Review: Jake Bugg live in Sydney
It hit 8pm and the State Theatre could be admired in all its architrave and glory from the amount of seats that were still yet to be filled. Emerging one by one from the shadows of a giant technicolour Jake Bugg banner, Blossoms… blossomed. Looking younger than me (which I’m not 100% sure whether they are) and all the way from the other side of the world, standing on this massive stage with so much of the crowd yet to come; a slight moment of empathy comes over me. Having not heard of them before and assumptions already made, by the end of the first song Blossoms had assured me there was no need to empathise.
The 5-piece from Stockport, England, had a very Kooks feel about them, only a little bit more electronic. Two songs in and they were exuberating with confidence. Charlemagne was probably the one that stood out the most, just because it felt that everyone exercised the perfect amount of input, it’s just a real balanced, catchy rock song. The whole set was really enjoyable, other notable mentions were, At Most A Kiss and the acoustic sonnet, My Favourite Room.
When it was Jake Bugg’s turn to walk, the crowd lost it. Opening with On My One, it was like a snap atmosphere change. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand. To watch someone, who appears on the surface to be one of the humblest and insightful people I’ve come across actually perform, is a peculiar thing in itself. This global rock star with stadium status, has such an open mic night aura about him.
Much of Bugg’s latest album tells of the woes of being a travelling musician at such a young age. The night starts off as a bit of an oxymoron, there’s thousands of people here to watch a musician singing a song about how he doesn’t like singing songs. Two Fingers and Seen It All followed and four songs in, I could have gone home a happy man. Not many musicians are able to bring to the table what they promise in the studio. Taken from his latest album the song, The Love We’re Hoping For, alongside the shapes and shadows of the State Theatre, felt like some sort of dark hymn from a subterranean cult meeting; it was awesome.
From membrane melting solos, to the gentle caress of the melodies from Broken, he really did shine on the night as a vocalist and a guitarist. For the stature of the show, it was one of the most minimalist I’ve ever seen. There must have been an x on the stage, because if you blinked you would have missed him move. Besides a bit of dialogue every few songs the only time you could see past his wise, hardened, Yoda-like exterior was when he was given proposition from an excited female fan in the front row, only to reply with “I haven’t finished playing yet.” Lightning Bolt saw the night out and you could just feel the whole theatre radiating. The show honestly exceeded expectations.
Review by Travis Jordan.