With a grin that never wavered, felt-hatted chart hero James Bay shrugged off the threat of rain and delivered an ardent and upbeat evening set on the Electric Picnic main stage, writes Ed Power.
Bay has taken a lot of flack over his alleged matinee idol looks and the suspicion he was created in a record company laboratory by scientists determined to replicate the success of Ed Sheeran.
Yet though his debut album, Chaos and the Calm, doesnât lack for drippy moments, in the flesh Bay is far more of a rocker than his hearthrob image might suggest.
He seemed at pains to reinforce his credentials as a serious artist at Electric Picnic as he rollicked his way through the Kings Of Leon-go-pop When We Were On Fire
That set the tempo for what was to follow. Back by a muscular band, the 26-year-old alternately crooned and snarled through Need The Sun To Break and the hard-punching Best Fake Smile.
Bay will never be beloved by critics â heâs far too eager to please, with the sort of sunny demeanour the music press considers fundamentally objectionable. But for the faithful – and there were many at Electric Picnic â this will have been performance to remember, despite the weatherâs best attempts to ruin it.
Waiting for @JamesBayMusic @EPfestival ð¬ #EP2016 pic.twitter.com/2UmNegyD5R
— Alex Connolly (@thealexconnolly) September 4, 2016