How does a twenty-year-old newcomer deal with being second on the bill at one of the biggest music festivals in the world? Allow Jake Bugg to demonstrate.
With a modest, understated entrance Bugg shuffles timidly onto the stage, looking hardly ready to play to the thousands of faces spilling out into all sections of the festival site. Precisely four seconds into opening track ‘There Is A Beast And We All Feed It’, all doubts fade into irrelevance.
Bugg’s seemingly nervous disposition is simply pure determination, as he awes the entire audience time and time again with consistently flawless performance. He tears through ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘I’ve Seen It All’ before slowing into ‘Me And You’, during which it is a wonder to see so many burly men singing along to an old school love song with such teary-eyed passion.
Everything Bugg sings seems ten times more immediate and intense than ever before. ‘Ballad Of Mr Jones’ is darker, more urgent and more direct; it’s simply impossible not to feel something as the chorus builds during ‘Simple Pleasures’- tonight every song has a different meaning. It’s so easy to forget what a superb musician Bugg really is while listening to an album- extended guitar solos show exactly what a talent Reading is witnessing.
A stripped back version of ‘Broken’ sees Bugg getting a little emotional at the hundreds of swaying lighters and thousands of singing fans and it’s clear just how much this support means to an otherwise reserved Jake Bugg.
Playing off to ‘Lightning Bolt’, Bugg leaves as modestly as he arrived but with an even more uproarious cheer. This felt undoubtedly like a career defining set from one of the country’s youngest and most promising prospects.