Aurora is the latin word for dawn. She is the Roman goddess, renewing herself each morning, flying across the sky announcing the arrival of the sun. Aurora, the Norwegian singer and producer, suits her name – her iconic look and unique brand of dreamy folk pop music feels like the heralding of a new dawn. Playing a moving, goosebump-inducing live set to a packed out crowd at the 02, Aurora set out only to prove her skill.
Aurora was supported by her younger sister Iris, who opened the show and warmed the crowd up nicely with her own brand of dream pop electronica. Iris addressed the crowd, her voice sweet and whimsical, ‘I’ve never been to this city before, I went to a cafe ….what was it called? Anyway, nice coffee in this city’. There was a thirty minute break before Aurora and her band came on to whoops and cheers from the crowd, wearing her staple two piece trouser and long sleeve kimono-esque outfit.
Her voice is angelic, sweeping across octaves effortlessly, the Norwegian tribal chanting adding another element to the song to elevate it further
The busy crowd was made up of people of all ages, ranging from teenage fangirls to older couples, all who admired the simple stage setup, which featured a moon crater backdrop and sculpture in the centre, perfect for projections. Aurora began with Churchyard, and the hairs instantly stood on the back of my neck. Her voice is angelic, sweeping across octaves effortlessly, the Norwegian tribal chanting adding another element to the song to elevate it further. I’ve always preferred Aurora’s live versions of her songs, as I don’t think she needs much else alongside her lyrics and her voice. The raw power of her truth needs no distractions.
For such a small, sweet person, Aurora has great stage presence. She uses her whole body to dance as if it were part of the musical performance itself – and it makes for great viewing. Aurora’s songs heavily feature wild imagery from wolves, moonlight, running and hunting, having a hypnotic effect of transporting the listener to an almost prehistoric land, where human nature itself is confronted.
Facing each other intenently, the vocal harmonies delivered between them was pure magic, silencing the room
Aurora knows just when to be quiet and when to be loud, when to be vulnerable and when to be strong. She couldn’t have demonstrated this more than during a rendition of It Happened Quiet, when all members of the band but guitarist Silja left the stage. Facing each other intenently, the vocal harmonies delivered between them was pure magic, silencing the room. You could hear a pin drop. The O2 transformed into a church and we were witnessing angels singing, something so pure and ethereal that all worries washed away into nothing. Next came Runaway, a song Aurora wrote when she was just 12 years old. The poignant lyrics ‘Would I run off the world someday? I kept running for a soft place to fall’, hinting at the self harm caused from running away from your problems. I think this is where Aurora’s worldwide popularity stems – her ability to tap into the universal aspects of what it is to be a human. We heard the latest single Apple Tree, followed by The Seed, announced by Aurora: ‘This is for the planet’.
Queendom is a nice tribute to the power of women, and got the crowd dancing. Aurora took her shoes off and danced barefoot. I noticed a man in the audience who was nervously clutching an envelope. He soon reached in and threw a pink haired Troll on stage, which Aurora proceeded to quickly pick up and pretended to eat. Aurora genuinely seemed happy to be there, giving every song her all and thanking the fans humbly, ‘You really are amazing, thank you so much for coming here tonight and for enjoying my music. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you’. Aurora ended her set on an epic rendition of the single that ricocheted her to stardom, Running with the Wolves, before coming out for an encore of Daydreamer, its gentle lullaby sound a perfect ending to one of the best shows I’ve seen in years.
It takes a lot of artists a long time to reach a secure understanding of professional dynamics, but Aurora has it at just 22. With her understanding of music already well beyond her years, how much more does she have in store? We’re excited to find out.
Photos by Dominika Scheibinger