Sharply contrasting those of neighboring nightclubs, the Friday night sounds in Velvet Jones were of a soothing and melodic nature. The acoustic band Azure Ray took the stage and introduced themselves only briefly before launching into song, showing their audience that an entertaining night out doesn’t require the steady beating of a bass and colorful flashing lights.
Disbanded in 2004, Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink only recently reunited for this current Azure Ray tour. As a unit, the two seem to fit together, both in appearance and vocally. Hair and clothing make the two look like sisters, but more importantly, the girls’ voices gracefully blend together to form one complete sound. Americana influenced acoustic with a touch of electronica, Azure Ray’s music is anything but common. The clear focal point of the night was the vocals, airy, dreamy, and resonating as though each musical note had been diluted to its purest form.
Accompanied by a keyboardist, bassist, and occasionally a drummer, the duo refrained from putting on a showy performance and elected to simply stand at their mikes, guitars in hands-a perfect choice for keeping in tune with the raw quality of the music. The girls warmed up with songs from their 2001 self-titled debut, opening with the hit “Sleep.” The girls were only a few songs into their show before “encore” cries started to erupt from the crowd. In response, Fink and Taylor chuckled and replied playfully, “Okay,” they said, dragging out the syllables, “we’ll play some more.”
As the program continued the tempo picked up with “If You Fall” from their third album, Hold On Love, a song with a more basic tempo that allowed for some head bobbing and foot tapping. Another crowd-pleaser was “Hold On Love,” during which the girls’ voices were accompanied by a harmonica, played beautifully by the band’s drummer.
Near the end of the show, the band performed two unnamed ballads from their as-yet-unnamed new album, then closed with the popular “November” before bidding their audience a fond farewell.