James Bay at Colston Hall


Oscar La-Gambina


03 Jun 2018

We all know and love him as the hat enthusiast behind the beautiful ‘Hold Back The River’, but James Bay has grown up. James Bay is a rockstar.

An intriguing video opens the set before James saunters on, striking a rock star pose for a few seconds before launching into the opening track from his second album, ‘Wasted On Each Other’. Few words are exchanged between the singer and the crowd to begin with, but there need not be any conversation. The music does the talking, and the talking is loud.

You can tell that James Bay doesn’t take any of his fame for granted. He would often stand there at the end of a song just taking in the roaring crowd and the deafening applause he received from the Colston Hall crowd on Saturday night. Making various references to his previous Bristol gigs, James loves the area, and we love him.

Further proof of him being a genuinely nice man was given when he took a large section of time out of his set to introduce his band. It’s easy to see the name James Bay and forget about everything else that goes into his music, but there is a regret backing band to accompany him and James wants us to remember that. The extra guitars add that extra layer of intensity, the female backing vocals make the harmonies just gorgeous, and James’ pianist is wonderfully talented, and a song dedicated to just her skills in the set was fantastic.

He became more talkative after ‘Best Fake Smile’, which created potentially the most amount of energy in one room during a concert that I have ever seen. The band were beautifully intense, and the crowd were loving every second. ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hold Back The River’ were obviously played too, and the reaction to them was, well, what do you think?

After a powerful set that concluded with ‘Hold Back The River’, we were treated to a final song with just James on stage in the spotlight. It was a lovely way to end such a booming show, and showed off his talent for both rocking out, and having a mellow acoustic jam.

Many a moment was had during the show, and the emotional connection between James and us won’t be forgotten in a while. James is what you could call an intimate rockstar, and he’s brilliant.