Mon October 28th 2013 - O2 Academy Birmingham, Birmingham
Thu October 31st 2013 - O2 Academy Glasgow, Glasgow
Sat November 2nd 2013 - Dome, Doncaster
Wed November 6th 2013 - O2 Apollo, Manchester

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