For a 19-year-old, Jake Bugg sure has lived a lot. The Nottingham native has already been compared to Bob Dylan, engaged in a feud with One Direction, and performed at Glastonbury – twice. Last night, he played an intimate show at Webster Hall, adding “making New Yorkers fall in love with me” to his resume.
Throughout his hour-long show, Bugg looked shy onstage and yet extremely at ease, playing seven different guitars and making it look like it required no effort whatsoever. He barely made any gestures, never broke a sweat or messed up his Beatlesque hairdo, but still gave a highly energetic show that proved how ridiculously talented he is. Joined only by a bass player and a drummer, Bugg went through most of the tracks of his self-titled debut album, and previewed a couple of songs from his new record, set to be released in November.
Fast-paced tunes like “Lightning Bolt” and “I’ve Seen It All” proved to be crowd favorites, but Bugg also excels at softer songs like “Broken” and “Simple as This,” in which he appears to be wise beyond his years. And though he barely interacted with the audience and smiled just once, even inspiring a semi-drunk guy to call out “smile, Jake!” a few times, Bugg managed to have everyone singing along, clapping and whooping – and this writer wanting to hug him repeatedly.
When it comes to super-talented young artists, sometimes it’s better not to build up very high expectations around them, but with this British wonder boy, it feels pretty safe to say he’s going to be around for a while.
Text and photos by Cristina Alonso.