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  • Tuesday, 12 November 2024
  • Lido
  • 19:00
  • 20:00

Veranstalter: Trinity Music

“ Man, I’ve had it up to here – trashed my hopes and fed my fears , ” spits Jake Bugg on... more


Man, I’ve had it up to here – trashed my hopes and fed my fears ,” spits Jake Bugg on ‘Instant Satisfaction’’ – the polemic centre-piece that gives its name to the Nottingham troubadour’s fiery and engaged sixth album: ‘A Modern Day Distraction’. “And if it was up to me, I’d wish away all the greed – how much do we really need?

As Bugg puts it, it’s a punchy state-of-the-nation lament for the most in-need, looking for anything to lift them out of the pummeling trudge of the everyday. “We’re taught as young children that we’re supposed to be equal, then you grow up and realise we’re not,” says Bugg. “People choose not to point the finger where it should be pointed. Instead, they go for the easier target. That’s unjust to me. In Britain, you get punched in the face and go, ‘Ah, that’s the way it is’. You’re supposed to suck it up and get on with life. ‘It could be worse’, they say.”

Refusing to bury his own head in the sand, Bugg’s back with a return to his roots on the shamelessly rock-driven ‘A Modern Day Distraction’ – a record that turns up the noise while shining a light on the injustice he’s seen dealt to the family and friends he grew up with.

His previous album, 2021’s glitterball shimmer of the pop-leaning ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning,’ saw Bugg looking to the dancefloor for a little escapism. Now, he’s back down on Earth. “The last record was fun, but it showed me more of what I should be doing – and that’s going back to the things I love and enjoy the most. I feel like I’m more in my element on this record.”

You hear that off the bat with the manifesto-setting launch single ‘Zombieland’. A bone-crunching Beatles-via-Nirvana riff sees in a rollicking ode to the many broken by the inescapable daily grind, trudging on with a stiff upper lip: “He knows the price he has to pay,” warns Bugg on the chorus. “It hurts but he’s too proud to say”.

“It’s fucking brutal,” he says of the people he’s known who exist in “a constant cycle of working to live”. “They’re not paid what they’re worth. People have the same routine every day, they’re at work more than they see their kids, then the government puts the retirement age up. It’s not right.”

The album took surprising inspiration from Green Day’s 2004 pop-punk opus ‘American Idiot’ in how it magnified ordinary frustrations into the extraordinary. “It might have seemed ridiculous when Billie Joe Armstrong wrote it, but he told the truth and people believed him,” recalls Bugg. “I watched that Milton Keynes live film [‘Bullet In A Bible’] recently and I realised: they were honest, showed humility and it became massive for a reason.”

With his songs born out of a similar “frustration of societal inequality”, Bugg found that a time had come when he just couldn’t look away. “People might say ‘What do you know?’ or ‘Just stick to music’. I’ve got a bit of money, but we all know the people this affects. I was just writing it because it was the way I felt. It pisses me off – especially in a country like ours where we have the means and funds to take care of the people suffering the most, but we choose not to.

“You can’t go through life giving yourself an easy ride and ignoring it. The task is not to come across as preachy and condescending – which is very easily done. That’s why I’m writing about other people’s stories and through other people’s eyes.”

While lightyears from the same full-blown rock opera scale of ‘American Idiot’, ‘A Modern Day Distraction’ is a concept album “in some ways”, Bugg confesses. “These are stories of my life, people I know, and people I’ve observed. All of the stories and characters intertwine.”

Admitting his own unreal luck as an artist who emerged Clifton (the biggest council estate in Europe) to now be doing alright for himself in a world where “most people don’t have the luxury or opportunity to do what they really want”, Bugg says that he hopes the record provides a bridge through the universal troubles we all face. Check out The Clash and Jam-indebted mod rock burst of ‘All Kinds Of People’ that signposts: “We’re all trying just to find our way every day.”

“We all have our struggles,” says Bugg. “In British culture, we don’t really talk to anyone about that. You need to talk about these things with the people you love. We have to try and help each other, because there’s not much help out there.”

There’s a need for purpose and togetherness at the heart of ‘A Modern Day Distraction’. ‘All That I Needed Was You’ is about finding your centre when you’re spinning out of control – that thing or person that matters the most – while ‘Never Said Goodbye’ looks back on a tough year when Bugg lost two people very close to him. “That song is about realising how lucky you were to know those people in the first place,” he says. “It’s a message to the person you’ve lost that you’re still thinking about them.”

The aforementioned ‘Instant Satisfaction’ is about those little things we all need to “take ourselves away from reality and the bad day we’ve had” – whether a vice, bad TV or social media, not that he’s judging. He’s unsure how he’d fare if we were to emerge today in this era of TikTok and endless content. That’s not to say he lives in the past. While it’s now 12 years and five albums since he emerged with his streetwise and spritely, Mercury-nominated, chart-topping, Noel Gallagher-approved, self-titled debut, one might forget he was just 18 at the time. He’s put in the hours and achieved so much but he’s only 30 and still seeing the front rows of his shows getting younger.

In that spirit, Bugg still feels his best work is ahead of him: “You just have to put your songs out into the universe and hope for the best.”

Fresh from a “wicked” and “inspiring” tour as special guest to Liam Gallagher & John Squire throughout the UK and Europe, Bugg is recharged and raring for what lays ahead – a testament to the tenacity shown on the album. The rattling blues of ‘Breakout’ tell that familiar tale of the kid “all mixed up and all alone, a prisoner in his own home” in a forgotten town but ultimately promises that “something’s gonna change”. There’s light at the end of ‘I Wrote The Book’ as he offers, “you’ve gotta live your life before your dead and gone,” while the heartfelt ‘Keep On Moving’ is pretty self-explanatory. “Whatever’s thrown at you, you’re going to have things you regret, you’re going to have demons following you around, you’ve just gotta run with it,” ends Bugg. “You can’t let it hold you back.

“There has to be something reborn, otherwise you’re just telling people what they know. You have to give people hope.”