Aurora at Brixton Academy
The stage at Brixton Academy last night was set with a large orb-like structure sitting amongst swirling dry ice. Was the 25-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter going to pull a Spinal Tap and emerge on stage from a cocoon? Alas, no. But no matter. The place was packed with anticipation and nothing in this show disappointed. Two ridiculous diva-ish fans, one with a giant fur coat wrapped around him like a latter-day Snow Queen (it actually had a train) were necessarily disturbed as seats were taken.
As Aurora took to the stage, the orb revealed itself to be a giant circular light, slightly flattened at the bottom to suggest the sun was about to set or rise. It was a simple but effective piece of stage design, meaning that she was silhouetted against this backdrop strikingly. The glowing circle changed colour according to the song and turned the already pretty Art Deco surroundings into something magical.
The performer was dressed in a diaphanous white dress, her white-blonde hair and luminous skin making her seem like a fairy not always entirely in this realm. The show started with Heathens, and then followed with Blood in the Wine which sounds like a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. Her songs often feel inspired by The Chain: the building to a crescendo, the emotional intensity, the soaring vocals. Her voice is flawless, reaching high notes that wisp into the air, pulling on your heartstrings as they dissipate.
The noise the crowd made throughout the show was quite deafening; people love her. The sleeper hit that made her name and inspired Billie Eilish to make music, Runaway, received a rapturous reception. Her songwriting is so strong that each song is a world, a moment: from the menacing Dangerous Thing, the life-affirming Everything Matters to the lead single from her new album, The Gods We Can Touch, A Temporary High. A surprise highlight was Cure for Me, a playful upbeat dance number, which included a Charleston on the chorus. Running with the Wolves was punchy and visceral and naturally included some tuneful howling.
Aurora spoke effusively to the crowd, her girlish diaphanous wisp of a voice impossibly high. Her quirkiness was on display (“What if we laid eggs?” she mused at one juncture. The system we have going works pretty well, but sure). She seemed unusually at home on stage and comfortable in her own skin. A trained dancer from the age of six, she moved in lithe swoops, at times ethereal, at times more visceral. Some moves felt tribal and witchy, as do some of her tunes.
Something about her mesmerises people. Perhaps the fact that she leads with her weirdness speaks to the moment. She embraces all her other-worldly qualities and uses them to her advantage. Named after a phenomenon of the Northern night sky, Aurora has proven herself to be one of the brightest and singular lights in pop’s firmament.
Photos: Miguel de Melo
For further information and future events visit Aurora’s website here.
Watch the video for the single A Temporary High here: