Aurora @ Palais Theatre

My crazy busy concert-going week concluded with another fabulous live show from the enchanting, quirky and adorable Norwegian songbird.

When it rains, it pours! There are many months when my evenings are free and uneventful, and other times it’s a total cluster with four gigs in six days. I actually had to pass on a couple of Tuesday night concerts I’d have loved to see, since I didn’t think I’d have enough stamina and energy for four late nights in a row.

This was my second time seeing Aurora, who in the last three years quickly became one of my new favourites, as well as exploding in popularity on TikTok (not that I care for TikTok personally). Her high, pure voice is both childlike and ageless, one of the most unique in modern pop music, and she has a solid catalogue of haunting ballads and euphoric electro bangers, including her excellent last album The Gods We Can Touch, for my money her strongest so far. Last time I saw her live, I fell in love with her otherworldly vibe and the sheer sense of positivity she brought to her performance, so I very much looked forward to seeing her again post-pandemic.

I love Palais Theatre and I was lucky to arrive just in time to see it gloriously lit up during the sunset:

I always get mixed up between the orchestra and stalls sections at Palais, which confusingly follow the same naming system. At first I was overjoyed to see how close my seat in row F was to the stage… before realising that my ticket was in fact for the other row F, much further away. I was expecting a fairly mixed crowd, but even so, I was surprised to see a few kids as young as five or six in the audience. The little girl in the row before me unfortunately didn’t seem to have a good time, with her parents spending most of the concert fussing over her before packing and leaving altogether well before the end.

Aurora took the stage in a long flowing white dress with a spiky corset that seemed to channel Madonna’s iconic 90s Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra, against the evocative blood-moon backdrop:

It wasn’t too long before the responsive and enthusiastic audience was up on their feet, grooving to the dancier tracks from the latest album as well as older favourites like Running With The Wolves. The gorgeous pairing of Exist For Love and A Potion for Love meanwhile displayed a softer, contemplative side of Aurora’s music.

If I had to pin down Aurora’s live appeal apart from her pristine voice, I’d have to go with sincerity, which comes through freely in her natural and at times wild dancing and graceful movements as well as her singing. You feel like you’re watching an artist who gives it all onstage and holds nothing back. Her quirky personality made her in-between banter charmingly unpredictable and all the cuter for her soft Norwegian accent. At one point Aurora shared her childhood belief that she began her life as a bird that her parents had before she was born; on a more sober note, the self-acceptance anthem Cure For Me prompted an anecdote about coming out as bisexual, which Aurora described as one of the happier coming out stories thanks to the support she received from family and friends.

The dramatic Churchyard is still my favourite Aurora song and a truly spine-tingling experience live; I hope it never ever leaves her set list. It would have been nice to see her throw in one of her many excellent covers, but I really can’t complain one bit. Whether they were seeing Aurora for the first time or not, the audience’s collective heart was clearly melted by her talent and elfin charm.

P.S. The only real disappointment of last week’s epic string of gigs was the official merchandise. I do love keeping an artist T-shirt as a memento of good times, but this time around none of the designs tempted me.

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