James Bay: New Songs, New Stories tour


Tuesday, January 25

THERE is always a lot of pressure on the opening night of a tour.

Even the most seasoned of performers must feel a combination of nerves and excitement before heading on stage, let alone if their return has followed an 18-month break.

Live music was forced to take a hiatus because of the pandemic, leaving musicians and audiences alike with a huge void to fill.

Having been a fan of James Bay some time now, I should have known my return to the world of live music would have been nothing but delightful.

The charming musician walked out onto the stage, armed with just a guitar and his trademark hat, and treated the audience to a rendition of the song Craving from his 2015 debut album, Chaos and The Calm.

Watching from the middle of the intimate venue, you could see people leaning into their loved ones and sharing smiles as the Hitchin-born singer worked his way through new songs and a handful of crowd-pleasing classics.

Unlike some performers, James took the time to speak to the crowd and reminisce about the time he spent in Brighton, as a student at BIMM, in his late teens.

As he tried to carve his path into the music industry, James busked in the Lanes, performed at open mic nights at pubs and bars in the city and even bought himself his first hat from Madhatters in Trafalgar Street.

But it was on the very stage he stood on last night that, ten years previous, he performed a set that changed his life, and where he met his managers, Paul, and Ryan.

James has not released an album since 2018, but he promised fans last night that a new record would be on its way later this year.

And judging by the reaction from to new tracks including We Used to Shine and One Night, it’s sure to be as successful as his previous releases.

A performance of single Hold Back the River capped off the intimate performance and the sold-out crowd left the venue thanking their lucky stars that live music had returned once again.

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