Jake Bugg at The Olympia Theatre – Review and Photos

Jake Bugg, Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Review Photos

Jake Bugg, Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Review Photos

On the first night of Jake Bugg’s double appearance at The Olympia Theatre, considering the atmosphere in the venue, his return to Dublin is obviously long awaited for.

First up are Southern, the brother and sister duo from Belfast who open with their mix of rock’n’roll to folk to alternative rock. They put on a very pleasant performance and lead singer and guitarist Thom Southern is a good frontman, it would be fair to say that he carries the band by chatting to the crowd throughout the show, getting them warmed up as any support band should. Lucy Southern’s vocals are beautiful but her stage presence lacks slightly. As she has slight technical difficulties with her guitar, Thom Southern is put on the spot to amuse the crowd, and he does so in a likeable and successful fashion. With very nice vocal harmonies and really impressive guitar skills, the band show real promise and potential.

From the second Jake Bugg swans on stage, the crowd is incredibly loud. Screaming out his lyrics from start to finish. Throughout the show, he shows how talented he is, especially his guitar skills. When he brings out the electric guitar for songs like “Simple Pleasures”, this is especially evident.

For an artist who can sound quite monotonous and all his songs can blend into one another, he breaks up his set by slowing it down and taking a seat for some songs, and doing some songs acoustically – this really stops the show from being one-dimensional and makes it more enjoyable. For an audience that sings along so loudly and for the most are very impressive, they let themselves down when he sings new song ‘Looking Down The Alley’. They talk and ‘woo’ the entire way through and it really takes away from the moment. On the other hand, the new song is a pretty optimistic look onto what Bugg is working on at the moment.

Tonight’s crowd participate to the nth degree, however this is all down to them. Jake Bugg makes no effort to talk to them or even smile at the crowd. It’s true that the crowd are singing anyway so he doesn’t need to encourage them but it would be nice if he said or did something to show he appreciated it, or get those who are not yet involved into it. The odd ‘Thank you’ after songs really doesn’t do that much. He’s an incredibly talented young musician, but he’s not engaging to watch. Some front men merit the whole rock’n’roll persona on stage (Alex Turner, Noel Gallagher…), but Jake Bugg just isn’t at their calibre so shouldn’t take it for granted. Waiting until nearly half way through the set before saying “hello” isn’t rock’n’roll… It’s just kind of rude.

His talent is abundantly clear, and as the crowd scream back the words to “Two Fingers” (probably the loudest of the set) and “Lightning Bolt”, it’s obvious that he has a very dedicated and passionate fan base, but there’s just something missing when he performs live. All in all, Jake Bugg put on an impressive set, but not an overly enjoyable one.

Review by Orla Conway
Photos by David Doyle


Lucy Ivan

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