Last night was a clear night and so the air was freezing - the Albert Hall of Manchester was the venue and the queues 45 minutes before were already over a hundred! I was shocked too, but when you read this and listen to the artists you'll see why.
As I was a bit further back in the queue than normal my usual gig space of right on the barriers was taken up. I did check out a spot at the front on the right, right in front of the speakers but I made the decision early on to experience this gig from upstairs. It means that the videos and pics aren't the same as they usually are with my articles. But it's not about the quality of them anyway for me. I want to share my passion and the give you a taste of what it was like to be there.
I wouldn't normally do this but Manchesters Albert Hall being an old methodist church has some of the most incredible acoustics of any venue in Manchester. When you add this to the type of music I was witnessing tonight I knew that one gig upstairs wouldn't be a bad thing and also having seen the stage set up I knew I'd be afforded a better view up there also (see videos below).
So after plonking myself 3 rows up (mid) to the let of the stage I put my ear plugs in (always wear them peeps) and waited. I wasn't seated that long before Lauren Jean took to the stage. She said she was very excited being a local (she lives in Lancashire so not a million miles away) and she how surreal this all was to be playing this venue at 15 years old! She reminded me of Freya Ridings and being a solo artist who plays the electric piano she's going to draw this comparison but it's by no means unfair. She's definitely one to watch for the future and if she keeps going, it won;t be long before she's headlining in venues like this.
Up next was Iris. I'd not heard of her prior to tonights gig and if you're a fan of this bog you know a) I will always look to see the support and b) My main love is guitar music, so I'm not going to listen to all artists that are similar to the ones I listen to outside of that genre. Iris is very similar to Aurora and she also happens to share the same drummer as her. This guys played for about 90+ minutes last night (no mean feet). She's a solo singer songwriter who's sound is a rather minimalist electronic sound. I've been lucky enough to spend 6 weeks in Norway in my early 20's and you can almost hear the landscape of the vast, white beautiful expanses in her music. It's really beautiful. Give it a listen.
Then onto the wonderful Aurora. If Norway had it's own Bjork then Aurora is it. If you're a fan of Bjork, Lykee Li or similar then you're going to love this lady.
She started with the very appropriate Churchyard and the place buzzing. Her performance was at times breathtaking. She's obviously been trained in dance/and or ballet as the way she moved across the stage was like that of a ballet dancer.
Her songs are all there own works of art, truly magical and that's not exaggeration. If I was to describe them I would describe their energy as floaty, happy, excited, hopeful and dream like. You know that feeling when you've been at your lowest and you've had a good cry. You've got a plan, now know what you're doing and you're feeling better than you have in a while? Well that's Aurora's music! Her light show and back drop to the stage were the perfect accompaniments to this magical sound.
She recounted an interaction with a homeless man called Chris and how he was in need of help and no one as stopping so she did. She was talking about how so many people walk by people like that and how fascinating that people like Chris, and people who completely ignore him can exist in the same spaces and people be totally unaware. She gave him her hoody (which she'd just bought) and ensured that he was ok before moving on. The story was really moving and the love in the room was fizzingly visceral.
She said that she'd never heard a whole audience singing Running with the Wolves to her and it was something that she would never forget. Going from the love in that vast building last night it's going to be along time before Manchester forgets this nights performance.
I was in the carpark after the gig and got chatting to a man who had been at the gig. He asked me if I'd been to see Aurora and I replied I had and how magical it had been. He said that it was the most heartwarming gig he had been to in a long time. I couldn't have put it better myself.
Pics and videos are all ones I took as per.