The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Audible Aura rocks the Roxy with style

Imagine being a teenager going to New York City for the first time, and the only thing you can remember is seeing a girl overdosing, possibly on heroin, at the counter of a store called “Funhouse.” Fast-forward 10 years, and Maura Murphy stands on stage at the Roxy singing about her experience at the “Funhouse” with lyrics like, “Walk into a gothic store that now reminds me a little of what they said Hell would look like. It claims it has quality rock ‘n’ roll gear. Does that include the girl overdosing by the counter?”

It’s 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night and the Roxy is packed. Although most people in Los Angeles don’t go out to clubs until later, fans came out early to hear the band perform. The Roxy crowd of more than 100 is mostly young people between the ages of 18 and 35. With drinks in hand, the Roxy audience was ready to rock-out to the sounds of Aura.

When the lights dimmed and the black curtains went up, the crowd screamed with excitement and rushed to the stage as the lead singer emerged from the darkness with a guitar in hand. As the music began, the people in the front started jumping up and down. As the music began to play, Murphy stood with her hands up and legs out making the shape of a star.

After the intro “Free From your Mind,” Aura goes right in to “Funhouse.” The song’s lyrics are real, because it’s something that happened to her. The music goes from being very fast with punchy guitar cords to a slow serene sound with Murphy singing, “It took her mind. It took her time,” emphasizing the feeling of a drug overdose.

On stage, Murphy slows her dancing to move along with the music. When you think the song is over, it speeds up again and the crowd screams with excitement. Aside from the singing and guitars, what makes “Funhouse” such a great song is the ever-changing drum patterns. Warren Johnson, the band’s drummer, uses technical drumbeat patterns with different fills and rolls. His playing sets him apart from an average drummer in an alternative rock band, by him using the entire drumkit.

Aura formed in 2001 before Murphy finished school at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in voice and music business. Murphy and her bandmates, Nick Johnson (lead guitar) and Warren Johnson (drummer), all moved from New York. Although they didn’t move here together as a band, they brought their New York roots, and along with Marcelo Feldman (bass guitar), uniting in California as Aura.

The band’s sound can be described as a mix of Indie, rock and alternative, which sounds like a mix between Evanescence and No Doubt. Aura is not as dark as Evanescence and has an upbeat rhythm that sounds more like No Doubt from the 90s. Murphy’s voice is similar to that of Amy Lee, the singer for Evanescence, especially when she holds her note at the end of “Love is a Drug.”

“Love is a drug. It’s never enough. It’s never enough and I can’t give it up. Even when I get what I want, I need more. I crave more. My heart’s banging on your door,” Murphy sings.

The crowd sings along, and by the end of the song “Would You Die for Love,” Murphy is on her knees completely into the song like a little girl alone in her room singing along to her favorite music.

Murphy makes connections with the audience by locking eyes with them and acting as if she is only singing to that one person. Nick, the comedian on the stage, makes faces during his solos in “Lead Me On.” He uses several different effects on the guitar to make it sound like it’s crying. His solo makes the crowd scream with more excitement as Murphy dances around the stage. Nick is a great guitarist and the solo performance in that song proves he has the chops.

For an acoustic performance of “Escape,” Murphy played guitar and demonstrated her vocal range and talents singing a ballad, which gave a soothing end to the rock ‘n’ roll night.

Aura has self-released two albums, “Running Yourself Against Nothing” and “Between Reality and a Dream.” For more information about Aura, visit their MySpace page at or their Web site at

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