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Review: Ibiza Rocks Opening Party ft Jake Bugg + Findlay

Live and kicking!

Ibiza Rocks Hotel kicked off its season of weekly live music last night, welcoming back last year's supporting act, Brit Award-nominated Jake Bugg, as this year's headliner, with support from new rock sensation Findlay. This line up set the tone for yet another exciting season of live music, eight years on from the first official Ibiza Rocks!

This year, the venue had been re-jigged and the stage now sat snugly at the far end of the space, a great decision as it meant the annually increasing audience got a better view of the stage and the sound quality was brilliant, something which is always a potential concern in an open air venue. The courtyard-style layout where people can watch from their balcony makes this large capacity venue still intimate. Ibiza Rocks resident DJs Ste-V-Something and Colin Peters warmed up the crowd while later on Nicola Bear kept everyone entertained between Findlay and Jake's set.

Findlay was a great choice to open, playing upbeat tracks such as ‘Your Sister' and ‘Too Young'. Like Yeah Yeah Yeahs' front-woman Karen O, her impressively powerful voice (especially for someone so petite) and charismatic energy commanded the stage and the set was brimming with growling guitar riffs and rasping vocals, leaving me wishing I hadn't shunned those guitar lessons years ago.

Headliner Jake Bugg treated the lively crowd to a contemporary mix of electric numbers including hits ‘Two Fingers' and ‘Green Man', and acoustic lighter-swaying ballads such as ‘Someone Told Me' and ‘Broken'. He included ‘Slumville Sunrise', a track from his new album and I could immediately tell that his style has progressed to heavier, more electric rock, hinting that his second album could be the ‘cooler raunchier twin' to his number one charted debut album and the audience's cheering and dancing showed that it is clearly a popular move. Here, where dance music is king, it was great to see such a packed crowd. Jake's acoustic, sixties influenced style is about listening to the words as much as dancing to the melody, and as the crowd sang along to his highly emotive and clever lyrics it was clear that guitar music still holds a strong place on the island.

I got a chance to chat to Jake post-sound check, pre-show. He was funny, affable, and refreshingly had his head firmly screwed on. After digressing about Pikes Hotel (the VIP after party venue) and their amazing Sunday roasts, our mutual love for cauliflower cheese and his ‘Fisherman Chic' yellow one-off Prada jacket, we got down to business:

So you were supporting at Ibiza Rocks Opening last year weren't you, how does it feel to be back now as the headlining act?

"It feels great to be back headlining because it tells me as an artist and as a writer that I'm progressing and moving forward. It's an incentive really to keep on doing what I'm doing. It's great to be back in Ibiza."

You're working on your second album now aren't you? How you feeling about it? After the success of your first one it's always quite hard to follow a really good success. Are you confident about it?

"I'm happy about it, but that doesn't mean anything, whether I think it sounds good or not, it's not really for me to decide. It's for the people who go out and get the record, I just write the songs. But I like the way it's going, it feels like a progression and it seems a little bit more mature to me. I worked with Rick Rubin on it, he's brilliant. It's been difficult but I hope it goes well."

How do you feel about playing in Ibiza, where dance and house music has such a strong influence? Guitar music doesn't really get as much ‘air time' across here.

"Well there's always going to be dance music and electronic music around but there's always going to be guitar music around as well. It's cool because some of the guys in the hotel rooms are blasting out house music but at the same time they're enjoying my sound check. It's good seeing people into different things and appreciating different music because that's what music's about."

Do you have a song that you most look forward to playing or always try and include in your sets?

"I don't have favourites. I only really listen to my music when I'm recording or writing it. For me, I use music to express how I'm feeling or something I might be suppressing and it's a way of me to project it in a way that I feel most comfortable with. but once it's out there on the shelves it's not mine anymore. Obviously I've played those songs millions of times so I just have to put myself in the place and how I felt at the time and play it like it's the first time I've played it because at the end of the day it's about the people who come to watch me play not about me. They all want to enjoy their evening, and it's about them."

Go for the full Ibiza Rocks experience and stay at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel.

Photos - James Chapman

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