As I walked into Brooklyn Steel Tuesday night, I noticed about 90% of the crowd in attendance were couples – some facing each other close enough to kiss, others standing hip to hip, arms around each other’s waist. It’s not a surprising crowd for the headliner of the evening. When you listen to a James Bay song, it instantly feels like you’re being wrapped up in a warm blanket. His songs are so cozy yet so full of emotion, you can’t help but want to find someone to share them with.
Opening the show was singer-songwriter David Ryan Harris. The minute he opened his mouth and started to “ooo,” the crowd cheered. “Oh, just wait,” he said, with a smirk. He eased everyone into the night with his delicate voice, playing solo on stage. He joked a lot, making fun of the fact that he was wearing camo pants (“Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, I know you can’t see my legs.”) and kept the vibe light and happy.
Lights dim, James emerged from the shadows in silver shiny pants and his chopped locks swinging in his face. He took in the screams as he stared into the crowd, tongue against teeth, and combed his fingers through his hair. He knows he’s pretty and he knows how to use it. James isn’t just a pretty face though; his vocal chords also have a sexy-ness of their own. The notes pour out of his mouth and encircle the crowd in a smooth embrace.
The swoon inducer sang plenty of favorites off his debut album Chaos And The Calm but his new songs off his soon to be released sophomore album, Electric Light, took center stage, “Wild Love” and “Pink Lemonade” being the most recognizable. He introduced the crowd to “Wasted on Each Other,” “Just For Tonight,” and “Slide.” His newest single, “Us,” is a song that James says means the most to him off this new record and you could definitely tell how connected to it he was as he performed.
He ended his main set leading the crowd in a repetition of “lonely water” as he was clouded in smoke and building up the anticipation for “Hold Back the River.” It was the best song to get everyone dancing and end on a high note.
After pretending the show was over for that two minute time period of people chanting “ONE MORE SONG,” James returned to the stage, solo, and performed the most beautiful acoustic rendition of my favorite song of his, “Need the Sun to Break.” Usually I like when an artist ends on an energetic song but this song had an energy of it’s own, reminding people why they like James – for the powerful, heartfelt message.
When I was finally able to push my way out of the crowd and exit onto the street, I found myself walking alongside a fan already reminiscing about the show as he sang “Wild Love” and bopped down the street headed home.
Article: Merissa Blitz