It’s Tuesday evening in Salt Lake City with a cold breeze, and you’ve just left dinner Downtown … Where do you go? To The State Room, of course! Jake Edwin Charles Kennedy, aka Jake Bugg, the English singer/songwriter, returns to SLC to a sold-out event to play music with guest artist Nina Nesbitt.
A first for this photographer, The State Room has seating lined up on the dance floor from stage to stair to accommodate the more intimate setting that this venue offers. With each chair filled and each hand holding a drink, the crowd settles in as the show begins. Up first, Scottish singer/songwriter Nina Nesbitt. With her popularity rising in 2013 in the U.K. and subsequent commercial work in the U.S. in 2015, Nesbitt has gained a wider audience, left her music label and became an independent artist, and now is now accompanying Jake Bugg on tour. Treating the SLC crowd to a one-woman set of acoustic folk rock, Nesbitt has a soft sound that explores the woes of relationships and finding out who you are in a fashion that has been compared to the likes of fellow U.K. musician Ed Sheeran.
Intermission time for this two-act musical evening: Attendees grab some air, head to the bar for a refill, or talk among themselves, as now every inch of space is shoulder-to-shoulder when Jake Bugg takes the stage to a building round of applause and yells. Settling in a chair in the spotlight, surrounded by guitars and a microphone, Jake Bugg begins to play. With a single musician onstage with just the instrument in hand, Jake Bugg plays a mix of his own hits from previous years and providing his grown-in sound that could be described as anything from folk to blues, bluegrass and even a little country, depending on the track. The audience is silent while the music is playing, and loud applause erupts when the last chord is struck. After each song, Jake Bugg simply says, “Thank you, thank you for coming out,” takes a swig of his drink and introduces his next song. His eager fans make up the majority of the sold-out crowd, showing up to buy their tickets months in advance to catch this show, and with the mood in the room throughout the set, I doubt anyone was let down.
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