LIVE: Jake Bugg @ Keele University. Staffordshire. 08/03/24

Review and Images by Jonathan Taylor

Instagram: jonathantaylorphotography

At the back end of last year, Nottingham born singer/songwriter Jake Bugg announced he was heading out on the road to embark on a 15 date UK tour with a difference. Not only would he be performing songs from his five studio albums, but performing two sets each evening. To begin would be a striped back acoustic set, followed shortly afterwards by a full band set, giving fans the opportunity of an extensive evening of music from Jake’s back catalogue.

Tonight’s stop is Keele University Student Union in Staffordshire. Given the fact it is a Friday night in a Students Union, the predominantly youthful crowd are inevitably in fine spirits and a good few drinks into their evening.

The night begins with Jake Buggs acoustic set. He opens with the deep blues inspired ‘Strange Creatures,’ which from the offset, show cases his ability to work a fret board. The acoustic set is heavily laden with fan favourites from Jake’s debut album, with the like of ‘Country Song’, ‘Side’ and stunning renditions of ‘Someone Told Me’ and ‘Simple As This’.

After a short break in proceedings Jake Bugg returns to the stage for his second set of the evening. The set opens with ‘Trouble Town’ which is followed by ‘Messed Up Kids’ which has the crowd bouncing and singing every word back to the stage.

The set continues with ‘Kingpin’ and ‘Slumville Sunrise’ from the album ‘Shangri La’ and the gritty story telling of the ‘Ballard Of Mr Jones.’ It is an evening filled with all the big hitters, with the likes of ‘Seen It Alll’ ‘Two Fingers’ and another opportunity for Jake Bugg to strip things back with the likes of ‘Pine Tress’ and ‘Broken’, which is without question one of the evening highlights and perfectly demonstrates Jake Bugg’s vocal ability and the unique folk like quality he has to his voice.

The opening guitar riff of ‘Lightning Bolt’ gets a huge response from the crowd and sees half-filled plastic pint glasses launched and pockets of the crowd bouncing in all directions. The evening is brought to a close with fan favourite ‘All I Need’ after which Bugg thanks the crowd one final time and leaves the stage to a well-deserved display of affection and applause.

Jake Bugg’s performance tonight was delivered with authority and conviction. The unique tone to his voice, delivered heart felt storey telling backed by music that is clearly influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, Art Garfunkel and Johnny Cash which are perhaps unlikely influences for someone of his generation. Bringing something quite unique to the current musical climate, tonight Jake demonstrated that regardless of if he performs acoustically or with a full band, his established back catalogue of indie folk-based ballads continues to please his fan base and is a formula of sound that is now familiar and very much his own.

Full Set List:

Acoustic Set.

Strange Creatures

Me & You

Country Song


I Wrote The Book

Love Me The Way You Do

Someone Told Me

Simple As This

Hold Tight


Full Band.

Trouble Town

Messed Up Kids


Slumville Sunrise


Ballad Of Mr Jones

Waiting For The Word

Seen It All

Pine Trees

Instant Satisfaction

Taste It



All Kinds Of People

Two Fingers

Lightning Bolt

What Doesn’t Kill You

Simple Pleasures