You know those people who say they never win anything – well I’m one of those people. Fortunately enough, that streak was broken by a radio promotion (shoutout to 102.7 Fresh) to see James Bay perform.
The young brit’s success has skyrocketed in the past couple of months with his chart topping single “Hold Back The River”, opening on tour for Hozier (and soon Taylor Swift), winning the Critics’ Choice award at the Brit Awards, and the release of his debut album Chaos and The Calm. Although I highly recommend a listen if you’re into the whole singer/songwriter pop thing, the real story is here is his undeniable, raw talent displayed in his live performance.
With dimples that could kill and an infectious sense of charisma, it was easy for Bay to charm the pants off the maybe 50 people that were seated inside the Davenport Theatre in Hell’s Kitchen. It was an intimate setting both for the audience, and Bay, who stood alone on stage with his guitar. The stripped down versions of “When We Were on Fire”, “Craving”, “Let It Go”, and of course “Hold Back the River”, sounded so perfect that it made me think – why weren’t the songs recorded like this on the album? Regardless, the weight of his voice, the emotive lyrics, and the smallness of the space truly left me in awe. I seriously enjoyed James Bay’s album, but seeing him live, is a whole other level.
The short set was also followed by a little Q&A action from both the 102.7 correspondent, and the audience. It was here that I learned how Bay got discovered through a YouTube video that got 22 views, that one of the greatest moments of his life was randomly meeting Eric Claptop at an airport, and that Ghostbusters is his favorite movie (making the firehouse one of his first pit stop in New York). The cherry on top of all that (as if I needed one) – a meet and greet with the handsomly hatted talent.
Although his show at Irving Plaza tomorrow is totally sold out (and for good reason), you can catch James Bay when he comes back around on July 23rd at Hammerstein Ballroom!