Crowds flooded into the Sound Academy on Tuesday night for Brit-rocker Jake Bugg’s first Toronto show since the release of his latest album, Shangri La. A slew of talent took to the stage for a night of rock melodies.
Opening the evening was the Brooklyn-based rock outfit, The Skins. Ranging in age from 15-21, this was the first act of the night to leave me feeling unaccomplished in my mid-20’s. Despite their youth, the group produced a larger-than-life sound. Vocalist Bayli McKeithan belted out her soulful rock n’ roll chords while owning the stage and whipping around her amazing fro. Seemingly out of nowhere, Bayli channelled her New York area roots, busting out some on-stage skat. The group effortlessly blended metal guitar riffs, crisp drums and powerful vocals leaving me craving more.
With the odds against him, Albert Hammond, Jr. fought through his cold to bring an energetic performance to the stage, following The Skins. His attempts to hit the high notes with his scratchy voice brought some realism to the stage and a certain sense of charm to his set.
The much-anticipated headlining set from Britain’s young new protégé Jake Bugg came with a swirl of excitement from the crowd. Girls on shoulders, loud count downs, and even a few crowd surfers couldn’t wait for Jake to hit the stage. He opened the night with There’s a Beast and We All Feed It, a minute and a half long track off of the new album that got the crowd bouncing. Another old soul taking the stage, 19 year-old Jake Bugg let his gritty twang shine through, backed only by drum and bass. With the other band members tucked away to the side of the stage, Jake and his guitar were in spotlight, showcasing his raw talent.
Mid-set he took it down a notch, moving over to the acoustic for Pine Trees off of Shangri La and the old favourite Broken. A man of few words and very little charisma, Bugg only paused briefly between songs to say his thanks before getting back into the music. Although this type of stage presence would typically annoy me, I don’t think I would have caught much of what he was saying through his thick drawl. I was quite happy to sing my way through his set list, as was the rest of the crowd.
Ending the night in typical fashion, he nailed his cover of Neil Young’s Hey, Hey, My, My and ran the crowd into a frenzy with the ever-popular Lightening Bolt. Making his rounds on this summer’s festival circuit, Jake Bugg is definitely a set to check out. Be sure to pick up your own copy of Shangri La, available now.
For more concert photos, click here.
Shannon Bryan |