LIVE: Jake Bugg – O2 Academy, Leeds 26.10.16

Since the release of his eponymous debut back in 2012, Jake Bugg is a name that you will have struggled to miss. Now on the rounds of venues around the world to showcase his third record, On My One, he’s once again ready to brag about what he can do.

There’s no huge, showy entrance as he lays down first four tracks acoustically on his one. He may be a “poor boy from Nottingham” but with arena shows and festival slots now under his belt, he has no issues in putting on a show. “Three years on the road, 400 shows,” he reminisces as his voice instinctively drops in ‘On My One’, making his fears of losing everything he’s achieved appear even realer. These fears soon vanish in ‘Two Fingers’ as the crowd raise their two fingers in solitude with the singer, making his whole journey seem worth it.

With much of his back catalogue being in familiar territory, most of the new material goes down as well as his hits, but the intertwining of old and new does work in his favour. The half-hearted attempt at rap in ‘Gimme The Love’ seems detached from any feeling, but is soon forgotten by the likes of ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘Taste It’ finally getting the crowd moving and uniting over a good, old singalong.

He’s not one for much chat with the crowd, with only a couple of thanks and cheers coming from his mouth between songs, but most don’t even require an introduction. ‘Messed Up Kids’ and ‘Kingpin’ go down as well as his less playful tracks such as ‘Simple As This’ and ‘Simple Pleasures’. If there’s not a chance for a dance, there’s always a chance for a serenade.

“We’d stay on longer, but we’re running out of songs,” he jokes with little laughter returned. He’s soon forgiven though as the spotlight focuses on him centre stage, leaving him fully exposed to the crowd’s wrath. But fear not, phone torches soon get pulled out and arms begin swaying, as if he’s got a room of shoulders to cry on. This doesn’t last for too long as the chants of “Yorkshire” and “you what! you what! Leeds!” return and prepare everyone for the finale.

With no encore, things seem a bit unfinished but ‘Lightning Bolt’ leaves everyone satisfied nonetheless. It’s what got Jake Bugg where he is today and he still acts as grateful. He may have big shoes to fill having been labelled as the East Midlands’ answer to Bob Dylan, but if tonight has anything to go by, he hasn’t got much left to prove. He needs to stop worrying about where’s come from and just worry about where he’s going.

Becky Rogers