Words: Ailsa Harper.
After winning the Brits Critics’ Choice Award at the end of last year, 2015 was always set to be a huge year for James Bay; his debut album ‘Chaos and The Calm’ was released at the end of March, closely followed by his sold out UK tour this April. The Edinburgh date of the tour saw James play the relatively small but equally beautiful, Queens Hall.
To begin the evening we have Port Isla, a four piece band from Norwich who launch straight into a catchy song titled ‘Risk’, the strong folk-rock riffs coupled with the infectious rhythm seem to impress with a notable amount of head nodding in the crowd. The songs in their set were both energetic and uplifting and definitely warmed up the crowd for the main act of the night. Keep an eye out for these guys, they are well worth a watch live.
It’s not long until James graces the stage and opens with ‘Collide’ and ‘Craving’; two songs that carry more of a faster beat than others, after which he exclaims that he’s “got the lurgae”. However I’m sure if he hadn’t divulged this information nobody would have noticed as his mellifluous and seemingly effortless vocals are shown off in songs such as “Need the Sun to Break” and crowd favourite “Scars”. His set comprises of a variety of song style; soulful acoustics in songs such as “Let It Go” but also catchy and anthemic songs such as “Best Fake Smile”. He plays most songs from his debut album, of which hasn’t even been out for a month, yet most of the crowd seem to know every word to the songs, indicating that he’s not going to be forgotten anytime soon.
The encore consists of ‘Incomplete’ and of course, the song that the crowd has been waiting for, ‘Hold Back The River’ where the highly charged vocals get the crowd singing and clapping along. It is the perfect song to end the night.
Despite his recent immense success and projection into the spotlight, Bay comes across as extremely humble; exclaiming that he is excited to finally play his own show in Edinburgh and thanking the crowd for coming out. After seeing him live, it’s easy to understand the hype surrounding him at the moment; I highly recommend getting to one of his shows if you get a chance.