Written by: Harry Kroll
James Bay brought both his signature fedora and his blend of alternative rock and pop to the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater on Wednesday night, playing a 15-song set to a sold out crowd.
The night began with Bay’s opener, a trio of sisters called Joseph. With just a bass drum, acoustic guitar and their harmonic voices, the band captivated the crowd unlike any opener I’ve ever seen for the duration of their 35-minute set. Their folk sound was reminiscent of the Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men.
Bay impressed all in turning his relatively reserved music into captivating concert material, holding the crowd’s attention on quieter songs and kicking into gear with souped-up versions of his rock hits. He leaned into his sing along-friendly choruses, allowing the crowd to join him and they gladly obliged, notably on “Need The Sun To Break” and current Top 40 hit “Let It Go”.
Bay’s considerable musical talent shined through, as he displayed a prowess on the guitar that doesn’t quite come through on his record. He blew away the crowd with a powerful solo during an upbeat rendition of “Best Fake Smile”.
The high point in the show came during the final song of the main set, a show-stopping performance of his best rock song, “Get Out While You Can”. After a quick break, Bay capped his performance with a three-song encore, closing with his biggest hit, “Hold Back The River”.
Overall, his stage presence and performance took an adoring crowd by storm and marked a heavy departure from the last time I saw him, just over a year ago at Lollapalooza 2015, when a subdued Bay looked a little unprepared for the moment. Since then, the British crooner has clearly grown into a great performer and did his ballads justice on Wednesday night. James Bay continues his tour with back to back nights in Nashville, Tennessee. Make sure to watch out for this prodigious rock n’ roller as he proceeds to make a mark in America.