Review: Jake Bugg – Ulster Hall, Belfast
Jake Bugg took to the stage at the Ulster Hall in Belfast in an acoustic performance promoting his latest release ‘Hearts That Strain’. The setlist featured a mix of songs from his latest album as well as the well known hits from his early work. The set offered fans the opportunity of an intimate experience with one of Britain’s best young songwriters.
Support for the night was provided by Sam Fender, an upcoming Geordie singer/songwriter who featured on the longlist for ‘BBC Music Sound of 2018’. Following this set it was clear to see why, as the 21 year old massively impressed with his prominent vocals and gripping songwriting. Fender played without his usual band, leading him to claim he felt ‘naked’, however he handled the change remarkably and it would be difficult to tell that he was outside of his comfort zone. His style was received well by the crowd, as his solo-set established the tone of what was to come. Fender combined elements of the greats of indie rock while creating his own identifiable style. The show also marked his first appearance in Ireland as he embarks on a full UK headline tour. It will be massively exciting to follow the progress of Fender, who is clearly set for big things.
The atmosphere was incredible as headliner Jake Bugg came on stage to perform the title track from his latest album ‘Hearts That Stain’. Although initially he had intended to remain seated throughout the gig, following the first song he decided to abandon the chair, clearly gaging the crowd’s eagerness for a more prominent atmosphere. Bugg claimed that he would play his lower energy songs first in order to make for a more upbeat end to the set, however the crowd was raring from the very beginning. Songs such as “Slide” and “Strange Creatures” had the audience echoing Jake’s every word.
The crowd particularly responded to the fan-favourite tracks from Bugg’s self-titled debut album, with songs such as ‘Trouble Town’ and ‘Seen It All’ building the already buoyant atmosphere with other highlights including the beautiful and haunting ‘Broken’ as well as Jake’s most famous singles ‘Lightning Bolt’ and indie anthem ‘Two Fingers’. The setlist left the majority of fans extremely satisfied with the majority of the big-hitter tracks being played, and the relaxed yet upbeat atmosphere created a thoroughly enjoyable show.