While live shows are in short supply, those that push through do not lack in entertainment. Indie pop newcomer, Azure Ryder journeys from a nearby coastal town to take to the stage of Oxford Art Factory. It’s Ryders first ever live show and she’s sold out the venue… for two nights in a row.
Setting the stage was support act, 20 year old bedroom pop artist from North-Queensland, Jack Gray. He’s been gaining the attention of many after his debut releas Red Rental Car and his support performance of Vera Blue for YouTube’s Music Sessions. Gray took to the stage playing his acoustic guitar and keys, sometimes at the same time.
His musical style is like many young solo male artists rising in the charts at the moment but his lyrical maturity is piercing. This can be heard with his song Bullet, written about the loss of young school kids to suicide in his home time as he sings “but you cannot grow old when your mind is lost at sea”. Gray is an engaging songwriter that captives the audience with charisma and songs well beyond his years.
After the release of her debut EP ‘Running with the Wolves’, Ryder gained the attention of many and it’s easy to see why. She joins her band on stage, appearing as though she’s not quite sure where to look but it’s not long before Ryder ditches the training wheels and finds her groove.
As soon Ryder sings, beginning with Stir The Dust, silence washes over the crowd. The tone of her voice is drenched in honey, alike the richness of Florence and the Machine and she holds herself with the same grace. Her musical is a glittery cocktail of Maggie Rogers, Florence and Fleetwood Mac, stirred not shaken.
It’s why I found it surprising for her to cover the iconic number, Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. For an emerging artist, its brave to tackle such a song, and to cover an artist of similar style, dangerous. Yet Ryder completely reinvented Dreams, spinning it into an ethereal tale of vocal wealth, complimented by full harmonies and synth arpeggios that cooed like euphoric magpies.
With the release of her sophomore EP, Crazy With The Light Ryder offered up all four songs Petty Isn’t Pretty, Stronger, Oh What A Relief, and Blue. All of which tell stories of self awareness and growth. During the breakdown of Blue, Ryder stumbled, coming to a hault unsure of what to do next but with the encouragement of the crowd she quickly found her feet again.
The show peaked with the performance of 'Wolves' from Ryder’s debut EP released earlier this year, Running With The Wolves. OAF was silent aside from the celestial voice of Ryder, accompanied by an acoustic guitar. She appeared the most comfortable she’d been all night and the crowd was in awe.
Ryder finished the show with the song that started in all, 'Dizzy'. The debut single was No.1 most played on Triple J, combined releases have amassed more than 11 million streams across digital platforms. 'Dizzy’s' anthemic style was driven by the pounding rhythmic of the drums. The crowd became animated and energetic.
It’s clear to see that Azure Ryder is a pop star on the rise. While at times raw and shy, her music refuses to not be heard and enjoyed. Her songs and performance bring light to what has been a long, silent year.
Listen to ‘Crazy With The Light’ or see Azure Ryder’s upcoming shows here.