Aurora’s Latest NYC Performance!
When I stumble on Aurora’s music late last year I was instantly sucked in. Her voice is light and airy. Her lyrics are moody and are full of enough reflections to last a lifetime. She’s original and pretty much exactly what I look for in an artist. I could have easily included Aurora in my roundup of rising female artists from a couple of weeks back but I figured I’d save my thoughts for her performance.
Today you can make up for lost time and get your daily dose of music goodness!
Last week I headed to the Bowery Ballroom in NYC with my significant other, A, in tow. We haven’t been to a concert together since last summer. It’s incredibly tragic but his job is annoying at times and I
want to can can’t really complain too much about it. Babies need to be delivered and their families don’t really care about my concert schedule y’know? Haha. Enough of my whining let’s get to the concert coverage!
Let’s start off by saying that Aurora Aksnes is a 19 year old from Norway. She is quirky in this most endearing way imaginable, very self-aware, funny and above all else – she is a lyrical genius.
Most of you know that I’m a painter but I’m also a writer. I’ve written books, short stories, poems and I probably write more than is necessary at all times because I just love the power of language. There is so much that can be said by simply stringing together a few letters and when you throw tone, gesture and appearance on top of that you have a recipe for self-expression that is like nothing else.
Just think about it for a moment. We take speech for granted because it’s something that most of us do all day every day without much consideration but if you stop for a moment and really ponder it the words we use and the way we use them are like a type of magic that anyone can have access to.
Okay, I might have rattled off into wordsmith oblivion but the point is that Aurora knows exactly how to get her thoughts across in an impactful way and it’s impressive for someone who English is not her first language.
In an interview, Aurora, recounted how growing up she would listen to songs by Bob Dylan. She mentioned that even though she couldn’t understand the exact words being used she could still gather the meaning behind each tune from the emotion she heard through the words.
With Aurora, in her debut full-length, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend, and in her sold out Bowery Ballroom performance, the emotion is always crystal clear.
What is a stan? What is a civilized stan? What do Aurora’s fans look like? All good questions.
If you don’t know what a stan is let’s just say that it’s an overzealous hardcore fan. That’s the general way of putting it but stans have been known to get vicious, aggressively attacking anyone who opposes the celebrity/star who they’ve chosen to raise up to the level of a god among men.
That might sound incredibly dramatic but I dare you to go and leave a disparaging comment on anything remotely related to Beyoncé and if you don’t get attacked by hordes of fans aka the Beyhive in .02 seconds then god is truly on your side my friend.
With Aurora her fan base was clearly energetic and excited to see her but they conducted themselves in a mature fashion. The age range was anywhere from twenty all the way to just past middle-aged and everyone was friendly.
A and I were even able to completely move around where we stood. I’ve never been that close to the stage and had actual room to move around.
The Opener & The Show
I won’t say too much about the opener, Tor Miller, because I plan to feature him later but he’s from New York and worth a listen! Keep a look out next month for more info on him as well as other artists you should know!
Aurora’s voice was exactly what I hoped it would be. She gave an excellent performance and if she just sang and then left I would have been happy. Her funny comments in between songs and her genuine humbleness made me even more of a fan than I was before I arrived.
While waiting to get in a fellow fan was holding this incredible large-scale drawing of Aurora and it was really cool to see him be able to give it to her. She stopped the show for a moment to show off his work and thank him for his gift.
During the show, she made a few more nods to fans in the crowd, thanked the openers multiple times and remarked at how overwhelming it felt to play at a sold out venue like the Bowery Ballroom. She couldn’t believe that people from NYC would know the words to a Norwegian girls songs and the audience collectively gushed at how sweet she was.
The attendees were also noticeably more polite than any other show I’ve been to. As she sang stripped back songs like “Murder Song (5,4,3,2,1)”, or the closing song “Through the Eyes of a Child” the chatter died down and the room fell near silent.
You may see those songs titles and think that you might be in for a kleenex box inducing album and that might be the case but Aurora knows it too.
After playing a few upbeat songs she said something along the lines of “okay now I’m going to bring us back down again” as she introduced her next, pretty sad, song. It’s that self-aware humor that makes her relatable and it’s exactly why she’s been selling out shows and captivating audiences across generations.
NOTE: In lieu of dedicating an entire post to Prince (R.I.P) I’d suggest that you hop on over to this excellent article on AfroPunk that highlights some of the overlooked musical gems by this iconic artist here.