With a new surprise album fresh in fans’ ears, and alien voices between hers’, Norwegian wonder Aurora graced London with a sold out show, highlighting that it really is nice to be nice… And it’s incredible to be a bohemian, super-talented star. (To put it into context, Aurora ensured a fan who’d fainted was attended to and everyone else was OK early in the set, before getting back to what she does best — performing at 100%.)
Of course, new release Infections Of A Different Kind – Step 1 is showcased, with most tracks heard live for the first time, but the set list also honours the singles and album-track favourites of debut All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, as well as early work, and some songs even newer than the new release, presumably from Infections… – Step 2. But it’s acapella covers, and old favourites at that, that bookend the show – Nature Boy and Life On Mars? – demonstrating a passion for classic songwriting and highlighting a vocal that’s pitch perfect.
Spiritual themes and dramatic production bring Aurora’s lyrics and mythologies to life. On Churchyard, the harmony-laden introduction slowly leads into a percussive hymn to him, while Soft Universe is a pulsing, electronic power ballad, with the artist’s tribal mysticism woven in between. Recent singles Forgotten Love and Queendom are given an extra injection in a live setting, thanks in part to the dancers from the latter’s video that appear for a smattering of the songs throughout the evening, bridging the gap between albums and, with Aurora’s inclusionn in the routines, asserting her status as a performer or artist rather than simply a singer songwriter.
Of the early numbers, crisp, dramatic ballad Winter Bird allows vocals to build alongside the story, while the acoustic take on Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) allows them to take over and take centre stage. But it’s the new numbers that hold the most intrigue; Animal and The Seed, while heard live before, weren’t included in Step 1, and perhaps rightfully so. More dramatic than anything else on record, and clearly numbers that surge through her, it’s a sign that Step 2 will take Aurora closer to the heights of Kate Bush or Björk, and avoid any confusion relating to a certain cover from a Christmas advert. Not that Half The World Away was bad, but in terms of unique talent, as well as the company she keeps, Aurora is in another universe.