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LIVE REVIEW - Hayden James @ The Forum

Since releasing his self-titled debut EP in 2013, Australian triple threat (singer/songwriter/producer) Hayden James has copped nothing but commendation in the build up to not only the drop of highly anticipated studio album Between Us, but the national headline tour many fans had been hanging out for since the raging success of last years lap around the continent. Having performed alongside some of the biggest names in electronic music today (Disclosure, Odesza, Touch Sensitive), anyone will tell you that Hayden James is one of the strongest and most influential artists on the Australian scene, and having attended his FORUM show on Saturday night, it’s sure as hell not hard to see why.

The space around us is magnetic, fuelled by the playful anticipation of what we are about to experience. Despite the miserable iciness of the night that awaits outside, we stand glistening under the stage lights, each one of us radiating an excited warmth that charges the room with the incredible vibrance of colour and conversation. As the first few bars of 2014 banger ‘Something About You’ bounce between the walls of the FORUM band-room, it’s clear from the first few minutes that this will be a night to remember.

Having graced the stage at some of Australia’s largest festivals (Splendour in the Grass, Groovin The Moo, Beyond The Valley) James is definitely no stranger to working a room. In an interview with Billboard, James describes ‘Between Us’ as representing “the journey through different stages of a relationship; love, separation and ultimately hope”, and throughout the set we find ourselves almost immersed within this.

As the night progresses we experience hit after hit but in a way that is different from past performances. Tonight, James’ skills as a songwriter really shine through as fans echo almost every song word perfectly back to him as he grins and dances on stage. Crowd favourites include ‘NUMB’, ‘Favours’ and of course ‘Just Friends’, James’ highest charting single, peaking at number 26 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

Never once does the set lose it’s pace, and tracks flow effortlessly into the next as to preserve the atmospheric vibe around us. James is a musical powerhouse, and in these transition moments is where his ability as a producer can be truly appreciated. Finishing up his national tour on August 31st at the Enmore Theatre (Sydney) before heading off to play shows in America, the next time James will return to Australia will be ‘Wine Machine’ (Mclaren Vale) in December, and we’ll definitely be counting down the days.

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