James Bay stepped onto the 9:30 Club stage in D.C. at 10:30 Friday night, and delivered a moving 13 song set. He filled the 1,200 capacity sold out venue with his raw talent and overwhelming admiration towards his fans.
Starting out with ‘Collide’ from Bay’s newly released album, set the night up for one of the most authentic and rich performances I’ve ever seen. His voice is incredibly strong and his stage presence could wow any naysayer out there. Whether it was an upbeat tempo like ‘When We Were On Fire’ or a slowed down love song like ‘Move Together’, all eyes were on Bay. Every couple of songs, he would look into the crowd and thank them for their endless support, whether it be from his previous tour with pal Hozier, or to the present tour and support of his album ‘Chaos And The Calm‘.
He delivered each song with enough grit and beauty to reassure you that were in the presence of a fine musician. Of course when ‘Let It go’ – one of Bay’s biggest hits (below) – was performed, the crowd went silent to hear him belt out the notes and then when the last chorus came along, Bay went silent and let the fans take over. The atmosphere was electric, and when it was time for an encore, of course the fans were chanting for him to come back.
Bay granted us with 3 more songs. ‘Incomplete’ first, then he surprised us all by doing a cover, an incredible cover I must add, of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’. What amazes me is how much charisma he has, whether it be in his speech or in his songs, he carries himself with such grace and confidence. He is soulful beyond his years and has quite a career ahead of him.
To end the amazing night, Bay and his band of course played ‘Hold Back The River’, a major hit that is taking over radio stations. The band and James were in-sync with their movements and sounds throughout, and you could tell that they truly loved what they were delivering to the crowd.
Bay will continue touring venues and making the rounds at a few festivals this year which you can find the dates for on his website, you can also buy his debut album at your local record store or on iTunes.
Review by Heather Hook