Last week, fellow Mind The Music contributor David Crilly-Jones and I jumped on a plane to Sydney to see the magnificent Jake Bugg play his first ever Australian show. Music journos and industry professionals have labeled him as one to keep an eye on with his Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash vibes, and they certainly aren’t wrong about that. There’s a certain something about this 19 year old Nottingham, UK local that has all the boys wanting to be his best mate and all the ladies want to get with him.
The night began with pre gig noodles in China Town topped off with a couple of drinks (one of my favorite traditions), before heading to The Metro Theatre nice and early to get in line for a night filled of high expectations. Somehow we managed to get ourselves into the front row. This has its pros and cons, but for an individual of my short stature was an absolute necessity to enjoy the night and get my monies worth.
The Metro is drenched in history and has an old kind of mouldy vibe going for it, which manages to add a layer of authenticity to the place. It’s like it’s saying to you, “yeah I’ve had thousands of litres of alcohol soaked into me, numerous power voms and other bodily fluids spilled onto me and guess what, that’s rock n roll for ya.” This may make the venue sound dirty as hell, who am I kidding – it does make the venue sound disgusting, but its not really as bad as that statement sounds. The venue only truly shows its dirtiness at the end of the night, once the shows over. A mass audience of 20 somethings, alcohol and live music means people naturally turn into disgusting pigs who have never heard of something called a bin before. However, right from the beginning of the night, my boots kept sticking pretty hard out to the floor, one could assume they hadn’t mopped up the previous nights mess too well.
The opening act rocked the stage at around 9pm. Seeming as David and myself had under prepared for the trip we totally blanked on checking out who the opening act was. What would sometimes be seen as a rookie error, turned out to be a decent discovery. Thursday night was the night we discovered Drunk Mums, and I have absolutely no regrets about this. The Melbourne four-piece are absolutely insane. They look like they’re stuck in the 70s yet look like fucking rock stars at the same time. If a band can have a bassist who rocks a blonde mullet and a male guitarist who shares the same hairstyle as me in 2013 and still manage to look ace, you know they’re a bunch of bloody legends. Self-described rock n roll yobos, these boys are super energetic and know how to put on a decent show. Highlights of their set would have to be ‘Big Titty Trippin’, ‘Eventual Ghosts’ & ‘Sewing Up My Mouth’. I highly recommend checking out these lads, they’ve certainly got a lot going for them.
Around 30 minutes after Drunk Mums finished their set, it was that time that everyone had been waiting oh so eagerly for. Jake Bugg walked out on stage with his guitar, his bassist and his drummer to an enormous roar from the crowd. Girls squealing, boys cheering, everyone had finally got what they had come for. Jake began his set with ‘Fire’. It was surprising just how much this kid could command a stage with one of the most relaxed tracks from his debut album.
Throughout his set there were a few things quite noticeable about his stage presence that were kind of endearing but bad ass at the same time. He’s not really one for banter, yet after every song he’d ever so politely say thank you in his northern accent managing to have all the ladies swooning. The most annoying proof of this was by one of the girls standing next to me who before every song would shout out “Go Jake!” like she was his teeny bopper girlfriend cheering him on in a running race (she was that desperate to get his attention that she even tried flirting with his bassist). So being polite really isn’t bad ass, but the smug look he gave when showing off whilst doing his guitar solos is definitely along the lines of BAMF.
When Jake performs naturally he looks down at his guitar often, he shares a bit of eye contact with the audience but there are a lot of occaisions where he’s just looking down. During his solos however, this wasn’t the case at all. He kind of struts around with a smug look on his face, with this whole attitude behind him of look at me, I’m good and you should worship me…. & it’s true, he is fucking good, and everyone in the audience totally just lapped it up, including myself.
Jake performed all the usual favourites from his self titled album, played a couple of new songs (which if are any true indication of what’s to come from the next album, Rick Rubin is the absolute man) and performed an amazing cover of Neil Finn’s ‘Hey, Hey, My, My’. Though I enjoyed Jake’s entire set, the biggest highlight for me would have to have been the whole audience singing along to ‘Broken’, it was one of those truly magical moments that I won’t forget. If you ever have the chance to see Jake Bugg live, please do so, this kid is talented!
Listen to Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
Listen to Drunk Mums – Drunk Mums