Review: Jake Bugg at the Rescue Rooms, by Mike Atkinson
We knew this one was going to be special. A month after topping the album charts with his debut album, in its first week of release, 18 year old Clifton lad Jake Bugg returned to Nottingham in triumph, for his big homecoming show.
Jake's success has a special significance for Nottingham. Almost unbelievably, he is the first home-grown act ever to score a Number One album; an achievement which is long overdue, to put it mildly. Nurtured by a supportive, confident and ever-expanding music community within the city, his success has shown other local acts that anything is possible.
Unfazed as ever by his sudden good fortune, Jake took the homecoming hero's welcome in his stride. "It's great to be back", he murmured, his expression betraying nothing more than a steady focus on getting the job done. Stage patter just isn't his style, you see.
The fifty minute set started with Jake on acoustic guitar, strumming his way through Kentucky and Love Me The Way You Do from the Taste It EP. Second single Trouble Town raised the temperature, its opening lines quickly picked up by the crowd for the first of several throaty singalongs. And the boy is developing nicely as a rocker, too. Swapping to an electric guitar for the heavy, brooding Ballad Of Mr Jones, he launched into a blistering, bluesy solo, which suggested a talent that is only just starting to make its presence felt.
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Switching back to the solo acoustic ballads which first made his name locally, Jake hushed the crowd with a piercingly delicate Someone Told Me, followed by the equally lovely Note To Self and Simple As This. Then it was back to the rockers, climaxing with the big crowd pleasers of the night: Two Fingers, Taste It and Lightning Bolt.
Chants of "We are Nottingham!" brought the band back to the stage, threatening to drown out the opening bars of Country Song. Dropping his cool at last, Jake even cracked a broad smile: a rare event, but the occasion demanded nothing less. For it was a real treat to witness this rising star for maybe the last time at such close quarters, bringing it back home and making us all feel proud.