The Summer Series at Somerset House: James Bay brings “Chaos and the Calm”

The anticipation was virtually palpable before the curtains rose in the courtyard of London’s Somerset House for Thursday night’s headline performer. Adoring fans queued the street in order to catch a glimpse of the new hit troubadour in action…

James Bay was named in BBC’s ‘Sound of 2015’, however he has risen the ranks over the years. Having learnt his trade playing the open mic’ nights at various pubs and clubs around Brighton, he now graces some of the largest stages in the world. Given the levels of excitement shown by many of his fans, we knew this would be a special concert.

Following on from George Ezra’s surprise visit to the Enhanced Bar with Cambridge Audio on Monday 13th July, those early birds who headed straight to the Hi-Fi kitted out bar would be in for a treat. James Bay made a unannounced visit pre-gig to meet the surprised fans. After having his photo taken, he showed his creative side doesn’t end when he leaves the stage. Picking up a marker pen, he drew both his recognisable self portrait and a rather stylish guitar on one of the Cambridge Aeromax speakers being used in the Hi-Fi system on display. Wherever the speaker ends up, it will make one James Bay fan extremely happy.

Luckily his support for the evening, South London’s The Beach kept his end of the deal up by performing a mesmerising slot. His music is filled with folk delicateness and subtleties, spinning into realms of melancholy and boding. Such a diverse sound is sure to only attract quite a select following, however his refinement and class shone through.

The evening was certainly fine albeit overcast, although I’m sure the sellout audience would not let a little drizzle stop their fun. James Bay took to the stage as the sun was still in the sky, treating the crowd to opener Collide. Bay seemed on top form, working up the onlookers with exciting guitar licks and enthusiastic dance moves. Fitting in quite a selection of music, his set flowed smoothly from one song to the next. Debut single Let It Go and album favourite Scars were squeezed in before the set drew to a close.

It was no surprise to see James Bay stroll back out on stage for a simple amazing encore. A rousing rendition of Alicia Key’s If I Ain’t Got You had everyone’s vocal chords loosed up, before the track of the night, Hold Back The River burst the banks with a massive sing along that would challenge any Coldplay gig!

The lucky 3,000 who came to watch James Bay play this unique venue will undoubtably remember this evening for a long time to come… and it won’t be long before he is playing to 30,000 capacity arenas.