James Bay is one of the most-buzzed-about emerging artists of the year—and it’s for good reason. The 24-year-old Brit has won the hearts of both fans and critics thanks to an impressive collection of addictive and intimate tracks largely driven by his goosebump-worthy vocals and stunning guitar work, all of which come together on hit songs “Let it Go” and “Hold Back the River”.
Bay began his current North American tour with a couple of Canadian dates, including a return to Toronto on Monday to play a sold-out show at The Mod Club. This is the British artist’s first solo date in Toronto—as well as his first solo North American tour—, and it comes hot on the heels of his recent gig opening for Irish crooner Hozier last October at the Phoenix.
The soulful indie-rocker commented on his rapid rise in popularity throughout the night, clearly humbled by the increasingly massive response he has been receiving for his critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Chaos and The Calm’. The receptive and enthusiastic fans fortunate enough to grab tickets to the (almost instantly) sold-out show danced along to his more upbeat tunes—such as opening song “Collide” and the bouncy “Best Fake Smile”—while heartily belting out passionate sing-alongs like “Let It Go” and “If You Ever Want To Be In Love”. Bay closed out the show with his hit single “Hold Back The River”, but only after surprising the audience with his take on Alicia Key’s “If I Ain’t Got You”.
He has been singled out as (if he isn’t already) the “next big thing” this year by just about everybody, so if he has managed to slip under your radar — check out this stunning live performance.