Nasal singing and rapid guitar playing were the order of the night at the Old Fruitmarket as Jake Bugg came to town.
First, it should be mentioned how gorgeous the Old Fruitmarket is, and as the quality of Glasgow venues seem to fluctuate, the Old Fruitmarket could end up finding itself as one of the most desirable midsized venues amongst punters and artists, if it isn’t already. Anyways, this isn’t an architectural review so back to the main attraction on this particular night.
It’s hard to believe that it was over five years ago that Jake Bugg first came to prominence but here he is, still only 23 years of age and still as dynamic as when he first emerged, fresh-faced and immaculately dressed like a mod that drove through a Fred Perry stockroom on his Lambretta scooter.
Something else that hasn’t changed is the furious pace at which Bugg performs some of his songs. What starts as a small, acoustic guitar seems to turn into a hit-making machine gun, rapidly firing out some of Bugg’s best known tunes.
The night started calmly enough, with the first half of the setlist showing off some of Jake’s newer, more mellow, more country-sounding material. How Soon is the Dawn and Hearts That Strain opened up the show on a bizarrely balmy night in the venue. Sure enough, the older, more rapid material started sparking some energy into the gig as the night went on.
60s style pop-rock song Lightning Bolt was what really took Jake Bugg to new levels in his career, and what is arguably his best-known song didn’t fail to instil energy to the Glasgow crowd on the night.
The highlight of the night however, was the performance of I’ve Seen It All, a fairly heart-breaking song recounting the types of trials and situations one encounters in their teenage years, from pill popping to knife-wielding party goers. The video for the song features a couple of Glasgow landmarks including Barrowlands, just down the road from where Bugg finds himself tonight.
Although airplay has dropped since his initial, furious flurry into the music world, Jake Bugg’s fans are a loyal bunch and the singer-songwriters mix of material, old and new is more than enough for the whole venue to get behind him.
As well as his own tours, Jake has graced festivals all over the world and it seems to have honed his skills as a live performer. The young man himself at the front of the stage is charged with enticing and energising the crowd. Not something every 23-year-old is capable of.
Review by Luke Hawkins