British singer/songwriter and guitarist James Bay released his eagerly anticipated sophomore album Electric Light last month via Virgin EMI.

Tonight the chart-topping artist arrives at the O2 Academy Newcastle for his first concert on Tyneside since 2016. So much was the demand for this show that it has long since been sold out.

James Bay is no stranger to the North East of England, having many associations with the region including his love of Newcastle United football team along with the fact that a lot of his crew come from the local area.

Bay took time out of his busy touring schedule earlier this week to visit the new site of independent music store Pop Recs in Sunderland. This being a grassroots development that James has supported since it’s inception and one which he has also recently become a patron off.

As the house lights fall inside of the O2 Academy Newcastle, a short intro video featuring the man himself plays on a large screen at the rear of the stage which further enhances the already fever pitch atmosphere inside of the room.

James Bay takes centre stage bedecked in a black jacket embellished with diamantes whilst grasping his cherry red Epiphone electric guitar. Bay opens the show with a pair of tracks from his latest offering. “Wasted On Each Other” with its fuzz fuelled guitar riffs and funky yet heavy groove kicks off the proceedings. This is quickly followed by recent single “Pink Lemonade”; an infectious slice of indie rock akin to seminal New York outfit The Strokes. Bay’s incredibly soulful voice resonates throughout the room all night long.

With Electric Light James Bay has really pushed his creative and musical boundaries whilst showcasing a louder sound utilising the use of transistor guitars. Eight tracks from the record feature in the set including a heartbreaking rendition of “Slide”, Bay’s synth-infused single “Wild Love” along with “Just For Tonight” – a prominent feature late on in the set. With its catchy hooks, huge chorus and harmonious gospel undertones this number is most certainly a future classic in the making.

It goes without saying that the chart-topping British singer/songwriter and guitarist witnessed great success with his debut album Chaos & The Calm. This being an album which resulted in a treasure trove of accolades and awards for James Bay. During the course of his 90 minute set several numbers from his Number 1 album feature. This includes a passionate airing of “Craving”, the heartfelt “If You Ever Want To Be In Love” and a spellbinding rendition of “Scars”. During the latter of which James segues a few bars of Elvis Presley’s timeless number “Can’t Help Falling In Love” into the opening of the song to great effect.

Bay sinks so much of himself into his performance throughout and the Geordie faithful respond by singing wholeheartedly at the tops of their voices all night long.

The main set concludes on a high with an upbeat delivery of “Best Fake Smile” before Bay’s anthemic single “Hold Back The River” brings the show to its explosive conclusion. A duly deserved two-song encore including both a crowd-pleasing take on Tina Turner’s “The Best” and a beautiful solo rendition of “Need The Sun To Break” closes out a memorable night of music on Tyneside.

Tonight James Bay portrays the many different facets of his artistry whilst simultaneously proving that he can do it all and do it well; there is just no stopping this genre-defying British singer/songwriter.

James Bay
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Event Date: 05-June-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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