The Audreys @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (21/11/08)

Tasha Coates, lead singer of the Audreys, doesn’t normally market herself as a sex siren. Being the only female in the twice-winning ARIA winning blues & roots band of only two CDs (that a 100% hit, folks!), she’s normally seen as the down-to-earth folk child transported from the 1960s.

Tonight, though, she burned on stage at Oxford Art Factory in a sparkly, shimmering dress. Calling for audience invitations to the disco next door, Tasha shimmied her way through a loosely structured set – providing distraction when many of the band’s stringed pieces needed a little extra tuning. Someone get this band a good roadie!

Apart from all the stops and starts for the banjos, ukes and acoustic guitars (stringed seventh heaven), this five-piece showed off their slow, soulful and sexy sounds in style. Obviously a little perturbed by the choice of venue – where thumping bass could be heard from the next room – the band nonetheless pushed on through the nocturnal noises of next-door.

Natural performers, the band works the audience with the old-fashioned pull of –  “less is more’. Their violinist grooves about stage whilst their guitarist could not stop smiling; the simple enjoyment of the band onstage was completely infectious. The throng of Audrey supporters was older and calmer than normally seen at OAF, but the younger front of the crowd were determined to sway and swing in time with the music. Regardless, Tasha’s imploration for people to waltz during one of their íƒâ€ší‚¾ numbers didn’t exactly take off, to say the least.

Moving reverse-chronologically, they offered snippets of their newly-released second album When the Flood Comes, with sexy snippet Lay Me Down getting the audience all feeling a little naughty. They then moved onto older album Between Last Night And Us material. Old favourites abounded during this later half of the set.

Paradise City saw Tasha work that dress and an intense, deep version of Oh, Honey rounded out the set. Of course no Audreys performance would be complete without You and Steve McQueen, which provided the night’s encore. The band was joined by dueting buddies, The Wilson Pickers, who shared the stage with them at points throughout the night.

Thank God for some real music making its way to Oxford Street – let’s hope The Audreys return soon.