There are few singer-songwriters that are breaking through and rising as fast as the UK’s James Bay, as evidenced by his Tuesday night set at the Hollywood Palladium.
Touring in support of his debut album, Chaos and the Calm, Bay serenaded the crowd with his stirring ballads and magical vocals. A fan favorite with the ladies, it felt like couples night — though the fellas enjoyed his work seemingly jusr as much.
The album features a bevy of songs that could flourish on the radio. Early in the set, Bay had the crowd moving to the beat of the soulful tune “When We Were On Fire.” Despite the quietness of many of his tunes, you could hear a pin drop in the audience as they were captivated and didn’t resort to chatting as much as LA crowds are known for.
Songs like “If You Ever Want to Be in Love” and “Let it Go,” with their early John Mayer-like romantic lyrics, make me think he will be popular for many years to come. Bay was very grateful for the crowd turnout and also very engaging with his between song banter, getting a few laughs. “Move Together” had couples cuddling up to each other as though they were around a campfire, Bay’s voice surprising me and others with how well it filled the large-sized Palladium.
An encore included “Hold Back the River,” a song that featured perhaps the biggest sing-along. It is interesting to see how much his stature has grown since performing at the Santa Monica Pier for an ALT 98.7 festival back in early August. His career is clearly taking off and he should be packing in the crowd early at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas next weekend.