Aurora - Brooklyn, NY - 3.7.19
Brooklyn Steel - Brooklyn, NY 3.7.19
Words & Photos by Jordyn Beschel
Upon arrival to Brooklyn Steel, fans already wrapped around the building hours before doors--many appropriately dressed in their “Animal” warpaint. Patrons packed in tight, probably in spite of the below freezing temperatures outside, allowing for opening acts Sean McVerry and Talos to perform to a saturated crowd. Aurora’s longest and most devoted fans found their stations on the front barricade where they make friendly chit-chat with their neighbors, enlightened me on the conspiracy that Aurora is Florence + The Machine’s adopted daughter, and consistently cheered and supported the opening acts. By the time Aurora came on, fans were nice and cozy and totally amped up for her sold-out performance.
I’m absolutely convinced that if you search the word “ethereal” in a dictionary, Aurora Aksnes comes up as a synonym. Though this theory hasn’t been tested (yet), watching Aurora live in concert is truly an other-worldly experience. The transparent jellyfish-shaped lanterns were a minimalistic touch to the fantasy-themed landscape that existed as a backdrop behind the band. The saturated lights and soft layers of her stage outfit created a color palette that, I imagine, daydreams consist of. The fluidity of her movements and her multifaceted vocal range are mesmerizing--it is almost unsettling to witness how much talent exists in a single person.
Opening up with the ominous choir vocals in “Churchyard”, Aurora and her accompanying band set the night off with a high note (quite literally). Since this North American tour was in support of her latest album, Infections Of A Different Kind (Step I), it was only natural to see a majority of the set list be songs from the album. Still, though, we got to hear the hits from all throughout her discography. From vibrant and danceable anthems like “Forgotten Love”, “Running With The Wolves”, and “Queendom” to more softer and somber sing-alongs like “It Happened Quiet”, “I Went Too Far”, and “Infections of a Different Kind”, Aurora had the crowd captivated with her musical diversity whether they were a pre-existing fan or not.
A highly admirable aspect of Aurora’s live show, though, was her relatability and her genuine appreciation to her fans. Multiple gifts were brought to the front to be passed on to her on stage, and the smile that stretched from ear to ear never seemed to fade. Her quirkiness, like blowing her nose on stage and sharing her nap-induced fever-dream of living inside a cucumber, created a sense of comfort and contentment that radiated throughout the venue.
Right before playing “Home”, Aurora went on a tangent to explain how she tries to incorporate sadness into her happy songs and hope into her sad songs--something that is quite eminent in the way she creates emotional complexity by countering joyous instrumentals with her melancholy lyrics and vice versa. Though she followed up this heartfelt moment with saying that the ceiling fan in the center of the venue makes her want to set herself on fire, it is clear that Aurora houses a world of emotions and has no fear in expressing herself no matter what she is feeling.
Without a doubt, Aurora goes unmatched in the international indie-pop market, creating a division between herself and the mundanity of mainstream music. Though this North American run saw its last stop in Washington D.C. this past weekend, we can expect to see more of Aurora once her next full-length, Infections Of A Different Kind (Step II), is alive and released. As of right now, we can continue to blast “Animal” on loop and sing and dance to our hearts’ content.