On a balmy London evening not too long ago, something that wasn’t entirely unexpected happened. Well actually, a few things worth mentioning happened. Here goes.
The wonderful James Bay was set to play a show at St Stephens Church in Shepherds Bush and we, being horribly unfamiliar with the region, allowed Google Maps to be our guide for the night. One bike, a particularly sweaty tube, two busses, a taxi ride, a hell of a walk and two and a half hours later, we found ourselves seated in the charming little church. (Yes, we got gloriously lost. But I won’t get into that.)
High boarded ceilings, flowing red wine and stereotypically uncomfortable pews set the atmosphere for the special evening that was to come. Nestled amongst the sold out crowd, myself and countless others waited in quiet anticipation for the man in the hat to take centre stage. As the clock struck nine, the house music faded and a hush swept over the room. Said hush quickly transformed into polite cheering and applause as Mr Bay approached the microphone with his guitar and band en tow. The hour long set came and went as if in the blink of an eye, encompassing a beautiful array of both new and older material.
James’ heart warming, powerful sound entirely enamoured the onlooking crowd thorughout, taking us on a musical journey that I’d happily revisit time and time again. Everything from the soulful guitar of Let It Go to the asthmatic howl of When We Were On Fire was executed perfectly — his music is raw, real and deserves to be experienced in a live setting.
It’s been a long time since I’ve left a show with the inability to adequately describe what just happened, so lets put it this way — James Bay is on to something spectacular folks. Jump aboard now and be the guy saying “I told you so” in years (months) to come.