Monday, March 21, 2016

Jake Bugg at the Bowery Ballroom

Jake Bugg was born in Clifton, a suburb of Nottingham, England, to musical parents who separated when he was young. His father was a nurse and his mother worked in sales, although both previously had recorded music. An uncle introduced the guitar to a 12-year-old Bugg, and a few years later the teen was enrolled in a music technology course, but by the age of 16 he dropped out and was writing and performing his own songs. Now 22, his third album, On My One, is scheduled for release on June 17, 2016.

There seemed to be two Jake Buggs at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. One Jake Bugg was a young musician who mined old time rock and roll for inspiration on songs like his first single, "Lightning Bolt." The other Jake Bugg was playing more contemporary pop music that seemed devoid of roots. The first Jake Bugg was exceptional; the other Bugg was pleasant but uneventful. Bugg's snarling vocals and fluid guitar leads held it all together. Backed by four musicians, Bugg started his 75-minute set with the forthcoming album’s title track. In all, he performed 20 songs: eight songs from his forthcoming album and six songs from each of his first two albums. Bugg's blistering rock and roll on "Gimme the Love" and retro folk leanings on "Me and You" and his solo acoustic version of "Country Love" were infused with honest integrity and authenticity; mopey songs like "Never Wanna Dance" and "Love, Hope and Misery" were pop fare for the more commercially minded youth in the audience. Bugg is a promising artist, depending on which direction he takes.

Visit Jake Bugg at