THE WILTERN, Los Angeles - James Bay performed to a sold out crowd at The Wiltern on Monday night in support of his latest record Electric Light. Bay came out blazing, starting the show with a high-energy performance of "Pink Lemonade." It seemed as if every fan in attendance knew every word leading up to the song's final refrain, "I'm protecting you, I'm protecting you." With so many hooks to latch on to, the song became an instant classic when it was released a year ago as the second single from Electric Light.
Bay traded in his signature long brown locks and fedora during the release of the new album and emerged with a brand new do reminiscent of Elvis during the '68 Comeback Special, but minus the sideburns. A year later his hair has grown back to past chin length, and the black leather jacket still accompanies the look. With the new look and wildly diverse album, the fans show no signs of discontent as he slides into "Just For Tonight" which doubles as a short-lived fleeting romance while allowing fans to forget about their troubles and enjoy the show. "Just for tonight, forget who we are, give up and ignite." Once the crowd has been revved up, Bay delicately draws fans in even closer with "Wild Love" and "Us." If 2015's smash hit "Let It Go" was any indication of Bay's brilliance, "Us" is an affirmation.
Fans were also treated to an explosive cover of The Beatles' "Come Together" during the encore. After a 16 song set, his voice never waivered. Still strong, still soulful, and still vibrant. It's almost as if it gets better as the set moves forward. James Bay brings the Electric Light Tour to the Fox Theater in Oakland tonight.
Noah Kahan opened for James Bay at The Wiltern and told of his great admiration for the Grammy nominee and how much of a dream it was to be asked to tour with him. During the set, Kahan performed his latest single "Mess" which details how a musician with upward trajectory still struggles with maintaining relationships back home. It's an interesting concept for a songwriter to write a paradoxical account of how other musicians must feel. Initially the musician's fantasy is touring the world playing music and make a reasonable income. In Kahan's case, the fantasy becomes moving back home to Boston and rebuilding a life he once lived. The musician's struggle is a balancing act.
A heartfelt moment in Kahan's opening set was when he introduced a new song which has yet to be released. It is dedicated and written about a friend of his who passed away. As the near-full Wiltern grew silent, Kahan looked up into rafters as the theater's lights shined back down on him.