Concert Review: James Bay at City Sounds, Amsterdam

james bay

James Bay moves and soothes in open air concert on warm summer night
During Amsterdam Pride celebrations last weekend, in tthe northern part of the city hosted the music festival City Sounds. Jessie J played on Saturday while 30 Seconds to Mars takes the stage on Tuesday night. On Sunday, it was James Bay’s turn. The British singer-songwriter launched his sophomore album Electric Light in 2018 and kept things moving with the EP Oh My Messy Mind earlier this year. Enough reason to treat his Dutch fans to another live show!

After support acts J.C. Stewart and Dutch indie pop band Rondé, known for the hits ‘Run’ and ‘Naturally’, Bay opened his show on a high with ‘Pink Lemonade’. The track is easily one of his most upbeat tunes and might have worked a little better later on in the show, as the audience was a bit timid at the start. Bay must have realized that his first record Chaos and the Calm was a commercially way bigger success than its follow up, as the setlist heavily focuses on songs of the first record. It turns out to be a smart move as the fans still know all the words to tunes like ‘If You Ever Want To Be In Love’ and of course the stripped back hit single ‘Let It Go’.

Electric Light lead single ‘Wild Love’ proves itself to be the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer night in the North of Amsterdam. The synths soar above the audience while his stunning vocals are moving and soothing all at the same time. The sound of his full band is irresistible on the subtle build up of ‘Fade Out’ and a swinging ‘Proud Mary’ cover, but the concert reaches its most memorable moments when it is just James’s vocals and guitar.

Early on in the set he plays the stunning acoustic track ‘Break My Heart Right’ taken from the new EP which is one of the highlights of the evening. It isn’t until he plays another EP track, titled ‘Bad’, as part of the encore that he manages to let the audience hold their breath. His vocals are fragile one moment and the next minute he belts out at full force , both with the same all consuming emotional power. The way he conveys the emotions in the lyrics and through the use of his vocals is a unique gift. The way he performs that song hits you right in the feels.

Of course he saved his biggest hit for last in the setlist. A James Bay concert will never ever be really over before the whole audience sings along to every single word of his breakout track ‘Hold Back The River’. Way to end a concert on a goosebump inducing high!


Leave a Reply