Live Review: Jake Bugg + The Creases + The Growl - Palace Theatre, Melbourne (16.04.14)

Jake Bugg drew an impressive crowd for his first of two weeknight shows on his second visit to Australia. Frequently labelled as the next Bob Dylan, Bugg has quickly harnessed a cult following for his music that fuses folk with modern rock influences, recently earning him a Brit Award nomination for Best Male Solo Artist.

The 20 year old singer songwriter stood centre stage for 99 per cent of the set, only deviating from the microphone to alternate between his numerous guitars. Audience banter was limited to a belated “good evening” and a short thanks for the turn out, without so much as a glance at the crowd.

Bugg’s set peaked early with hits from his 2012 self titled debut album including “Trouble Town”, “Seen It All” and “Two Fingers” which had the rowdy crowd dancing early on.

Bugg is in his prime on acoustic guitar, proving he does not require the dramatics of electric guitar solos or catchy riffs to capture a crowd’s full attention. Although not one of Bugg’s most commercially successful singles, lyrically beautiful track “Broken” was an obvious crowd favourite with the audience echoing back the chorus words.

For the most part of the second half of his set, Bugg moved into his more guitar centric, rock inspired songs taken from his latest album Shangri La including “Slumville Sunrise” “Kingpin” and “What Doesn’t Kill You.”

The clearly predetermined encore featured a cover of Neil Young song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)” before finishing on Bugg's most successful track to date, “Lightening Bolt”.

Bugg is certainly a rare musician who delivers flawlessly on vocals and guitar. Although his absence of crowd interaction could be attributed to shyness, the manner in which Bugg powers through songs translates as having a complete lack of interest. Tonight’s show was proof of Bugg's talent as a musician, but did little to assert him as a must-see performer.