AURORA, November 2022 | Credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

AURORA Review – Norwegian Artist Wows Melbourne Audience with Vocal Power and Unvarnished Positivity

AURORA played at the Palais Theatre, St Kilda, on Thursday, 9th March. Brenton Harris reviews.

Norwegian art-pop musician AURORA has one of the most unique and evocative voices in modern pop music. To listen to that voice live and see it emanate from a living human being is an experience bordering on otherworldly.

And so it was for the sold-out crowd at Melbourne’s historic Palais Theatre, who watched on as the Bergen-based artist filled the former movie palace with the sound of her soul.

AURORA – ‘Heathens’

Taking the stage against a blood-moon backdrop, AURORA cast a spell over the room with the ethereal vocals and electro-pop subtleties of ‘Heathens’ and ‘Blood In The Wine’, both lifted from last year’s The Gods We Can Touch. She danced playfully during the latter track’s crescendo, physically embodying the song’s emphasis on surrendering to that which you love and desire.

Wild applause rang out as the softly-spoken AURORA introduced herself and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to perform in such a beautiful space. A pristine reading of ‘Infections Of A Different Kind’ elicited tears of joy from many in attendance. All five voices on stage combined to belt out the complex live arrangement of 2019’s ‘The River’, engendering an overwhelming sensation that left many mouths agape.

The contrast between AURORA’s vocal power and her quirky banter continued to delight. She shared an anecdote from her childhood, revealing that for many years, she believed she had started life as a bird. Given the way her voice soared throughout the show, you’d have been forgiven for thinking she’d never lost touch with that belief.

AURORA – ‘The River’

The back-to-back pairing of ‘Exist For Love’ and ‘A Potion for Love’ showcased the softer side of AURORA’s artistry, with the live treatments sounding absolutely gorgeous. Two members of the backing band stepped forward to sing in three-part harmony on the latter, and you could’ve heard a pin drop in the Palais – everyone present was completely entranced.

AURORA’s dance moves were a spectacle unto themselves. Whether leading the room through the chorus of her 2014 breakout hit ‘Runaway’ or accentuating the electro-drama of ‘Churchyard’, her movements, much like her voice, came off as natural and free. The totality of that package was on display during the slow-burning anthem ‘The Seed’, culminating in the full-voiced refrain, “You cannot eat money / Oh no,” and some wild dancing.

Another anecdote about complimenting but accidentally spooking a nicely dressed older woman brought laughs before AURORA and her band reached dizzying heights with the raw emotion of 2016’s ‘Running With The Wolves’. An energetic rendition of the joyous ‘Daydreamer’ closed out the set proper before one of the loudest encore chants I’ve heard in Melbourne.

AURORA returned to perform the anthem of self-acceptance, ‘Cure For Me’, prompting the audience to sing every line with near-spiritual fervour. As the 3000-strong crowd sang, “I don’t need a cure for me”, it struck me how rare it is to see an artist openly expressing positivity in a way that isn’t naff or clichéd.

An inspired reading of The Gods We Can Touch standout ‘Giving In To The Love’ tied a bow on that sentiment and on AURORA’s performance. As the Norwegian artist danced and sang, and her folksy off-white dress flowed freely, the Palais radiated with love. The blood-moon backdrop returned in time for AURORA and her band to step forward and soak in the applause.

Further Reading

Listen to Fontaines D.C. Cover Nick Drake’s ‘Cello Song’ from Upcoming Tribute Album

AURORA Delivers Stunning Like A Version Covering The Beatles’ ‘Across The Universe’

Charli XCX Review – Ecstatic Devotion at “Tiny” Melbourne Gig

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