Jake Bugg, Royal Albert Hall, gig review

RAH, London

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The Independent Culture

Only 19 and Jake Bugg's playing to a packed Albert Hall.

Even this famously taciturn singer appreciates it's a big deal (“ It's a very special evening,” he admits) and duly delivers a generous (nearly two hours), blistering set, divided into two parts. Part one is solo, with Bugg's pained, nasally snarl exquisite on “Country Song” and “Saffron”. Part two, with a full band, includes a compelling guest appearance from Michael Kiwanuka performing “Worry Walks Beside Me”.

His precocious debut album, Jake Bugg, was an exhilarating mix of Eddie Cochran and the Hollies. A lot of people got very excited as here was a nimble, deft British lyricist (“Everyone I see just wants the walk with gritted teeth,” he spat on “Lightning Bolt”) with a blues and country persuasion. The Nottingham-born singer had the wit and sensibilities of fellow Midlanders Shane Meadows and Mike Skinner.

He doesn't disappoint here. However, material from his second, Rick Rubin-produced album, Shangri La, slightly underwhelms in comparison to the rawness and vigour of “Trouble Town”, the harsh “ Seen It All” and Two Fingers“, which is a sensational pop song. It's crisp, clean and sweet-sounding rock'n'roll, which culminates in a rousing ”Lightning Bolt“.

Bugg's still someone to get excited about.

Watch Jake Bugg's new video