Any one of us can pick up an acoustic guitar and strum along to a few verses. 

But it’s not until someone with real talent does the same that you appreciate just how good they are.

It’s music stripped back down to its rawest form and an intimate glimpse at how an artist begins the songwriting process. 

And it seems it’s an environment Jake Bugg is at his most comfortable. 

The 23-year-old, somewhat unfairly, has drawn comparison to Bob Dylan based on his mannerisms, the story-telling nature of the records and a reliance on unlikely guitar riffs to make performances pop. 

He’s also drawn criticism for the same reason with grumbling critics moaning about him writing life experiences as a teenager. 

But his tracks about issues surrounding underage drinking, small-town violence and drug-fuelled house parties resonates with a generation – and four albums in five years is some going. 

Addressing the crowd at the De La Warr Pavilion, he summed it up nicely when he said: “I might come across moody in interviews, but that’s because I don’t want to be doing interviews. I want to be playing music for people like you.”

And play music he did. Stunningly. 

The way the Nottingham product plays his guitars is a special mixture of concert pianist, high-end harpist and grungy, teenage rocker. His new album is a return to the first two albums which propelled him to superstardom. 
The ill-fated third LP was mocked on stage by the man who created it as he quipped: “This is the only song I’ll play off the third album seeing as none of you liked it. No-one bought it.”

It meant the capacity crowd were treated to album tracks off his self-titled debut record and Shangri La - the songs which gave him his fanatic following. 

With an electric guitar, a band, backing vocals and tens of thousands of intoxicated festival-goers, he flourishes. But he is arguably at his best on a seat at the front of a venue with, in his own words, the strings of his old, rusty guitar. 

Gareth Davies