16 July 2015 (gig)
20 July 2015
James Bay walked onto the Somerset House stage with little fanfare. All in black, trademark hat atop of his slender frame the singer wasted no time in launching into ‘Collide’.
It was not long until the shirt came off and those emotional tones started to dig in. It was clear from the first time I heard James Bay play acoustic for Burberry that he was a star in the making. It's that vocal connection coupled with an ability to get an endless variation of sounds from his guitars on constant rotation that make his such an interesting prospect.
Dark clouds ominously float overhead with the odd drop making contact but the inspiring ‘Move Together’ and ‘Scars’ kept the deluge at bay.
His four-piece band fulfill their role with Swiss precision, almost invisible, perfect delivery, but add little in the way of character. Possibly a reason for the slightly lackluster reception. The raw emotion, tangible in his acoustic set doesn't quite translate in this bigger production.
That said the extended version of Alicia Keys ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ cover is a highlight, the band allowing Bay to let loose of guitar.
The eminent ‘Hold Back The River’ closes the set and a worthy night of music comes to an end at the Somerset House Series, a majestic location and now a real highlight in London’s musical calendar.
James Bay Setlist:
• When We Were On Fire
• If You Ever Want to Be in Love
• Need The Sun To Break
• Let It Go
• Move Together
• Best Fake Smile
• Get Out While You Can
• Clocks Go Forward
• If I Ain't Got You
(Alicia Keys cover)
• Hold Back the River