I found myself at another sold out show last week at Johnny Brenda’s to hear the Norwegian-born singer-songwriter Aurora.
Tor Miller opened the evening. Four young guys (sans man buns) whose music was a little poppy, but their dancing was a little new wavey. I guess all opening bands for sold out shows at Johnny Brenda’s need to be four young men. That’s cool, I get it. They played a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I can’t make you love me,” which I found to be a curious choice. In any case, they seemed to be having a great time and I loved that they all wore Aurora shirts (by the way, Aurora’s band then wore Tor Miller shirts when it was their turn on stage).
Aurora then came out with her band soon after. She is this little adorable elf of a girl who has a really great voice. Never underestimate small women, this little one could sing. (Ironically, the crowd there was on the average 6 feet tall. It was a good thing Susan couldn’t make it- she would not have been able to see a thing.) She cites Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as her influences and you can totally hear it in her songs. It was by chance that I even had heard of her, but I became totally mesmerized with her voice as she sang David Bowie’s Life of Mars during the credits of an episode of Girls this season. When I realized she was playing Johnny Brenda’s, I ran over to get tickets. It was the perfect concert too, about two hours; I mean she only has one album.
Besides four-guy bands opening for sold out shows, another Johnny Brenda’s aspect seems that the artists are so excited to be there and thankful for the audience. As she looked out at the audience, she said that the night before she had nightmares that no one would show up, and that she “loves us and our cream cheese.” Big crowd pleaser.
Her band was great, but her songs are meant for one to really hear the words. And she is a poet. There was an exceptional tragic song she played with just her guitarist. And she sings with her hands as much as she does with her voice. There was a lot of emotion on
stage that night that was not hokey and she kept thanking us throughout for being so kind and smiling at her.
Johnny Brenda’s is really a great place to showcase new music and everyone should get out there once in a while and support these young kids trying to make it. It is always a feel good show when the artists are as appreciative of the audience as the audience is of the artists.
7 shows to go, 61 days left…