It was like a throwback to the 90’s when calling guys “teen heartthrobs” was a thing; Which seems to be the phrase coming to mind when describing last night’s headlining CityFolk performer. James Bay, straight out of UK, made his debut to an Ottawa stage with an audience packed with mostly high-pitched screaming and swooning ladies– and their boyfriends.
Coming out strong with his single “Collide”, a raspy-vocal tale about a toxic relationship, James Bay and his compelling voice sets the bar high. Moving swiftly into his next hard-hitting single “Crave”, it was a setlist crafted to start off with a bang and get the crowd’s feet moving. While his upbeat repertoire is every bit as good as his ballads, it was clear that most people were there for the heart-melting love songs. From “Running” to “Need the Sun to Break”, the lady-crooning singer really showed off his brilliant vocals and his passion for the words being sung. During “Let it Go”, one of his breakout singles, James had an entire Ottawa-based choir to back him up as the entire audience erupted into song, almost overpowering the performer; He smiled, quietly strummed his guitar, and let them do their thing.
Photo by Chizzle Photography
Much like any great and memorable performer, Bay was incredibly interactive with his crowd and it’s apparent that he loves his fans; Prompting them to put their hands up, sing along with him, even asking how their day was. Most artists coming to Canada seem to love commenting on how “f*cking cold” it is during the September-run festival; but this artist sung a different tune, telling his fans “Coming from England, this weather is lovely”. Glad you didn’t need your parka, James.
After a loaded setlist of hit after hit, including “When We Were On Fire” and “If You Ever Want to Be In Love”, James ended the night with a cover of CCR’s “Proud Mary” that lead into another one of his breakout hits “Hold Back the River”. The lady-crooner left a lasting impression but, more importantly, Ottawa made a lasting impression on him as he made the promise to return to our beautiful city. Pinky swear?
Photos by Chizzle Photography
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