Jake Bugg

Final SXSW Live Shots

Jake Bugg

Maggie Mae's Rooftop, March 13

With a song in his heart but no smile on his face, fast-rising British songwriter Jake Bugg took the stage in front of a tightly packed crowd, members of which started calling out for songs before he began. All business, the baby-faced teen simply announced songs, skipping banter – and, indeed, any sense that he was happy to be there – and just played. Fortunately, Bugg's talent belies any gig fatigue. Even with a sour face, he's too good to deny. Riding a Johnny Cash rhythm train with his adenoidal vocals and fleet-fingered guitar work, Bugg pulled sharp tunes from the air the way apple farmers pick juicy fruit. With a council housing background, class defiance and the determination to rise above one's station come naturally, giving folkabilly anthems "Trouble Town," "Two Fingers," and "Lightning Bolt" crowd-pleasing allure. "Slide," a grand ballad in the Noel Gallagher/Richard Ashcroft tradition, and a pair of loud new rockers with flashy solos, demonstrated a wider screen to his vision. Given both the instrumental facility and songwriting acumen pouring out of a kid who's only 19, the potential for magnificence is almost as exciting as the songs themselves.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South-by-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters/ for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest Tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

READ MORE
More Jake Bugg
SXSW 2013 Records
Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, March 15, 2013

More Music Reviews
SXSW Wednesday Record Reviews
Pegi Young & the Survivors
Raw (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, March 17, 2017

SXSW Wednesday Record Reviews
Vagabon
Infinite Worlds (Record Review)

Libby Webster, March 17, 2017

More by Michael Toland
SXSW Music Live: Mastodon
SXSW Music Live: Mastodon
Brutally efficient as equally heavy

March 18, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase
SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase
ATX viral synth wave stars Survive levitate

March 17, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Jake Bugg

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)