Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Review: Jake Bugg, Belsonic

Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg

Every tousled-haired young songwriter of a folkish mien always gets compared to you-know-who, and indeed master Bugg has been showing signs lately of believing in his own publicity, bleating about "authenticity" and launching broadsides at 1D's Harry Styles.

Such faultlines have been a factor ever since Father Lennon growled at Father Dougal "who d'ye prefer, Blur or Oasis?"

These cub wars prove little other than he's at least picking on someone his own size and that the great big poptastic world can contain them both.

But the fact remains that in the past 12 months Jake Bugg had moved from hiding behind the coat tails of Noel Gallagher at Belsonic to headlining in his own right.

Well-received slots at Glastonbury and elsewhere have upped both his critical standing and mainstream appeal.

That this remains largely male and laddish should not concern him overmuch, as it is the chaps who form the tribal loyalties and, anyway, some of them brought their girlfriends along.

And hey, was that some teen screaming that greeted his arrival on stage with the Guthrie-esque Fire?

Bugg has discovered his electric phase early on, his band have a nice Yardbirdsish kick, which gives Trouble Town and especially Lightning Bolt a little taste of maximum R'n'B.

What works for him is that ability with a catchy tune and a voice that has the sweetness to encompass big ballads like Broken.

Endearingly, he has mentioned that one of his big musical moments was hearing Don McLean singing Vincent on The Simpsons, and there is something cartoonish about his appropriation of the cult folkie mantle.

When he attempts to make a big statement, such as Ballad Of Mr Jones, it doesn't really work.

But he stopped the audience cold with Country Song, a classic in the making, indicative of a bright future of other classics to come.

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