Live Reviews

Aurora – SWG3, Glasgow: Live Review

Aurora brings a unique stage presence, and incredible songs and music, to an admiring and appreciative Glasgow audience.

Aurora, is a musical phenomenon, communicating through her songwriting a profound sense of what it is to live in contemporary society. Setting these songs within enchanting musical soundscapes, and a thrilling folk-influenced electropop, that is both unique and also resonates of the classic synth-pop bands such as Depeche Mode and Heaven 17.   

Aurora is playing the SWG3, a multi-arts venue, that’s has hosted bands like Sunn 0))) and Sepultura, from the metal world. Interestingly, metal is an early musical influence acknowledged by Aurora. The venue is completely sold out tonight.  Playing in the larger Galvanizers area, Aurora nevertheless creates a feeling of direct connection with the audience, who have been queuing very patiently to get into the venue, with a palpable sense of expectancy in the air.

When Aurora comes on to the stage, accompanied by The Forbidden Fruits of Eden track, there is an incredible reaction from the audience, as if welcoming home a close friend or family member. Aurora is bathed in red and standing in front of a gigantic disc that changes colour throughout the set. With her excellent band Aurora commences the set with Heathens, one of the absolutely standout tracks from the recent The Gods We Can Touch album. It’s a passionate delivery of the song, which combines striking imagery and an infectious electro rhythm.

Before playing Runaway, Aurora touchingly tells the audience that she has been worried about them standing in line waiting to get into the venue and goes on to say in the most heartfelt of ways, “You have created a home for me.” Aurora’s microphone then seems to break down, however not deterred Aurora continues talking to the audience, gracefully accepting a clearly cherished letter from one of the audience. This is a moment in the concert indicative of an artist who is impressively authentic in caring about and seeking to reach out to their audience. 

Warrior, from the All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend album, is completely epic in performance, with thunderous drums and cascading keyboards. Aurora’s voice soars and the audience has their fists in the air during the chorus. 

A Dangerous Thing, again from this year’s The Gods We Can Touch album, Aurora prefaces by sharing with the audience that: “You find something you hope is a good thing, and it turns out damaging, but you do emerge…” This performance of the song has some lovely harmony vocals from the band, and the disc behind Aurora turns blue, as the repeated words “No love in the end” flow from the stage.

Aurora is an artist who follows without hesitation, feelings, and instincts as they emerge in the moment, and suddenly announces a desire to change the setlist, to play Exist For Love. Aurora performs it, accompanied by just acoustic guitar, while silhouetted on stage in near darkness. It is an astonishing vocal performance, with Aurora’s voice filling every corner of the venue space. Aurora’s expressive use of her hands is very resonant of Kate Bush, and the audience sways in complete sympathy with the song. 

Aurora commences the song Everything Matters with a sequence of balletic steps. The band provides an atmospheric musical setting of deep bass and splashing cymbals, as Aurora’s voice gracefully rises and falls with the music, with the words “To me, to me” seeming to hang in the air.    

Cure for Me, is a set highlight, with its classic Depeche Mode-like dance groove. The hypnotic vocal really drives the song over the spiky electropop backing. The audience has their arms in the air and the stage is a mass of colour. The song deservedly receives one of the biggest cheers of the evening.  

Aurora then talks to the audience about relearning how to be on stage. Learning again how to move and to sing, and how she thought this might be the most difficult thing. With a moving honesty, Aurora reveals that to receive applause is in fact the most difficult thing. Aurora goes on to talk to the audience about how so many people are hurting and living in emergencies all over the world, and no one is looking after them. There is a completely empathic response from the audience.

The song A Temporary High irresistibly combines an insistent electro beat with the anthemic folk rock of The Waterboys. Aurora seems to cover every space on the stage, somehow matching the lyric “And when you run, she’s running faster”. Running With The Wolves, is a great signature set-closer, with a completely fabulous Kraftwerk style instrument break. The applause from the audience is tumultuous.

The first number of the encore is Giving In To The Love, an utterly sublime pop song, and at that moment you feel the audience and artist are one, as they both wave their arms with the music.

An Aurora concert is a very special and very human experience, with an equality between the artist and audience, accompanied by a musical signature that is completely entrancing. It is a moment in time of connection, which in an unpredictable world, everyone who was there will treasure. 

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Photos of Aurora by Lewis Allen. 

You can find Aurora here: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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