Concert Review: While Technically Good, Jake Bugg’s Performance Falls Flat

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British singer-songwriter, Jake Bugg, played a sold-out show at DC’s 9:30 Club on Sept 14 at 7 p.m.

Conflicted about my experience at Jake Bugg’s concert, I took to social media and posted a brief – and somewhat biting – review of the show. Almost instantly, someone responded by calling me ungrateful and defended Bugg’s performance as simple, stating that the importance was in his music rather than his stage antics.

I get that. I do. But I’ve also been to shows with artists playing an acoustic set and they’ve been more engaging than Bugg. Angus Stone, Thao Nguyen, and Lianne La Havas are all artists in that same singer-songwriter/instrumentalist section that have performed great with just them and their instrument on stage. They weren’t changing outfits or dancing and there weren’t any elaborate sets but they were connecting to the audience and to their music in a way that was honest and lovely to watch.

Maybe it was just his expressionless face that put me off or the hoards of screaming fans that made it hard to listen to him but after a fun and energetic performance from the opening act, Honey Honey, his presence on stage was almost a buzz-kill.

It was great to hear him live; he can sing and he can play the guitar really well, even adding a few riffs here and there where occasionally a smile would slip past his lips and it looked like he was actually enjoying himself. Perhaps I’m not giving him enough credit because after all, he did just release his debut album last year and was thrust into the limelight once it reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart. I don’t doubt his musicianship at all but I’m only suggesting that maybe he can work on his live performances a bit more.

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The opening band, Honey Honey, playing some sweet, country music.

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