Last night I went out to legendary Chicago music venue, “The Metro,” to check out up and coming superstar Jake Bugg play live. The 19-year old singer-songwriter from Nottingham, UK has burst into the scene in great fashion and has already performed in major music festivals including this year’s Lollapalooza. This guy was worth the buzz he was generating and so I jumped at the chance of seeing him for a second month in a row, now in the more fitting confines of a club stage.
The night started off with Country-Folk band Honey Honey. The trio played a good set filled with some simpler, foot stomping-on-the-bass-drum and banjo-heavy tracks and some more elaborate tunes with a full drum kit, electric guitar and some impressive violin playing from frontwoman Suzanne Santo. I had never heard of them before seeing them live yesterday but I can honestly say they played excellently and set the stage well for the headlining act.
Once Bugg hit the stage, “The Metro” cheered him on like the star he’s become. He opened the set alone on stage with the ballad, “Fire,” a song low on energy but not on sweetness and substance. The entire show’s setlist was heavy on tracks appearing on the critically acclaimed (and “Ultimate Warrior -rated on our site) self-titled debut album. Live renditions of “Seen It All,” “Someone Told Me” and “Trouble Town” sounded just like they did on the album, with the live factor giving them that extra touch of “cool.”
Without a doubt his two biggest tracks are “Two Fingers” and set closer “Lightning Bolt,” so, for good reason, these were the ones that received some of the greatest attention when they were being performed. However, the real highlight of the night came when Bugg performed his song “Broken.” With nothing more than his acoustic guitar and vocals, Bugg had the audience’s full attention as we stood/sat there in silence until the Metro erupted as we sang the chorus along with him.
The Metro received Bugg like a hometown hero, cheering him after the rocking songs and giving him our undivided attention during the emotive acoustic tracks. His debut album helped him break into this level of mainstream success but his performance last night (Sept. 21) proved he deserves more and that he’s surely, if he continues to grow at this rate, an artist we’ll be hearing from for years to come. Without a doubt, this one makes the list of best live shows I’ve seen all year.