Jake Bugg with support from The Courteeners, Nina Nesbitt & Silhouette
23rd August 2013 – Custom House Square, Belfast
Friday night at Belsonic and Custom House Square is hiving with people from the moment the gates open. A very young crowd have pulled together around the front of the stage ensuring they get a good spot for the night ahead. The only down side is, the heavens have opened but this crowd really doesn’t seem to care about that at all, the atmosphere is buzzing. We’ve got an eclectic mix of people from interesting indie types, kid’s around 16 at their very first festival complete with flowered headbands and of course The Mod’s who are here solely for the appearance of Mr Bugg.
A loud roar emerges from the speakers as Shauna Tohill and her band, better known as Silhouette, begin their set with no warning. A sea of colourful poncho’s and umbrellas begin to throw some shapes to the indie pop sounds of ‘Toss It Up’ ‘Running Against The Wall’ the crowd embrace the rain and are genuinely having a good time. Shauna expresses her sympathies to the crowd for having to stand in the rain and thanks them for coming down early. Finishing her very well received set with that song we all subconsciously know from the Belfast advert ‘Can’t Keep Up’ it is truly flawless and the catchy chorus gets the crowd fired up to enjoy their night even though it is raining.
As more and more people flood through the gates the rain starts the ease of…a bit, just in time for 19 year old Scottish songstress Nina Nesbitt to wow the pit of poncho’s with here folk-esque sound. Seemingly tonnes of Nina’s fans have showed up here tonight as almost all of the songs can be heard being sang by the growing crowd. Nina tells the crowd her next song is about working in retail and admits she wasn’t very good at her job before revealing she’d worked in River Island and wrote ‘Weight of the world’ to tell the story about her woes, definitely a favourite amongst the fans here. The new single, a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ allows the hyper crowd to sing their hearts out as does Nina’s hit single ‘Stay Out’ although it feels a tad ironic singing the lyrics “They think they’re from the 60’s but they were born in 1991” to a crowd of mostly Mod’s…
Finally the rain has stopped! The crowd are now well packed in and very well boozed up. The theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey belts through the sound system before Liam Fray and the lads explode on to the stage. Opening with ‘In love with a notion’ half filled pint glasses fly through the air as the crowd go buck wild! Liam shouts down the microphone “Alright Belfast?” As cheers and whistles emerge from the huge crowd. ‘Cavorting’ ‘You Over Did It Doll’ and ‘Bide Your Time’ rolled out one after another, they’re oldies but goldies and allow the crowd to show their appreciation as they chant every word back whilst throwing a few criminal dance moves. ‘Sycophant’ and ‘Lose Control’ allow the ever -expanding crowd to do exactly that. Then something special happened, as darkness started to fall The Courteeners played ‘Take Over the World’ it just added to the spectacular atmosphere, and of course no Courteeners gig is complete without ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ more pint throwing and mindless dancing from the very merry crowd occur, as the lads draw their set to a close Liam Humbly thanks everyone for coming and tells us how much of a pleasure Belfast always is, finishing their set with ‘What Took You So Long’ people are now climbing on top of people shoulders’ to get a better view, this crowd definitely has that festival feeling.
Some very lovely delta blues music from blues legend Robert Johnston begins to caress our ears as Mr Jake Bugg takes to the stage. Opening with the ever so stunning ‘Fire’ the crowd are sucked into a trance by this 19-year-old lads timeless voice, every girl in the crowd wishes he was singing those lyrics directly to her, serenading them as they sing a long. Jake is joined on stage by a drummer and a bassist for the more upbeat ‘Trouble town’ ‘Seen it all’ as the excited crowd dance their pants of in an old fashioned style and why not eh? Taking things back down a notch, the simplicity of Jakes voice accompanied by acoustic guitar and a kick drum in ‘Simple as this’ is phenomenal still the crowd sing to every word keeping with the gentle tone. ‘Ballad of Mr Jones’ needs no introduction from the opening lines the crowd throw their hands in the air and chant back every word, Jake swaps his acoustic guitar for an electric during the bridge just to give it more depth. ‘Country song’ see’s Mr Bugg pick up that acoustic again, as the spotlight shines down on him every word is felt by every member of the now boozed up crowd. Next Jake asks he crowd if they know this one, ‘Broken’ screams and cheers fill the evening air, phone’s illuminate the dark venue as many record the genius at work, it’s sang stunningly so much so a few fans point out their goosebumps, there’s even a few tears admittedly it really was something special. Up-ing the tempo with ‘Two fingers’ the sing a long continues.
A few new songs are shown off to the punters sounding very much like Miles Kane with Jakes special magic dust sprinkled all over them. Surprising us next Jake does a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey, My My’ twisting the words around he makes it sound like his own creation. The punters are in good sprits, mesmerized by this little lad’s performance, considering he only has one album too, there is only one song he could close this unbelievable set with and that is ‘Lightening bolt’ the crowd go into a frenzy singing the words extra loud as well as much more pint throwing. Watching Jake it really is hard to believe he was first on the support bill for this very same festival just a year before for Noel Gallagher now this humongous crowd are here to see him headline it! I think we’ve found the brand new King of the Mod’s.