Late July for non-Splendour goers means just one thing- side shows, one of which being UK double-header Jake Bugg and Blossoms at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. Blossoms took to the stage with authority and, despite the still filling room and seated crowd (a side effect of Melbourne’s severe lack of mid-sized venues), were impressive from their first note.
With the image of a classic ’70s rock band, and lead singer Tom Ogden moving with the confidence of Alex Turner, the cohesion of the quintet was astounding. For all its flaws, The Palais boasts one of the best sounding rooms in the city, and this served the group well, especially when busting out best-known single “Charlemagne”. Littering their set with tracks from their debut album, due out next week, they no doubt heightened the anticipation for its release locally.
In the time between seeing Jake Bugg perform it’s easy to forget just how powerful he is on stage, especially when delivering a 90 minute set without any inkling of slowing down. Kicking it all off with “On My One”, the vocal and guitar talents of Bugg were on display immediately. He possesses a strange, calm control over everything, even when an odd group of people insisted on chanting “Yorkshire” loudly between songs?
As expected, the explosive rendition of the likes of “Kingpin”, “Slumville Sunrise”, “Two Fingers”, “Seen It All” and more from earlier records went down a treat, but the eerie solemn air that fell over the room during a solo rendition of ‘Broken’ probably served as the most endearing part of the evening. The musician’s ability to keep a hold of the mood- from extreme, energetic highs to the serious, quiet and emotional moments is a rare quality and something to be revered.
Banter has never been a massive feature of Bugg’s sets, with this show no exception, but a couple of beguiling comments here and there certainly kept at least half the crowd desperately smitten. Security was unable to keep the crowd seated for final track “Lightning Bolt”, which saw Bugg throw out one final guitar solo that few could pull off in such a calm manner.
After being somewhat unconvinced by Bugg’s third release, On My One, this live set was the best case to argue in its favour.
Header Image: Tom Oxley