Gig review: Jake Bugg, Glasgow

Jake Bugg lacks both stage presence and any animation. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Jake Bugg lacks both stage presence and any animation. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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A GLUM-faced traditionalist with zero stage presence, Jake Bugg is proof that a stubborn commitment to narrow-minded notions of authenticity is often the antithesis of exciting, soulful rock ‘n’ roll – ironically the very thing this 20-year-old Midlander thinks he’s creating.

Jake Bugg - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Born in the year that Definitely Maybe was released, Bugg is too young/blind to realise that the rigid Oasis template – 1960s-influenced rock delivered with no frills whatsoever – has a limited shelf life. Even while standing stock still, Liam Gallagher carried off his insouciance with a certain raw charisma. Bugg looks like he’s above the very idea of rocking out and communicating with strangers.

The, if you will, “mad for it” crowd were far more animated than the low wattage power trio who trudged through the motions on stage.

Referencing other artists is impossible to avoid when it comes to Bugg, as he’s entirely the sum of his influences. His tremulous, reedy whine is steeped in Liam and Donovan, while his songs – most of which were co-written by an ex-member of Snow Patrol – are cobbled together from ready-made sources. It’s competent busker pop, passable stadium skiffle.

While part of me rather likes the fact that a contemporary Radio 1-friendly artist sounds like Lonnie Donegan performing Jim Reeves covers in the style of Oasis, I can’t rouse any interest in the music itself. Bugg is more artificial than the manufactured pop he despises. He’s a derivative drag.

Seen on 09.10.14

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