Jake Bugg, the singer songwriter from Nottingham, has returned and is launching his third studio album “On My One” with four intimate gigs in London.
The first of these was last night at the Village Undergound in Shoreditch. The other three will be tonight at The Dome in Tufnell Park, and then on to the Electric in Brixton and Bush Hall in Sheperd’s Bush. The chance to see a performer of this quality in one of these great venues is too hard to miss.
Jake has said that he considers this album to be “make or break” as it comes three years after his last release. He has never been one to stand on his laurels and is almost impossible to pin down after his eponymous debut album was followed by ‘Shangri La’ produced by the legendary Rick Rubin. Jakes first two albums came in quick succession in 2012 and 2013 and there is a lot of excitement around the new album as it differs from the first two by being completely self written. Jake has used the time spent with co-writers on the first two albums as an educational process and on the evidence of last night’s performance has stepped up to the plate in style with new material which seems to have evolved from and yet perfectly complements his back catalogue.
Jake sang twenty one songs in 75 minutes of almost back-to-back tracks. Never one to stand and chat between songs like Adele, Jake still managed to charm the capacity crowd who sang along to the older songs and cheered enthusiastically for the new ones. Opening with new title track ‘On My One’, Bugg went on the sing six songs from his debut album, seven from his second and eight from the new one. The set list was perfectly planned to show case the new tracks by framing them with more familiar tracks so that the new, which is considerably different in places, never seemed out of place and the enthusiasm stayed high. He even had time to neatly insert a two song acoustic duo half way through of old favourites, ‘Country Song’, and, ‘Song About Love’, adding that he preferred the latter played acoustically rather than in its original style.
There are risks in change; music lovers are quick to bemoan a lack of originality if artists churn out album after album of similar stuff, even if it ends up being the best selling album of the year but in the next breath will moan if an artist is brave enough to change style album to album if the new stuff doesn’t appeal like the old music. On the evidence of the eight tracks Jake played last night there is enough to please fans of the first two albums, especially judging from the way they were received. But, and for Jake I’m sure it is a source of some anxiety, there is enough of a change to attract new fans and, most importantly, sell records. The final barn storming version of new song, ‘Gimme The Love’, and the reaction of the sell out crowd last night was enough to tell me this is not break, but a resounding make!