Aurora + Austen: Live gallery and review | The Triffid | Monday 6 May 2019

It seems highly appropriate at this time of year – Eurovision month – to be seeing a Norwegian chanteuse, if chanteuse is defined as an alt-emo-confounding-compelling-ecomentalist pocket-sized powerhouse. The sold out Triffid show was appropriately opened by local artist Austen, a synthy, indie popster with tartan pants and a solid set of pipes. She was joined for her minimalist but engaging set by a guitar and laptop-wielding collaborator and together they made a positive impression as the crowd sent radiant love in the warm up for AURORA.

To miss Game of Thrones Monday is a big call in this house, but the Tog, Junior Boy and I were well rewarded for our sacrifice with AURORA in full flight. A physically tiny, almost 23 year-old with a fairy-like presence, resplendent in red satin and tulle, AURORA bounded onto the stage and immediately possessed it. Despite retina burns from the lighting through the first few songs, AURORA had us captured with her energy, lyrical depth, soul vibrating bass and between song heart-to-hearts. Her first fireside chat, to an utterly silent crowd, alluded to the curved roof of The Triffid being a spaceship that we were all in together, sailing off to another world. Her devotees were completely up for that wild ride and she rewarded them with radio hit ‘Warrior’ at song two which was enjoyed with gusto by both the artist and the crowd.

AURORA shared her unfortunate nasal state – the ‘snot was making its journey down my throat’ completely straight-faced and guileless. We felt for her and urged her on. Although there were a few beautiful, ballad like songs in the set, she brought the crowd back up with ‘Animal’, a thumping singalong anthem followed by the heartbreaking ‘Murder Song’, a completely literal exploration of domestic violence with a tragic ending/beginning. It was mirrored by the haunting ‘Churchyard’ in tone and theme. The crowd went wild for ‘The Seed’, a Lorax-esque/indigenous American enviro belter with the theme ‘you cannot eat money’ based on the quote, “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money”. AURORA was candid about her inspirations of ‘ancient’ and ‘native’ music and her sense of being ‘disconnected from humans.’ She made a genuine and emotional connection with those who were like her; ‘emotional’, ‘a little bit different’ and made them welcome. She made genuine and intense eye contact with the crowd constantly without a shred a self consciousness.

The music has a definite Nordic feel – driving bass, big frame drum percussions, ethereal tones – reminiscent of Bjork and even Of Monsters and Men (who she supported in 2015), with some shades of Clannad as well. The final song of the main set, the 2015 release ‘Running With the Wolves’, didn’t lack an ounce of energy (this reviewer will admit to a mondegreen moment of thinking she was singing “Running with the rules”. How civically obedient of her). AURORA appeared to have a brilliant time onstage, dancing with gay abandon and letting the energy of her crowd take her away in the beautiful spaceship.

IMAGES (c) NJA Photography

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