Jake Bugg @ O2 Apollo
Nottingham songsmith kicks off his UK tour with two nights in Manchester
Words: Jay Kirk | Photos: Cai Dixon
Jake Bugg kicked off his album tour with a solid two nights headlining the 02 Apollo in Manchester. The first night set the bar for the tour with a disruptive set due to fans persisting to add to Jake's performance with a pyrotechnic show of their own, leading to security being tighter than ever at the second show at Apollo.
After a reasonably dull support set from indie band GEORGIE, fans were left in anticipation as preparations were made for Jake Bugg to take to the stage. Even for a regular to the O2 Apollo in Manchester the venue seemed completely packed, especially for a second headlining night. After a hefty wait Jake finally strolled onto stage, acoustic in hand, into a single spotlight accommodating a mic stand. The title song for Jake's new album, On My One, began with the words, 'I'm Just a poor boy, from Nottingham' backed up with the unmistakable accent, saw the night off to a promising start with an incredible response from the audience for a song only a few months old.
Taking us back two years, Jake introduces Strange Creatures from 2014 EP Messed Up Kids, for a man of few words, with only an acoustic guitar to back his vocals, he has such control over the crowd, leaving everyone in awe of his talent for such a young age. Crowd favourite, Two Fingers begins as Jake's band of merrymen join him on stage. A sigh of relief could be heard from the security in front of the stage when the final line echoed, as Two Fingers was stopped last night due to at least one flare being set off. However a small part in everyone hoped for something to liven up this set a bit.
There's understandable controversy surrounding Jake's attitude on and off stage, some are obliged to call him an arrogant prick, others would say he's shy and unwanting of the fame and attention; with a fine line between them who can really make the call? Justin Bieber too, in this very city, has sparked a similar debate.
Bugg's set continued with pieces for the older fans and new alike. Clear favourites off the new album, Love Hope and Misery and Bitter Salt saw the crowd respond to the more upbeat rhythm of Jake's new album and a pit that would be mocked at a Whitechapelgig was opened up for the younger fans feeling a bit cheeky. Showing off his talents, Bugg opened up his other side as he pulled off some impressive finger plucking and guitar solos to take on Kirk Hammet.
All in all, it was as good of a gig as it could have been. For a 23 year old guy with a guitar he shows incredible vocals during penultimate song Broken and for such a huge venue he kept his composure throughout with a poker face like few other artists can.
The night, which ended on the high of huge hit Lightning Bolt, left no disappointment, but a slight yearning for more, like it almost wasn't enough. Whether this gap needed to be filled with more audience interaction, a better crowd, or a better performance; it was a good night out with equally good music. Or perhaps sometimes, less really is more.