Photos by Neil Van
Norwegian electro-pop singer Aurora commented that the capacity crowd gathered at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto was one of the largest she had seen so far on her tour of North America.
She seemed to be genuinely shocked at the number of people there.
She frequently thanked the audience throughout her 90 minute set and was given several gifts, including a Pride flag, which she held up triumphantly to a thunderous cheer. She led the crowd in a sing-along of ‘Happy Birthday’ for an audience member and when the band took a bow at the end of the two song encore, she seemed to be on the verge of tears.
Aurora kept up a playful banter with the audience, joking that they could send her their toes if they fell off due to the extreme cold that the city has been experiencing in recent weeks and stated that she was feeling under the weather herself but was feeling better due to the classic remedy of a bowl of soup.
Openers Talos played a competent set but there was little doubt who everyone was there to see. The people trickling in were treated to the Irish band’s electronic music. The two drummers created an interesting dynamic as did the live instruments. Admittedly, the band did rely a little too heavily on the whole “Quiet/Loud/Explosive climax” sound but it was well played and frontman Eoin French had an easy going stage presence.
By the time Aurora took to the stage, there was a palpable sense of excitement and the venue was rammed. She received a big cheer when she bounded on stage and immediately launched into ‘Churchyard’. The diminutive singer has a powerful stage presence and as several songs proved, the comparisons to Bjork are well founded.
Her vocals had a soaring, operatic quality to them. The aptly titled ‘Quiet Earthquake’ started out quietly before the bass-heavy beat kicked in. Her dramatic delivery created something truly mesmerizing.
She expressed her appreciation for the venue’s architecture after ‘Warrior’. She kept up an admirable amount of energy through the evening, whether she was dancing around the stage or stalking across it like a cat on the prowl. When she said she gives it her all, there was little doubt she meant it.
Fittingly, she introduced a song for all the emotional people in the audience that had a metronome-like beat.
Musically, it was a good mix of electro-pop bangers and more subdued numbers that saw her tackling more serious topics such as the battles with addiction people in her life have fought. She turned in a starkly minimal take on ‘5,4,3,2,1’ with a acapella intro. Another beautiful moment came when just she and one of her bandmates were on stage for a song about finding the potential goodness in human kind. It had an accessible pop feel.
Towards the end of the evening, Aurora said that she is a tiny human being with big dreams. If the amazing show she put on is any indication, she is well on her way to fulfilling them