Jake Bugg – Live Review – Leeds O2 Academy

jake bugg live review leeds o2 academy

By Graham Clark, March 2022

The majority of the audience were still queuing outside the 02 Academy in Leeds when Scottish band Vistas took to the stage. Such was the power and delivery of the band’s set you could have been forgiven for thinking that they were the night’s headliners.

Those that had managed to get into the venue early enough appeared to know most of the songs – and no wonder with big tracks such as ‘The Love You Give’ and ‘Retrospect’ which majestically satisfied the faithful and impressed those who had never heard Vistas previously.

The last time Jake Bugg played Leeds it was an intimate gig at the Warehouse for the launch of his last album. He didn’t appear to be enjoying the event much then and it felt like it was an obligation he had to do.

Six months later it was a more relaxed version of the Nottingham artist who returned to Leeds. As Oasis’ ‘Champagne Supernova’ played over the PA before he arrived on stage it gave a big indication of where his influences come from as the fans sang the song, many of who were not even born when the Oasis classic was originally released.

jake bugg live review leeds o2 academy stage

Jake Bugg on stage at Leeds O2 Academy, March 2022


“Are you ready Leeds?” Bugg asks the sold out auditorium, not that the boisterous fans needed asking in the first place.

Backed by a three piece band he gave the fans a trip right across his career with old and new songs. Simple but effective lighting helped to elevate many of the tracks: ‘Kiss Like The Sun’ still sounded like a mix of KT Tunstall and The Stone Roses, whilst the ramshackle garage rocker ‘Seen It All’ still sounded great nearly ten years since the release of the song.

Never missing an opportunity to thank the fans for their support and for attending the show, Bugg’s enthusiasm for being able to play live concerts again was hard to contain. Apart from those words of appreciation he said little, preferring to let his music do the talking.

With more aces up his sleeves he saved some of his best work to date for a memorable ending to the night as ‘Lightning Bolt’ and ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ thrilled the crowd.

‘Lonely Hours’ could be the cousin to Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’. Like a steam train gliding over the tracks, Bugg seemed unstoppable in his quest to reinvent himself.

‘All I Need’ showed a more mainstream pop influence in his songwriting skills, though by now, with Bugg’s reluctance to play encores, there was really no need – he had already given everyone all they needed.


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