White tape in the shape of letters was placed on the sides of Ela Minus’ keyboard and synths. They read “Bright music for dark times.” Much to my dismay, I only caught the tail end of her set due to circumstances outside of my control. Her chill music and those auspicious words foreshadowed things to come.
Austra’s performance was literally bright. Various types of lights adorned the stage. The diverse colors and dance-inducing intensities complemented the electropop music in perfect tandem. Such production was a treat given most shows I frequent that incorporate lighting usually consists of hanging Christmas lights or the occasional lighted candle.
On tour in support of their new record, the band introduced the new songs to an enthusiastic crowd. In fact, a couple in the front row would shriek happily each time they recognized a song and sang along to each other while holding hands. Their gestures added a much needed sweetness to the show’s ambience. Halfway into the hour-long set, the band launched into older songs and the already boisterous crowd responded rapturously. There is certainly comfort in nostalgia. The same goes for music as well. The electric bass drum shaped like a disc sounded exactly like its acoustic counterpart and achieved its mission in driving all heads to nod. Thanks to Mitski, my favorite part was the bass line. Gutteral and steady, it compelled one to fall deeper into its tender embrace with each passing beat.
For over an hour, Austra offered a welcoming and upbeat refuge from the darkness outside. It reminded me of the saying that for there to be light, there must be darkness.