utside of La Jolla’s Che Cafe, people are huddled around each other for warmth. College students are bumming vape hits or cigarettes off each other; laughing and enjoying a cool Thursday evening before the show begins. Inside, there’s a mosh pit, there’s sweat. There’s people simply smiling but everyone is singing to the sounds of one band. Bay Faction stands on the stage, overhead a board reads “I promise.” scribbled in white paint anchoring the crowd to what Bay Faction delivers: a promise.
Born out of Boston, Bay Faction is the jazz rock band whose mixture of emotional turmoil and steady down tempo make for the kind of music that not only deserves attention, but sustains it entirely. Emerging from the online forum (“does anyone wanna create a band?”) rage, Bay Faction’s first self-titled LP in 2015 launched them into a budding spotlight, where a growing fan base fell in love with their raw emo lyrics and guitar serenades. Following the release of their 2018 album, Florida Guilt, Bay Faction has been on tour around America performing throughout last year and is now on their Spring 2020 tour.
Flooded in red light, Bay Faction starts their set off with a slow guitar solo, calming the audience's excitement. Lead singer, James McDermott, has a voice that can transform the crowd into a lull of emotion. Bay Faction knows the crowd and the crowd knows Bay Faction, crooning right alongside the band's every lyric. Each component of the band forms a harmonious unison, creating an auditory landscape that works the audience, playing with their emotions until the sounds gradually transitioning into beats that people can shove to in the mosh pit.
While each song was met with fans recognizing every line, a crowd favorite “Sasquatch .22” from their initial LP had the audience changing the lyrics from “And I’m wasted like Friday night” to “And I’m wasted like Thursday night.” And in these pockets, the love that Bay Faction has created between their music and the fans genuinely shines; they see each other and they understand each other. By the end of the set, the crowd was chanting, “One more song! One more song!” and Bay Faction returned to send their fans off with one more slow anthem to close the evening. The promise that Bay Faction guarantees is consistent and its found within its mesmerizing sounds of bass guitar, subtle synth sounds, and the gritty lyrics: Bay Faction gets it.