Dynamic duo, Las Vegas Headliner Lorena Peril and husband, guitarist/vocalist Ray Jon Narbaitz took a sold-out audience by storm last night during their season-opening performance at Act II Entertainment’s Red Room. She is a tiny, drop-dead gorgeous, bubbly gal, born in San Francisco—but her mother is from El Grullo, Jalisco, so she’s this wonderful blend of San Fran sass, and Jalisco humble. He is the burly, laid-back, soft-spoken hubby, who steps onstage with a mellow, “where-did-the-bong-go” attitude that wins you over, immediately.
Together, Lorena Peril and Ray Jon Narbaitz are dynamite onstage. Their ongoing show at Act II’s Red Room features a fun selection of music, from 80s power ballads to traditional Mexican songs—Peril pays tribute to her humble roots religiously. She feels more at ease covering songs by Cristina Aguilera and Shakira (along with a couple Linda Ronstadt classics), while he leans more towards memorable songs by Billy Joel and Jim Croce, among others.
We’ve heard great pipes in town before, and while her appearance might seem demure, there is nothing small about Peril’s vocal prowess, delivering several show-stopping moments throughout the evening—her maracas ain’t small, either, if you catch my drift. Along the same lines, we’ve heard awesome guitar players locally, but I can’t recall anyone with Narbaitz’s outstanding power rock chops. His playing not only complement their pre-recorded accompaniment tracks with all sorts of quirky guitar riffs and fills throughout the show; it also contrasted beautifully with his very own voice, not that different in range than that of Billy Joel’s, but smoother, more seductive.
We’ve heard great pipes in town before, and while her appearance might seem demure, there is nothing small about Peril’s vocal prowess.
Yes, she may be the headliner, but boy, can he also sing! And together, they support one another with tight harmonies, while also stepping aside from time to time to allow one another a few, precious solo shining moments.
By bringing them into his roster, Act II’s Danny Minini has once again raised the bar as far as quality live performances go in Puerto Vallarta, ultimately making his own job increasingly challenging as new seasons come and go, and that’s what audiences want, anyway! There will be plenty of opportunities to make this amazing duet feel welcome as new Puerto Vallarta residents in the coming months. Performance dates and times are available at Act II Entertainment’s website.
A Musician’s Aside
Quite inadvertently, Ray Jon gifted me with the purest, most precious musical exchange I’ve had in town so far this year. As they reached the end of their take on The Temptations’ classic My Girl, he ended the song playing an expected and proverbial major 7th chord on his guitar. Then he said something along the lines of “gotta love those major 7th chords,” but he topped the chord by singing the major 9th of the chord. (Non-musicians, please allow me to apologize. I hear these things in my head, constantly, whether I choose to, or not!)
So I made a mental note to myself to pick on him after the show. I approached him at the bar and without any introduction I said “you know, that was a major 9th chord, not a major 7th.”
He gave me a look that I would probably give someone if I was standing in the middle of a shopping mall in Tokyo and, suddenly, somebody approached me and simply started speaking in Spanish, my native language.
Then, like a true musician, he quickly hummed the notes of a major 7th chord and said that he had played the chord and had sung the 9th. I said “exactly,” and quickly filled in with my Berklee College of Music upbringing, and how I could really hear him play.
For me, that moment, that gift, that bond, was absolutely priceless.
You made it this far? Please read about “One, Two, CHA-CHA-CHA,” my upcoming performance at The Palm Cabaret and Bar!