Even long-time fans of singer Jake Bugg had to be surprised and delighted to hear audience members at the Crystal Ballroom chant his name as the rocker from Nottingham walked onstage Wednesday night to launch into his setlist, but that’s how it happened.
He opened with “There’s a Beast, and We All Feed it,” the first track from new release, “Shangri La.” a cynical song filled with observations about life, and the bad choices people make on a daily basis. Bugg tours with only a drummer and bass player, a perfect combination for his style and musical genre. The stage held several guitars, including the same small acoustic with incredible sound and warmth he toured with last year.
For the next 90 minutes, the young, talented musician delivered a well-paced, perfectly performed setlist before a diverse crowd of fans – not quite as large as his last Portland show, but no less passionate and enthusiastic.
Show highlights included “Pine Trees,” “Simple As This,” and my own personal favorite, his Hank Willilams-ish “Storm Passes Away.”
Another highlight? From his second album, ” A Song About Love,” – it’s equivalent being the transcendent “Broken,” which he also sang Wednesday. It’s a pity music listeners aren’t hearing “A Song About Love” yet on the radio – but they will, soon.
A Song About Love
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While he won’t be touring here in the near future, music enthusiasts can find Jake Bugg’s albums on iTunes or streaming from Portland Radio Project’s website.