Photos by Rhoades Hughes
AURORA’s performance at Rough Trade last week almost seemed to come from two different people. Between songs the audience saw Aurora Aksnes, the bashful young girl who seemed completely overwhelmed by the adoring crowd, all of whom seemed genuinely grateful to be there. Each time the music began, though, she transformed into AURORA, the commanding songwriter and performer who dripped every ounce of passion she had into the delivery of each gorgeous song. She strayed from playing any instruments, but to a certain extent, the raw energy that came from her frenzied hand movements and expressions had a texture of their own. She appeared to be trying to connect to someone who wasn’t there, and it gave the music a very visceral, authentic feel.
Performing songs from her recently released EP and beyond, the entire show was immensely engaging from beginning to end. Whether creating the huge sound and deep instrumental layers of “Under Stars” or singing a cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” with only an acoustic guitar, her voice was the set’s anchor. Calling it powerful almost doesn’t to capture the experience — it filled the room but managed to feel delicate, bouncing off he walls as she demonstrated her dynamic range. Catch her whenever and wherever you can — the venues will continue to get bigger.